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Grizzly bears, black bears, wolves, coyotes, cougars/ mountain lions,bobcats, wolverines, lynx, foxes, fishers and martens are the suite of carnivores that originally inhabited North America after the Pleistocene extinctions. This site invites research, commentary, point/counterpoint on that suite of native animals (predator and prey) that inhabited The Americas circa 1500-at the initial point of European exploration and subsequent colonization. Landscape ecology, journal accounts of explorers and frontiersmen, genetic evaluations of museum animals, peer reviewed 20th and 21st century research on various aspects of our "Wild America" as well as subjective commentary from expert and layman alike. All of the above being revealed and discussed with the underlying goal of one day seeing our Continent rewilded.....Where big enough swaths of open space exist with connective corridors to other large forest, meadow, mountain, valley, prairie, desert and chaparral wildlands.....Thereby enabling all of our historic fauna, including man, to live in a sustainable and healthy environment. - Blogger Rick

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Thursday, June 30, 2011

URGENT OREGON WILDLIFE ALERT............IMPLORE GOVERNOR KITZHABER TO VETO HB3636.............."EVERY WHICH WAY BUT LOOSE" AS OREGON FISH & WILDLIFE" FORGES AN END AROUND WAY FOR HUNTERS TO further kill off Carnivores of every type in this State(even if protected under Oregon law)............As always, our friends at PREDATOR DEFENSE are "johnny on the spot" fighting this blasphemy at every turn.........They deserve our support in stomping out this blaze!!!!!

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Predator Defense <>
Date: Thu, Jun 30, 2011 at 8:00 PM



HB3636 provides a checkoff on all hunting licenses and tags for hunters to donate money to kill predators.  It includes not only 'predatory animals', as defined in state statute as feral swine, coyotes, rabbits, rodents and destructive birds, but also specifically includes cougars, bears, fur bearers and wolves which are an endangered species in Oregon.  The funds will be allocated to the county where hunting takes place.

Federal agents from the USDA Wildlife Services program operating in counties will use the funds to kill more predators, using their usual 'tools' of bullets, deadly poisons, snares, traps, packs of hound and by aerial gunning (shooting them from aircraft).  

During the legislative session, over $500,000 tax dollars were allocated to Oregon Department of Agriculture and Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife budgets to fund Wildlife Service trappers throughout the state to kill predatory animals, as defined above. In addition to this amount, HB3560, the wolf compensation bill, giving an additional $100,000 of tax money specifically for wolf killing, is waiting for the governor's signature. HB3636 is especially heinous because it targets the game species of cougars and bears, and wolves an endangered species in Oregon.  

Programs for education, the disabled and elderly etc. are cut to the bone; we cannot afford over half a million tax dollars to pay federal agents to kill wildlife.


Your letters and calls make a difference and send an important message to Governor Kitzhaber.  He needs to hear from us, he is already hearing from ranchers and hunters.  PASS THIS ONTO FACEBOOK PAGES AND YOUR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CO WORKERS ETC.


Sally Mackler
Oregon Carnivore Rep
Predator Defense

The Mountain Lion Incident Management and Immobilization Workshop to be held at the Minnesota Zoo in Apple Valley, Mn. on August 23 and 24................Our good friends at Cougar Rewilding are running this workshop for natural resource professionals, law enforcement officers, animal control personnel, and others who may respond to or assist in handling incidents involving confirmed or suspected mountain lions......For questions or to arrange a similar workshop for your area, please contact Dr. Jay Tischendorf or Dr. John Laundré through Helen Mcginnis email which is listed below .

From: Helen McGinnis <>
To: Undisclosed Recipients <>
Sent: Thu Jun 30 12:06:40 2011
Subject: Mountain Lion Incident Management and Immobilization Workshop

The Cougar Rewilding Foundation and American Ecological Research Institute (AERIE), in partnership with the Minnesota Zoo and Fund for Wild Nature, are pleased to announce the Mountain Lion Incident Management and Immobilization Workshop.  This intensive 2-day course will be held Tuesday and Wednesday, August 23rd and 24th at the Minnesota Zoo in Apple Valley, MN.   The workshop is designed for natural resource professionals, law enforcement officers, animal control personnel, and others who may respond to or assist in handling incidents involving confirmed or suspected mountain lions.

Attendance for this course is limited.  Admission is $250 per person.

For questions or to arrange a similar workshop for your area, please contact Dr. Jay Tischendorf or Dr. John Laundré through Helen Mcginnis email above  

The Canadian Wolf News Letter( July-Sept) for your reading pleasure

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: sadie parr <>
Date: Thu, Jun 30, 2011 at 10:34 AM
Subject: Wolf MuseLetter July-Sept

Summer Greetings!  The Wolf Museletter is attached for updates on Canadian wolf conservation issues and to let you know how you can help.  Please take a moment to contribute to ensuring that wild predators have freedom in wilderness ...  keep Canada WILD enough for wolves. 
Submissions to the Wolf MuseLetter are always welcome.
Keep howling,  Sadie Parr
    "Be the change you want to see in the world"  -M. Gandhi
Sadie Parr
Coordinator, Canadian Wolf Coalition

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Helen Mcginnis at COUGAR REWILDING shared Ben Shrader's commentary on THE NORTH AMERICAN WILDLIFE CONSERVATION MODEL...........We have been discussing its pros and cons of this prevailing Wildlife conservation policy at the State level and how it is flawed in its approach to carnivore management................Ben, who sits on the COUGAR REWILDING board of directors tells it like it is in his revealing article

By Ben Shrader**

Only a few decades ago, wildlife's survival was very much in doubt. The early settlers had encountered a spectacular abundance of wildlife. But, in their zeal to conquer an untamed continent, they squandered that legacy, wiping out some species and reducing others to a pitiful remnant of their original numbers.

The North American Model led to the banning of market hunting of waterfowl.  US Fish & Wildlife photo.

But as early as the 1860s, hunters and anglers were becoming alarmed at the disappearance of wildlife.  Over the next 90 years, these concerns in the United States and Canada coalesced into the North American Wildlife Conservation Model.  The model has two basic tenets: that fish and wildlife are reserved for the non-commercial use of hunters and anglers, and that these resources are to be sustained at optimal levels forever.28
The Model rests on seven pillars—the Seven Sisters for Conservation:

(1) Public trust—wildlife belongs to the public.
(2) Prohibitions on commerce in wildlife.
(3) Democratic rule of law.  Every citizen has the right to participate in systems of wildlife conservation and use.
(4) Hunting opportunity for all.
(5) Non-frivolous use.
(6) Wildlife is an international resource.
(7) Scientific management.

But how to fund these goals?  The Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration Act provided the solution. Better known as the Pittman-Robertson (P-R) Act after its principal sponsors, Senator Key Pittman of Nevada and Representative A. Willis Robertson of Virginia, the measure was signed into law by President Franklin D. Roosevelt on September 2, 1937.29

P-R provides federal aid to the states and US territories for management and restoration of wildlife with a wildlife restoration fund in the U.S. Treasury. The fund consists of all revenues accruing each fiscal year from 10% excise taxes imposed on certain types of sporting goods, including most types of firearms, ammunition, and bows and arrows. The aid supports a variety of projects, including acquisition and improvement of wildlife habitat as well as research on wildlife management.  P-R pays for up to 75 percent of wildlife project costs, with the states putting up at least 25 percent. The assurance of a steady source of earmarked funds has enabled the program's administrators, both state and federal, to plan projects that take years to complete.  Short-term strategies seldom come up with lasting solutions where living creatures are involved.

To be eligible for P-R funds for wildlife restoration projects, a state must assent to the provisions of the Act and have laws governing the conservation of wildlife. Additionally, a state must have a law prohibiting the diversion of license fees paid by hunters for any purpose other than the administration of the state's fish and game department. All wildlife-restoration projects aided under the Act must be agreed upon by the US Secretary of the Interior and the fish and game department of the state where the project is located.

The state must submit to the Secretary either a comprehensive fish and wildlife resource management plan or a detailed description of proposed restoration projects. The plans must insure the perpetuation of wildlife resources for economic, scientific and recreational purposes. They must be for at least five years and must be based on long-range projections regarding the desires and needs of the public. Upon approval by the Secretary of a state's plan or wildlife restoration project, the state may use the federal funds apportioned under the Act to finance up to 75 percent of the costs of the plan or project.

The Act authorizes funds to be appropriated until expended. Any amount apportioned to a state that is unspent or un-obligated may be used by the Secretary to carry out the provisions of the Migratory Bird Conservation Act.  One-half of the revenues accruing to the fund each fiscal year from taxes imposed on pistols, revolvers, bows and arrows must be apportioned among the states based on population. No state, however, may be provided more than three percent or less than one percent of such revenues, and Guam, the Virgin Islands, American Samoa and the Northern Mariana Islands must each be apportioned one-sixth of one percent.30

The maintenance of wildlife restoration projects established under the Act is the duty of the states. Apportioned funds may be used by the states for management of wildlife areas and resources, but not for law enforcement or public relations. States may use funds apportioned on the basis of population to pay up to 75 percent of the costs of a hunter safety program, and the construction and operation of public target ranges.30 

 There are other conditions to this somewhat complicated formula on how funding shall be distributed that you may find at referenced sites.
In the more than 70 years since P-R began, over $2 billion in federal excise taxes has been matched by more than $500 million in state funds (chiefly from hunting license fees) for wildlife restoration. Benefits to the economy have been equally impressive. National surveys show that hunters now spend some $10 billion every year on equipment and trips. Non-hunting nature lovers spend even larger sums to enjoy wildlife, on travel and on items that range from bird food to binoculars, from special footwear to camera equipment. Regions famous for their wildlife have directly benefited from this spending, but so have sporting goods and outdoor equipment manufacturers, distributors and dealers. Thousands of jobs have been created.
These funds can be seen in the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries 2010 Budget revenue.  They show $12.8 M (26% of the $50.0 M total budget) revenue from federal sources of which about one half came from P-R.  Looking a bit deeper on the expenditure side, only $3.6 M (7%) is being spent on biodiversity.  Species or beneficiaries named in restoration efforts are: Shad $236,400, Wetlands $157,000, Riparian and In-Stream habitat $133,700, Wildlife Management Areas $69,500, Wild Turkey $64,700, and Quail $ 57,700.  Predator is only mentioned in the VA budget under fisheries management.  Coyote, although designated a nuisance species in VA, is only mentioned in the budget under "Furbearer Investigations." 

It is all too easy for us to drool at the vast amount of funds generated by P-R and imagine what could be done for restoration of cougars in the East with some of those funds.  It is even easier to be critical of game departments for not including anything in their budgets for the big cats.  Not to be overlooked, though, is the prerequisite that the long-term desires and needs of the public would have to be justified to use P-R funds for cougar restoration.  Understanding this, we can begin to identify the challenges such as the attitudes of the general public, hunter attitudes, and troublesome myths about cougars that must be addressed before we can expect to benefit cougars with these funds or ask game departments to begin restorations.

People who live where cougars exist are usually understanding and knowledgeable about their behavior, coexisting for the most part without incident.  Public fear and myths about cougars stem from ignorance and misunderstanding.  Fear sells in media accounts and that exerts mythical impressions on the public that cougars are dangerous because someone had a confrontation, no matter how rare or unlikely such is to happen.  Hunters harbor and repeat myths that cougars already exist in the East and that game departments cover up and ignore their existence.  As such myths are repeated they become believed. 

  This phenomenon, known as source amnesia, can also lead people to forget the source of a statement and any qualifiers that suggested it untrue. Even when a lie is presented with a disclaimer, people often later remember it as true.31 

Also problematic to the goal of restoring cougars to the East is the deep divide between hunters and anti hunters who rant that all hunting is wrong.  It alienates hunters from being involved in the process and causes them to be defensive with equally repulsive attitudes and rhetoric.  Hunters are quick to claim ownership of P-R funds and take credit for all the good things they have done for wildlife restoration, and rightfully so. But the funds are not just for hunters.  The funds are public funds for restoration of wildlife whether for hunting or not.  Anti hunters need to acknowledge and understand what hunters have done for wildlife management. If they just studied what hunting is really about, some of the rhetoric would abate.

  Hunters have a lot of adjustment to do also as they slide deeper into minority status.  In Virginia only 4%32 of the population are licensed hunters.  Licenses fees pay 40% ($20 M) of the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries budget.  All must realize that the vast majority of the public is non-hunters who will have the most influence in wildlife management decisions in the future.

In searching for hunting organizations that support predators, none were found favoring wolves.  Rather than working to promote ecosystem recovery and biodiversity gains that wolf reintroductions have generated, hunting groups are lobbying hard to reduce the packs throughout the Northern Rockies. Citing recent skirmishes over wolves in the West, there is a risk that the federal courts will divest management of predators from state game departments and hunters. An especially troubling symptom is state game departments relying on flawed scientific data (see South Dakota's revised mountain lion management plan) and reacting to a relatively few misinformed, but highly vocal hunting organizations.  Hunters and environmentalists need each other to work on common goals, the major one being education of both.

The following two hunting organizations highlight attributes that benefit all outdoor enthusiasts, not just hunters: Quality Deer Management Association (QDMA) and International Hunter Education Association (IHEA).  QDMA is science oriented; an article in their magazine about coyotes demonstrates the professionalism of the organization and their acceptance of scientific facts pertaining to predators.  Membership is encouraged for all outdoorsmen.  Please read their coyote article "QDM and Coyotes."33  Many other articles confirm that they are keenly aware of biodiversity and the need for promoting balance and quality of deer by controlling overpopulation.

Hunter Submitting To Attitude Adjustment

Most states now require new hunters to get a hunter education certificate by completing a 2-day hunter education course as a prerequisite to getting a hunting license.  IHEA offers a portion of the classes online.  This is a comprehensive course, which covers more topics than hunting, including wildlife habitat, distribution, ethics, etc.34   These online tutorials and quizzes are recommended for everyone.  Be assured that if you take all of the sections, whether you are anti hunter, non-hunter or hunter, you will gain a higher respect for hunters and a better understanding of hunting. Older experienced hunters can also benefit even
though they were not required to take hunter education or had it a number of years ago. Although the courses are comprehensive, they are works in progress, changing as new information becomes available.  Everyone needs EDUCATION to keep abreast of wildlife funding, laws, ethics, and biodiversity.  Because all new hunters have to take this course, it will shape future hunter attitudes, public attitudes and define the duties of wildlife departments. 

**Ben Shrader is a private practicing civil engineer/land surveyor/soil scientist and a life long outdoor enthusiast.  He volunteers for Smithsonian Institution, doing a trail camera predator survey along the Appalachian Trail.  Ben also volunteers for the Virginia Hunter Education Association and is active in Bedford Outdoor Sportsman Association.  He is a member of the Cougar Rewilding Foundation's Board of Directors.

Editor's Note: Further questions need to be addressed.  How is wildlife defined?  Are all native vertebrates considered wildlife?  If state wildlife agencies and the commissions that make management decisions are predominantly hunters and, in the West, ranchers, is the will of the general public being carried out?  Most wildlife species benefit from programs for game species, but not all.  How are state nongame programs funded?  I hope these questions will be considered in a future issue of this newsletter.

Natures Design is a thing of beauty with its checks and balances that help optimize life for both carnivores and herbivores----A well oiled maching nature is and now Harvard Medical School neuroscientists have identified one of those checks & balances...........KAIROMONE, a compound that is found in the urine of carnivores that can be smelled by mice and rats from great distances..............This compound sets off and elicits instinctual avoidance behavior in mice and rats that helps minimize their predation by the Carnivores that stalk them.........Another form of bottom up "reflex" combating the top down trophic impact on predator and prey

The Smell of Danger: Rats Instinctively Avoid Compound in Carnivore Urine

 The mechanics of instinctive behavior are mysterious. Even something as simple as the question of how a mouse can use its powerful sense of smell to detect and evade predators, including species it has never met before, has been almost totally unknown at the molecular level until now.

David Ferrero and Stephen Liberles, neuroscientists at Harvard Medical School, have discovered a single compound found in high concentrations in the urine of carnivores that triggers an instinctual avoidance response in mice and rats. This is the first time that scientists have identified a chemical tag that would let rodents sense carnivores in general from a safe distance. The authors write that understanding the molecular basis of predator odor recognition by rodents will provide crucial tools to study the neural circuitry associated with innate behavior.
Their findings were published online in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science.  The search began in 2006, when Stephen Liberles, now Assistant Professor of Cell Biology at Harvard Medical School, was working as a post-doc in the lab of Linda Buck. Buck was part of the team that won the Nobel Prize for identifying the receptors that allow olfactory neurons to detect odors. While in her lab, Liberles identified a new type of olfactory receptor, the trace amine-associated receptors (TAARs).

Mice have about 1200 kinds of odor receptors, and 14 kinds of TAARs. In comparison, humans -- who rely more on vision than smell -- have about 350 odor receptors and five TAARs. Liberles's initial findings indicated that several of the TAARs detect chemicals found in mouse urine, including a chemical with enriched production by males. He wondered, could TAARs (which appear to have originally evolved from neurotransmitter receptors that mediate behavior and emotion) play a role in the social behavior of rodents? What other kinds of naturally occurring odors might they be able to detect?

In Liberles's lab at Harvard Medical School, graduate student David Ferrero began a search for other natural compounds that were detected by the TAARs. Working with commercially available predator and prey urine (used by gardeners to keep pests out of their crops and by hunters to mask their own scent or as lures for prey), Ferrero discovered that one of the 14 TAARs, TAAR4, detected the odor of several carnivores. It seemed they had found a kairomone, a chemical that works like a pheromone, except that it communicates between members of different species instead of members of the same species. Prior to this discovery, the only known rodent-carnivore kairomones were a volatile compound produced by foxes, but not in that of other predators, and two non-volatile compounds produced by cats and rats (which prey on mice). Volatile compounds aerosolize and can be smelled at great distances; non-volatile compounds need to be sniffed more directly, something that would not be helpful in avoiding a predator directly but rather their terrain.

"One of the things that's really new here is that this is a generalized predator kairomone that's volatile," said Ferrero. For rodents, it's the smell of danger.

Ferrero identified the compound that activates TAAR4 as 2-phenylethylamine, a product of protein metabolism. He then obtained specimens from 38 species of mammals and found elevated levels of 2-phenylethylamineby 18 of 19 species of carnivores, but not by non-carnivores (including rabbits, deer, primates, and a giraffe). "It's been known so long that predator odors are great rodent deterrents, but we've discovered one molecule that's a key part of this ecological relationship," Ferrero said. In a series of behavior tests, rats and mice showed a clear, innate avoidance to the smell of 2-phenylethylamine. The behavioral studies were repeated using a carnivore samples that had been depleted of 2-phenylethylamine. Rats failed to show full avoidance of the depleted carnivore urine, indicating that 2-phenylethylamine is a key trigger for predator avoidance.

Lacking the gene for TAAR4, humans can't experience anything like what rodents do when they smell 2-phenylethylamine. To us, it has a mildly inoffensive odor. But trimethylamine, a related organic compound that activates TAAR5, a receptor found in humans, is deeply repugnant to people.

What happens between the receptors and the parts of the brain that trigger that avoidance behavior remains a mystery, one with direct medical relevance. According to Liberles, "In humans, the parts of the brain that deal with likes and dislikes go awry in many diseases, like drug addiction, and predator odor responses have been used to model stress and anxiety disorders. Going from chemicals to receptors to neural circuits to behaviors is a Holy Grail of neuroscience." "The neural circuits are like a black box, but here we have identified a chemical stimulant and a candidate receptor that trigger one behavior," Ferrero said. "We feel this is an important first step to understanding the neural circuitry of innate behavior."

This research was funded by the National Institute On Deafness And Other Communication Disorders.

I grew up within a half hour drive of the West Point Military Academy in Rockland, County, New York.....The surrounding region of Northern New Jersey, Northeastern Pennsylvania and Southeastern New York comprise the geographic region known as the Hudson Highlands(so named because the early Colonists of the region felt it so resembled the topography of the Scottish Highlands in Europe)..........The Highlands is a scant 30 to 50 miles(depending on location) North and West of New York City and is one of the most densely human settled regions in the USA................Despite this, The Highlands is home to a rich diversity of larger animals including Black Bears, Coyotes, Red and Gray Foxes, Fishers, White tail deer, Bobcats and Wild Turkeys.............Teatown Lake Reservation, located in the Northeastern quadrant of Westchester County, Ossining, NY(adjacent to New York City) was the site of a 2006-07 Coyote study conducted on the 742 acre Teatown Lake Reservation(natural preserve)...............Biologist Fred Koontz's camera trap study revealed Coyotes strongly attracted to and utilizing meadow and hardwood swamp habitat,,,,,,,,,,,, largely ignoring rocky slopes and lake and pond topography...............Estimates of 1.5 coyotes per square mile( more dense than the 0.5 to 1.0 per square mile densities reported across other regions of New York State) were the conclusions reached from this study along with the fact that Coyotes tried to operate in regions that saw least human foot traffic.........As the famous "New York/New York" Frank Sinatra song so emphatically states: "if you can make it here(NY), you can make it anywhere":...............And the Coyote has proven across the lower 48 States that he indeed can MAKE IT ANYWHERE!

click here to read full article on THE COYOTES OF THE HUDSON HIGHLANDS

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

The Apache Fire in the heart of Mexican Wolf Country in Arizona hopefully has not been devastating to the scant 50 wolves that roam this land...........Reports from the field are so far optimistic that the three wolf packs who call "The Apache" home have survived the blaze and that in fact their recently born pups might also still be walking the earth..............Elk have escaped serious damage but Spotted Owls who nest in the trees and Apache trout who inhabit the streams of the region took significant "hits" due to fire and heat damage.............. Natural fires are good for a healthy forest, but these fires,,,, where the debris has been allowed to build up,,,,, they come out very hot and just scorch everything....We have to allow our animal populations to build up to greater than just "zoo-capacity" levels if we want a self-sustaining and ecosystem-services-providing matrix of creatures to persist through disease epidemics and natures periodic bolts of wildfire, flood, earthquake, hurricane and tornados

Ecosystem home to endangered wolves, owls and fish hit hardest by hot, historic Ariz. wildfire

PHOENIX — The largest wildfire in Arizona history left a charred landscape of blackened forest, burned-out vehicle hulks and charred fireplaces as it destroyed more than 30 homes. It also inflicted a serious toll on an ecosystem that's home to numerous endangered species.

The flames spared three packs of endangered Mexican gray wolves but likely killed at least some threatened Mexican spotted owls as it roared through more than a half-million acres of a pristine forest on the New Mexico border.

 U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service biologists and volunteers use nets to remove two species of trout from a creek in the Chiricahua National Forest near Elfrida, Ariz., in this photo made on June 17, 2011. Unlike some major wildfires that inflict a serious human toll, perhaps the biggest impact from the largest wildfire in Arizona history will fall squarely on an ecosystem that's home to numerous endangered species.

Though some spots were untouched or had only undergrowth burn, the effect of the human-caused Wallow fire will last for decades because it burned so hot in many areas that it completely denuded the landscape, forest specialists said. "The natural fires are good for a healthy forest, but these fires — where the debris has been allowed to build up and it just hasn't been addressed — they come out very hot and just scorch everything. As soon as the monsoon shows up, there's a potential for a lot of soil to move," said Tom Buckley, a U.S. Fish and Wildlife spokesman.

The three wolf packs in the Apache-Sitgreaves all had pups and were in or near their dens when the fire that broke out on May 29 roared through, said Jim Paxon, a spokesman for the Arizona Game and Fish Department. Firefighters on the ground have seen two of the packs moving around with their pups. Radio collars on the three adults in the third pack show they are alive, but the status of their pups remains unknown because they are in an area still too hot for ground crews to enter.

"They're there, and functioning, and able to persist and take care of their pups," Paxon said. "We feel very confident that our wolves are out there and they've all got pups, and that's a good thing."
The Fish and Wildlife Service said Thursday it had not confirmed the pups survived.

The wolves were reintroduced into Arizona and New Mexico beginning in 1998. Managers had hoped to have more than 100 in the wild by 2006, but the count stood at 42 at the beginning of 2010.
The spotted owls are another matter.Crown fires in overgrown forests have become the greatest cause of unusual losses for the birds, and 73 protected nesting areas were burned in the fire, said Beth Humphrey, Apache-Sitgreaves biologist. There are 145 protested nest sites in the entire 2.1 million acres forest. Any nestlings or eggs caught in the fire were surely lost, although mortality among adults was likely limited, Humphrey said. "We don't know the severity of the impacts of those owl sites," Buckley said. "Fires don't burn evenly, so we have a lot of hope that some survived."

Fish and Wildlife is looking to see if prey for the wolves and owls will return quickly enough to let the animals stay in their regular areas. The burned forest supports more than a dozen other endangered or threatened species, including snails, frogs and fish. Dozens of other species live in the forest that aren't rare, including bear, deer, antelope and a herd of elk that, at about 6,000, is among the state's biggest. Only two dead elk have been found, Paxon said. A yearling calf had to be euthanized because its hooves were badly burned. "These ungulates, the elk and the deer and the antelope, they're a whole lot smarter than people are when it comes to evacuations," Paxon said. "When they feel heat, they will move away from heat toward a cooler area, and generally that's perpendicular to the way the fire's going. If it's not a huge fire, they often circle around and come back in. If it is a pretty widespread fire front, they simply get out in front of that and go over the hill into the next drainage."

Already, plans are being made to pull pure Apache trout from streams where it is expected they will die, to preserve the lineage, said Julie Meka Carter, native trout conservation coordinator for the Arizona Game and Fish Department. They could be put in other streams or placed in hatcheries for as long as three years, until the ash and sediment flows subside.

"The forest will be very changed, very, very different," said Apache-Sitgreaves forest supervisor Chris Knopp.

Lymes Disease........In the 1980's an East Coast "demon"..........In 2011, gaining a toehold in the heartland and the Great Lakes States.......Whereas the whitefooted mouse is the main vector of the lymes bacterium in our Eastern Forests, the Prairie Vole has now been implicated as the main carrier and transmitter of the bacterium in the Midwest(the whitefooted mouse inhabits moist woodlands and is not a Prairie dweller)........While deer are the host animal where the ticks mate, it is the mice and now the voles that are the vectors of the lymes bacterium......Many Scientists feel that the lymes is an old world disease that hitched to America on Mice.......It is very much now a multiplying problem in at least half of the USA and can be debilitating to us humans(paralysis, fatigue, muscle pain and even death) if not promptly treated with antibiotics early after being bitten.........By our elimination and culling of so many of our carnivores, more deer than ever for ticks to mate on.......If the deer were knocked back to carrrying capacity levels by wolves and cougars, perhaps our ever-expanding coyote population would be the "Mariano Rivera"(the great NY Yankee relief pitcher) ...........the "Closing" agent that would bring the mice and vole population back into sync with the environment, thus sinking the lymes ticks in the process..................Trophic Carnivores playing a role in which even the "wolf haters" might find it in their hearts to acknowledge their value in the circle of life

 Lyme Disease Tick Adapts to Life On the (Fragmented) Prairie

 A new study offers a detailed look at the status of Lyme disease in Central Illinois and suggests that deer ticks and the Lyme disease bacteria they host are more adaptable to new habitats than previously appreciated. Led by researchers at the University of Illinois, the study gives an up-close view of one region affected by the steady march of deer ticks across the upper Midwest. Their advance began in Wisconsin and Minnesota and is moving at a pace of up to two counties a year in Illinois and Indiana.

Today the deer tick is established in 26 Illinois counties, up from just eight in 1998, said Illinois Department of Public Health entomologist Linn Haramis. Reports of human Lyme disease cases in the state have more than tripled in the same period, he said. "We've had several years in a row where we've had over 100 cases, up from about 30 per year more than 10 years ago," Haramis said. "It's not a huge increase, but it's been steady and there's an upward trend."

Deer ticks are known to do best in forested areas, where they can readily move from small mammals (which provide their first meal) to moist leaf litter on the forest floor, and then to deer, on which they mate. Deer ticks do not pick up the Lyme infection from deer, said Jennifer Rydzewski, who completed her master's degree with the study in the department of natural resources and environmental sciences at the University of Illinois.

"The deer tick will feed on a variety of mammals, birds and even reptiles," she said. "But Borrelia burgdorferi, the bacterium that causes Lyme disease, replicates really well within white-footed mice, so white-footed mice are the main reservoir that passes that bacterium on to the immature ticks that are feeding on it." White-footed mice also are forest dwellers. Prior to the new study, little was known about whether, or how, Lyme disease persists in other habitat types.

To determine if Lyme disease had gained a foothold in the patchwork of forests, farms and prairies of Central Illinois, researchers trapped small mammals in Allerton Park, a 1,500-acre (600-hectare) natural area in Piatt County. They focused on four habitat types: young forest, mature forest, a flood plain and a 30-acre (12-hectare) patch of prairie surrounded by woods and agricultural fields. The researchers removed deer ticks from the mammals they trapped and tested the ticks for Lyme disease.

They found that the immature forest and the prairie hosted the highest percentage of deer-tick-infested mammals, the highest number of ticks per mammal trapped and the highest rates of ticks infected with Lyme disease of the four habitat types evaluated. "The highest prevalence of B. burgdorferi infection was found (in deer tick larvae) from the prairie (27 percent) followed by the young forest (15 percent), the mature forest (6 percent) and the flood plain (6 percent)," the researchers wrote.

"Interestingly, all of the positive ticks from the prairie were from prairie voles, not the typical white-footed mouse," Rydzewski said. There also were many more ticks per animal on the prairie voles than on the white-footed mice of the forest, she said. This is the first study to report evidence that the prairie vole may potentially serve as a competent reservoir host for the Lyme disease bacterium, B. burgdorferi, said Nohra Mateus-Pinilla, a wildlife veterinary epidemiologist at the Illinois Natural History Survey who led the study with Rydzewski and natural resources and environmental sciences emeritus professor Richard Warner. (The Survey is a unit of the Prairie Research Institute at Illinois.)

"The fact that we found tick larvae feeding so prominently on prairie voles and those ticks were infected and hadn't had a chance to feed on anything else is a very strong indicator that we are dealing with a different reservoir of Lyme disease that deserves more attention," Mateus-Pinilla said. The researchers hypothesize that when newly hatched ticks find themselves on the prairie, they latch on to the first small mammal that comes along, which in most cases is a prairie vole (white-footed mice prefer the forest). The abundance of prairie voles in the prairie is much lower than that of the white-footed mice in the forest, so more tick larvae and nymphs end up on the same few prairie voles. Since the number of ticks per animal is higher on the prairie, the likelihood of infection is higher there as well.

"The landscape of Illinois, especially the northern and central area, is very fragmented with agricultural and other development, so there aren't really big continuous areas that are forested," Rydzewski said. "And so maybe these ticks are finding new habitats to establish themselves in because of the lack of previous habitats."

"What's exciting about the new findings is that we are dealing with potentially new mechanisms of disease transmission that we just have not explored and perhaps we do not understand," Mateus-Pinilla said. "We need to think outside of what we already know about Lyme disease transmission."

The new study appears in the journal Vector-Borne and Zoonotic Diseases.
Researchers from the U. of I. department of pathobiology and Michigan State University also contributed to this study.

Maine and New Brunswick trying to forge a going-forward strategy that will simultaneously generate economic prosperity as well as landscape integrity,,,,,,Lots of ideas as we have written about previously with National Parks, Community Forests among the ideas being debated furiously across the Eastern USA/Canadian border

From: Michael Kellett []

What does N.B.'s forest future hold?
Maine town also facing mill troubles examines potential for national park to boost economy
By Brett Bundale

In a small mill town in the heart of the Maine's Acadian forest, the struggle between economic development and conservation is unfolding. Roxanne Quimby talks about her plans for the land she owns in the Millinocket region in Maine during a meeting at the Northern Maine Timber Cruisers snowmobile club in Millinocket. Quimby, the most vocal proponent for growing the state's parklands, has publicly offered 70,000 acres to the United States federal government for the creation of a Maine Woods National Park.
Millinocket, smack in the middle of the state with a population just over 5,000, is known for its old lush forests and rich pulp and paper history.But with its mills shuttered and workers laid off, town councillors and residents are searching for ways to revitalize the town's once grand papermaking industry while protecting its legendary old growth forests.

Some residents argue a national park could help forestall an exodus of town residents caused by the closure of the region's last paper mill in East Millinocket, which shut down in April, idling 450 workers. But opponents call the national park effort an economic disaster for northern Maine, arguing it would destroy the forest products industry and send a message that the region is closed for business. The debate continues to rage between the environment on one side and economic growth on the other. But Maine is not alone in its search for a seemingly elusive equilibrium.
New Brunswick, which once boasted a roaring pulp and paper mill in nearly every city and town, is now also struggling to make sense of the changing industry. The province's forestry sector, pummeled during the economic downturn and struggling to get back on its feet, has asked more clarity on Crown land timber objectives.
The government has responded with a task force on Crown forests, a three-person committee set to deliver its final report and recommendations this week. But on the other side of the teeter totter, New Brunswickers also want protected areas untouched by the heavy machinery of logging firms where they can hike and hunt in the pristine wilderness. For now, conservationists and industry folk in New Brunswick continue to work to find middle ground, with discussions and public meetings that pale in comparison to the colourful debates next door.
In Maine, the most vocal proponent for growing the state's parklands is conservationist and Burt's Bees cosmetics co-founder Roxanne Quimby. She has publicly offered 70,000 acres to the United States federal government for the creation of a Maine Woods National Park. Quimby and her supporters say a national park would provide a steady revenue stream and attract tourism dollars to the region, which boasts the state's tallest mountain, Mount Katahdin, and largest lake, Moosehead Lake.
 But a handful of town councillors predict that a national park would destroy access to lands that have been open to recreation and industry for generations. Turning working forests into a park would be another blow to the region's battered economy and do nothing to address the high unemployment rate, councillors say. They question whether the National Park Service can properly manage the existing parks in Maine, given its maintenance budgets are already billions of dollars in the red. It's a controversial debate, one much more impassioned than the quiet and deliberate discussions being held in Upper Miramichi.
The rural community, which incorporated two years ago, takes in 16 communities including Boiestown, Astle and Bloomfield. "When you look at our region on the map it's the whole centre of the province," Mayor Scott Clowater says, noting that the region's 1,840 square kilometres (1,143 square miles) of land is 60 per cent Crown forest. "We'd liked to see it managed the way we see fit using non-timber forest products to grow our economy," he says.
Community forestry, like the concept of turning thousands of acres into a national park, is not new. Tracy Glynn of Conservation Council of New Brunswick says the idea of de-centralizing control over public lands has already been put to work in British Columbia and Quebec. "It's about communities taking control of local forest resources," she says. "It's up to them to decide what is best for their community."
The Upper Miramichi is working with the conservation council to develop maps of the region with information such as municipal boundaries and forest density and location. Sarah Carson-Pond, economic development officer with the Upper Miramichi, says there are a number of non-timber products the rural community is looking into developing, such as fiddleheads, syrups, teas, berries, nuts and balsam fir tips for wreath making.
Although more research is needed to understand how to harvest these products sustainably to minimize the ecological footprint, she says these products have the potential to create jobs in the area and generate revenues. Mayor Clowater says he'll be meeting with provincial officials in the coming weeks in hopes of obtaining permission for the community to manage 12,000 hectares of Crown forests. "We'd have to hire a forester and a manager and still cut some wood to pay for that, but it would be managed differently," he says. "There would be more value-added products."
Although Clowater says turning the entire area into a park or protected area, such as being considered in Millinocket, Maine, is not part of the community's plan, eco-tourism and recreational opportunities are being researched.
Roland Michaud, president of the New Brunswick Wildlife Federation, supports the idea being floated in Maine of increasing the amount of protected parks and recreation areas. "A lot of the older generation just can't see any way of making money from these forests without logging them," he says. "But that is where we're missing the boat. "There is literally millions of dollars up in the air every year for eco-tourism that we could be cashing in on," he says. "The traditional forestry industry will always have a place in New Brunswick and Maine, but it's time we get ahead of the curve and take advantage of the demand for outdoor activities and outback adventures."

Monday, June 27, 2011

The small tropical wildcat, the Margay, has demonstrated that it can mimic the calls of one of its primary prey, the Tamarin Monkey.............This revelation seems to reinforce what many indigenous peoples have said for years about Cougars and Jaguars........that they can indeed lure their intended prey into striking range by crying out in their "language"..............This is so much like human hunters imitating various rabbits and rodents "voices" so as to lure in coyotes and bobcats into target range...............As many Researchers have been saying, there are many in the animal kingdom(not just us human animals) that demonstrate thinking and problem solving skills to "bring home the bacon" and limit the amount of energy expended in doing so

Wild Cat Found Mimicking Monkey Calls; Predatory Trickery Documented for the First Time in Wild Felids in Americas

In a fascinating example of vocal mimicry, researchers from the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) and UFAM (Federal University of Amazonas) have documented a wild cat species imitating the call of its intended victim: a small, squirrel-sized monkey known as a pied tamarin. This is the first recorded instance of a wild cat species in the Americas mimicking the calls of its prey.

The extraordinary behavior was recorded by researchers from the Wildlife Conservation Society and UFAM in the Amazonian forests of the Reserva Florestal Adolpho Ducke in Brazil. The observations confirmed what until now had been only anecdotal reports from Amazonian inhabitants of wild cat species -- including jaguars and pumas -- actually mimicking primates, agoutis, and other species in order to draw them within striking range.

The observations appear in the June issue of Neotropical Primates. The authors of the paper include: Fabiano de Oliveira Calleia of Projeto Sauim-de-Coleira/UFAM; Fabio Rohe of the Wildlife Conservation Society; and Marcelo Gordo of Projeto Sauim-de-Coleira/UFAM.

"Cats are known for their physical agility, but this vocal manipulation of prey species indicates a psychological cunning which merits further study," said WCS researcher Fabio Rohe.

Researchers first recorded the incident in 2005 when a group of eight pied tamarins were feeding in a ficus tree. They then observed a margay emitting calls similar to those made by tamarin babies. This attracted the attention of a tamarin "sentinel," which climbed down from the tree to investigate the sounds coming from a tangle of vines called lianas. While the sentinel monkey started vocalizing to warn the rest of the group of the strange calls, the monkeys were clearly confounded by these familiar vocalizations, choosing to investigate rather than flee. Four other tamarins climbed down to assess the nature of the calls. At that moment, a margay emerged from the foliage walking down the trunk of a tree in a squirrel-like fashion, jumping down and then moving towards the monkeys. Realizing the ruse, the sentinel screamed an alarm and sent the other tamarins fleeing.

While this specific instance of mimicry was unsuccessful, researchers were amazed at the ingenuity of the hunting strategy. "This observation further proves the reliability of information obtained from Amazonian inhabitants," said Dr. Avecita Chicchón, director of the Wildlife Conservation Society's Latin America Program. "This means that accounts of jaguars and pumas using the same vocal mimicry to attract prey--but not yet recorded by scientists--also deserve investigation."

WCS is currently monitoring populations of the pied tamarin -- listed as "Endangered" on the IUCN's Red List -- and is seeking financial support to continue the study, which aims to protect this and other species from extinction. Next to Madagascar, the Amazon has the highest diversity of primates on Earth.

These behavioral insights also are indications of intact Amazon rainforest habitat. WCS works throughout the Amazon to evaluate the conservation importance of these rainforests, which have become increasingly threatened by development.

Might the autopsy on the Cougar that was recently killed by a connecticut motorist reveal that the Cat was indeed wild and free-roaming? The reporter below utters my frustration with the seeming need for every East Coast State to emphatically say that cougars are either "non-native, are extinct or never existed..........While this dead animal might prove to be a released pet and go further to re-verify what USFW has concluded(That Cougars are extinct in the East), it is a sad commentary on Eastern USA residents that they are so afraid of having Cougars rejoin Black Bears and Coyotes(and perhaps one day wolves) as top trophic carnivores in our Woodlands..............Bottom line is that while we all might have different regional accents around the USA, we all seem to share a desire for having the least amount of wild carnivores on the land with us.......How do we get back on the humanistic track that seemed to be building from 1970 through the end of the 20th Century where restoring nature and all of her bounty seemed to resonate with the general populace..........Has our economic woes caused us to turn so inward that we are incapable of sharing our world with the other life forms that were put here by a power much more knowing than us?

Why is it so hard to admit that mountain lions live in Connecticut?

As evidence mounts, state DEP continues to deny the possibility that mountain lions might live here. And my wife saw one!
Mountain lion - Scott Snyder
I am a completely rational person who believes in the importance of the scientific principal of observation/theory/test to prove a hypothesis. That is why I count myself among all the believers who swear that mountain lions must live in the state.

When I was a newspaper reporter and editor, we spent quite a bit of time writing stories about mountain lion sightings. We would report them to the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection -- and they would dismiss us. The DEP folks would say that untrained observers are not good at distinguishing between similar but different creatures. The sightings were undoubtedly bobcats or dogs or even housecats.

I don't doubt that some reports were sketchy. For example, my wife came home one day to say she saw a bobcat. It caught her attention because it was definitely a cat but it was big. Our daughter, 7 at the time, asked what a bobcat was. My wife went into great detail and the kid asked about the tail. I piped up and said it's called a bobcat because it has a bobbed, or short, tail. "Oh," my wife said, pausing. "There was definitely a tail. A long tail." We looked at each other silently. Mountain lion.

All right, so the DEP would tear that apart. But the state's skepticism continued even after we at the newspaper described eye-witness accounts from people who work outdoors and with animals, and who should know what they're talking about. Still, the DEP said, to prove a mountain lion lives in the state, you need a sample of its poop, or a footprint in the mud, or a photo.

Then we published a photo on Page 1 of a silhouette of what looked to me like a mountain lion. A homeowner had snapped the picture, showing the cat in the backyard near a tire swing. He described the animal and although he didn't go out to take a tape measure to it, he provided a lot of convincing details. The next day, the DEP went to his house and let us know that, in fact, the photo was of a house cat. They did take measurements from the house to the tire swing and compared them to the height of the cat in the photo. It was a tabby, they said.

At about that time that I began to wonder whether the DEP might have some reason, besides fact, to maintain official mountain lion denial. Is someone afraid of public panic? Yes, mountain lions are damn scary. But bears and moose are scary, too, and state officials willingly admit their existence. Are they worried that hunters would head out to track down an announced mountain lion and end things before they got started? I would support some secrecy to achieve that goal, but we could admit we have mountain lions without saying where they are.

At one point several years ago, the DEP changed its line. Instead of denying that mountain lions might exist in the state, a spokesman said that if there is a mountain lion out there, it escaped from a private zoo. They pointed out that if Connecticut had a mountain lion population, one would occasionally be killed by a car while crossing the road.

Now we have a mountain lion carcass. I assumed it would force the DEP to issue a statement with a new spin. Silly me. This mountain lion must have been raised by humans, the DEP said – because there are no wild lions in Connecticut!

I was happy that Patch reporters Ronald DeRosa and Barbara Heins asked questions about the dead mountain lion. It turns out it had not been neutered or declawed, didn't wear a collar and wasn't fat like a regularly fed cat would be.

I'm not a conspiracy nut. I believe Oswald killed Kennedy and all that. But as I said at the beginning, scientific analysis would follow this protocol: Observation (We have a mountain lion!) Theory (Maybe there is a chance a few mountain lions live in Connecticut) Test. Wait and see – with an open mind.

"If at first you do not succeed, try, try again"...........the mantra of Idaho and Montana as they use every form of modern technology to sink wolf numbers in half...........

Plan to kill wolves in north-central Idaho to protect elk is showing little success so far

LEWISTON, Idaho — A plan by state officials to kill up to 60 wolves in north-central Idaho to protect elk herds has had little success so far, after aerial gunners and now state officials and hunting outfitters report limited results.

A reported six wolves have been killed so far, five by aerial gunners in May before that method was abandoned because of low success due to the wolves being in thick timber.

An Idaho Department of Fish and Game conservation officer shot another wolf near Powell on July 18.

"I would have thought we would have had more, but that is it," Dave Cadwallader, supervisor of the department's Clearwater Region, told the Lewiston Tribune.State officials want to kill up to 60 wolves in the region, leaving about 20 or 30, after the Obama administration removed the predators from Endangered Species Act protections earlier this year.

With the aerial gunning from a helicopter having less success than officials hoped, officials have turned to hunting outfitters and their guides in the Lolo Zone. They were authorized to shoot wolves during the spring bear hunting season, but that hasn't panned out.

"Most of the outfitters I have talked to just aren't seeing any wolf activity," Cadwallader said. State officials near Elk City have also been authorized to shoot wolves after numerous complaints, but Cadwallader said the wolves aren't being seen as frequently. "I think it's the time of year," he said. "The elk have moved out and are calving and the wolves have moved on."

Estimates put Idaho's wolf population at 705, but officials with Fish and Game said the number after this year's litter of pups may exceed 1,000. In May, Fish and Game began selling wolf hunting tags for $11.50 to Idaho residents, one day after the predators were taken off the endangered species list. Out-of-state hunters will have to shell out $186 for a wolf permit.

Idaho officials are in the process of setting quotas and rules for this season's wolf hunt.Hunters took to the backcountry two years ago to hunt wolves after the predators were delisted the first time. Hunters killed 188 wolves during that first public hunt, short of the state limit of 220.

Officials in Montana are also gearing up for a wolf hunt this fall.___

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Some carnivores shrank in body size during a warming climate period that took place 55 million years ago..............Did increased Co2 levels bring on such heat as to dry the planet, reducing available browse for herbivores?........Did a resulting herbivore body shrinkage(lack of nutrients in diet) then cause Carnivores to shrink in size as well(not enough food to support giant megafuana)?

Carnivore Species Shrank During Global Warming Event

 A University of Florida study indicates extinct carnivorous mammals shrank in size during a global warming event that occurred 55 million years ago. The study in the Journal of Mammalian Evolution describes a new species that evolved to half the size of its ancestors during this period of global warming.

The hyena-like animal, Palaeonictis wingi, evolved from the size of a bear to the size of a coyote during a 200,000-year period when Earth's average temperature increased about 15 degrees Fahrenheit. Following this global warming event, Earth's temperature cooled and the animal evolved to a larger size.

"We know that plant-eating mammals got smaller during the earliest Eocene when global warming occurred, possibly associated with elevated levels of carbon dioxide," said lead author Stephen Chester, a Yale University doctoral student who began the research at UF with Jonathan Bloch, curator of vertebrate paleontology at the Florida Museum of Natural History. "Surprisingly, this study shows that the same thing happened in some carnivores, suggesting that other factors may have played a critical role in their evolution."

Researchers discovered a nearly complete jaw from the animal in Wyoming's Big Horn Basin in 2006 during a fossil-collecting expedition, led by Bloch, a co-author on the study. Bloch said the new findings could help scientists better understand the impact of current global warming. "Documenting the impact of global climate change in the past is one of the only real experiments that can inform us about what the effects global warming might have on mammals in the near future," said Bloch, who has studied this climate change event for nearly a decade.

Scientists think the Earth experienced increased levels of carbon dioxide and a drier environment during the warmer time period, but they do not completely understand what caused mammals to shrink. One theory is that carbon dioxide levels reduced plant nutrients, causing herbivorous mammals to shrink. The newly described species primarily consumed meat, meaning plant nutrients couldn't have been the only factor, Bloch said.

Mammals in warmer climates today tend to be smaller than mammals in colder climates, Chester said. For example, brown bears in Montana are generally smaller than those found in Alaska.

The study's other authors are Ross Secord, assistant professor at the University of Nebraska, and Doug Boyer, assistant professor at Brooklyn College. Bloch said a tooth from this animal was described in a paper about 20 years ago, but scientists did not have enough information to name the new species until finding the jaw. The species was named after Scott Wing, a paleobotanist at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History. He studies the impact the global warming event had on forests in the past, and has played an important role in the collaborative research in the Big Horn Basin, Bloch said.

Th warming that Climate change is bringing to the Arctic will periodically offer Polar Bears another food source in the form of Snow Geese eggs..................but Researchers believe that there will be enough years of geese hatching their young prior to the Bears arrival from the sea to prevent extirpation of Geese from occuring..............I ask the first question which is will the Bears be able to make it back from the Sea in the first place if all of the ice islands they depend on for resting stops melt away?

Polar Bears Can't Eat Geese Into Extinction

As the Arctic warms, a new cache of resources -- snow goose eggs -- may help sustain the polar bear population for the foreseeable future. In a new study published in an early online edition of Oikos, researchers affiliated with the Museum show that even large numbers of hungry bears repeatedly raiding nests over many years would have a difficult time eliminating all of the geese because of a mismatch in the timing of bear arrival on shore and goose egg incubation.

"There have been statements in popular literature indicating that polar bears can extirpate snow geese quickly once they start to eat eggs," says Robert Rockwell, a research associate in the Division of Vertebrate Zoology at the Museum and a professor at the City University of New York. "However, there will always be the occasional mismatch in the overlap between the onshore arrival of bears and the incubation period of the geese. Even if the bears eat every egg during each year of complete 'match,' our model shows that periodic years of mismatch will provide windows of successful goose reproduction that will partially offset predation effects."
In the last few years, work along the Cape Churchill Peninsula of western Hudson Bay by Rockwell and colleagues has suggested that polar bears are not as hamstrung by their environment as many biologists believe. One new nutritional option for polar bears is the bounty of goose eggs which had previously hatched into goslings that were gone by the time bears came ashore. In recent years, 'early' bears have left breaking sea ice to come ashore and consume eggs. In fact, the earlier the bears come ashore, the better: eggs are higher in nutrients when the embryo is younger.

In the new Oikos paper, Rockwell and coauthors Linda Gormezano (also affiliated with the Museum) and David Koons (a researcher at Utah State University in Logan) simulated the timing of events during the Arctic spring: the break-up of sea ice, the movement of bears onto shore, the migration of geese to the North, and the laying of eggs. Results from the computer model show that the mismatch of timing is something that both the bears and geese can use to their advantage. The timing of geese migration is primarily based on photoperiod (the amount of light in 24 hours), which will not change as quickly as polar bear movements, which are based on the melting of sea ice.

Results show that the advance in mean overlap of the two species gives an advantage to polar bears. But increased variability, also the result of global climate change, leads to an increased mismatch that is good news for snow geese."Mismatch is often thought to be bad, but in this case periodic mismatch is good because it keeps geese from going extinct and allows polar bears to eat," says Rockwell. "Are polar bears adaptable? Of course. This could be a nice stable system. The geese aren't going to go away, and they are a nutrient resource for the bears."

The research for this paper was supported by the Hudson Bay Project.

A reiteration of the fact that sport hunting and the subsequent removal of dominant male Cougars from a given habitat encourage young males who take over the vacant territory to kill the cubs of the previous male.........this causes females to come back into heat and mother a new set of cubs.........The net result is fewer cubs maturing to adulthood when heavy human hunting at play......and a resulting sink to the Feline population

Big cat hunting has disproportionate affect on populations

Hunting lions and pumas causes extra more damage to populations as cubs are routinely killed
 So called 'sport hunters' are depleting lion and puma populations by shooting dominant male cats. Sport hunting takes a significant toll on these large feline species because replacement males routinely kill their predecessors' cubs to improve their mating opportunities. (Killing cubs forces female lions into oestrus or "heat.") A team of scientists has confirmed this effect by comparing the impact of hunting on populations of lions, cougars and leopards with its impact on black bear populations because male black bears do not routinely kill infants of other males.
Control or conservation?

The study looked at numbers of lions and pumas killed by hunters over the past 15 to 25 years in Africa and the western United States. The analysis suggested that management agencies often adjusted quotas to control rather than conserve the big cats in areas where humans or livestock were threatened.

Leopards not affected as much
Lion and puma populations have suffered the greatest decline in African countries and U.S. states where sport hunting has been most intense over the past 25 years, the researchers found. Leopards were not as affected as lions and pumas, probably because they benefited from reduced numbers of lions. Black bears, by contrast, appear to be thriving despite the thousands of bears killed by hunters.
The study results point to the need for new approaches to protect humans and livestock and to manage sport hunting without endangering these vulnerable species. One possibility would be to restrict sport hunting to older males whose offspring have matured.

"We need to develop scientifically-based strategies that benefit hunters, livestock owners and conservationists," Packer says. "It's important to educate the public about the risks these large predators pose to rural communities and to help hunters and wildlife managers develop methods to sustain healthy populations

The study,was led by Craig Packer, a University of Minnesota professor and renowned authority on lion behaviour, who worked with an international team of conservationists

Saturday, June 25, 2011

The HEALTHY HERDS HYPOTHESIS stating that trophic predators keep herds of prey animals at levels that minimize their susceptibility to plagues of parasites and disease(as well as preventing undue stress from other predators) is a basic tenet wildlife ecology stemming from Aldo Leopold observations in the 1930's...............Georgia Institute of Technology and U. of Illinois Researchers have discovered that when the Water Flea(Daphnia dentifera) is attacked by one of the trophic predators that feeds on it (a Midge known as Chaoborus), the flea responds by expanding its body size as a means of making it harder to be eaten..........This "growth" makes the flea more susceptible to a parasite known as Metschnikowia..........The Flea's larger size causes it to ingest more of the deadly parasites but because the parasite is more of a periodic attacker versus year round vulnerability to the Midge, the flea defaults to the BIGGGER body size............This research calls into question the pros and cons of increasing predator densities to control the diseases of prey animals.........The results of this research suggests that it is important to consider the indirect effects of predators, such as this one in which trying to avoid one enemy increases the hosts vulnerability to another..............An interesting point to take into account in our continuing discussions about our suite of native trophic, terrestrial carnivores and the hoofed browsers that they prey on

Scientists Uncover an Unhealthy Herds Hypothesis

 Biologists worldwide subscribe to the healthy herds hypothesis, the idea that predators can keep packs of prey healthy by removing the weak and the sick. This reduces the chance disease will wipe out the whole herd, but could it be that predators can also make prey populations more susceptible to other predators or even parasites? Biologists at the Georgia Institute of Technology have discovered at least one animal whose defenses against a predator make it a good target for one opportunistic parasite.

"We found that strategies that prey use to defend themselves against predators can increase their susceptibility to infection by parasites," said Meghan Duffy, assistant professor in Georgia Tech's School of Biology. Duffy, along with colleagues at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and Indiana University, took a look at a small aquatic crustacean, Daphnia dentifera, a water flea known to be an important part of freshwater ecosystems. They exposed the crustacean to chemicals emitted by one of its predators, a phantom midge larva known as Chaoborus, known to feed on it. When the Daphnia detected those chemicals it grew larger, making it harder for its predator to get its mouth around it.
"Unfortunately for the Daphnia, this defense against predation makes them more vulnerable to parasitism," said Duffy.

That's because while growing larger keeps Daphnia safe from Chaoborus, it actually makes it more susceptible to a virulent yeast parasite, known as Metschnikowia. When Daphnia senses a threat from its predator and grows larger, it ends up consuming more of these parasitic yeasts than it does when normal size. When the yeast infects the crustacean, it kills it, causing the dead animal to release yeast spores as it decomposes. The larger the host, the more spores it releases back into the water to prey on other Daphnia. "Since they need to grow larger to defend themselves against the predator but the opposite to defend against the parasite, they're sort of stuck between a rock and a hard place," she added.

Duffy reasons that this occurs because the predators are common year-round, while the parasites are more episodic in nature, with their populations expanding in epidemics only in the fall and not even yearly. This results in long periods of predation in the absence of the parasite, which probably explains why they respond so strongly to defend themselves against the predator even though it decreases their defenses against the yeast, she added.

"While some have argued for increasing predator densities to control disease, our results suggest that it is important to consider the indirect effects of predators, such as the one we found in which trying to avoid one enemy increases the hosts vulnerability to another," said Duffy.

This research was funded by the National Science Foundation  and appears online in the journal Functional Ecology.

Oil Firms and the Colorado Division of Wildlife seeking detente and a way to work together to allow drilling on certain lands and protecting other lands............The Nature Conservancy endorses this approach...............Hopefully, the drilling is in as small a contiguous region as possible to mitigate environmental "rip up" of the land...............and that the protected lands are large, continuous and contiguous to optimize diversity and gene flow of the species that call the land home

  Plan Preserves Habitat in Colorado's San Juan Basin
A collaboration in southwestern Colorado between conservationists, wildlife officials and an energy company limits the impacts of drilling on mule deer, raptors and other animals.

By Matthew H. Davis
The Colorado Division of Wildlife and BP America Production Company earlier this month announced an agreement to mitigate the effects of energy drilling in the Sun Juan Basin in Colorado's southwestern corner, near Durango.

The proposed plan would offset habitat loss caused by the impact of 68 new or expanded drilling sites that would directly affect about 190 acres. The plan also sought to conserve habitat for 20 species of plants and animals—including mule deer, raptors and groundhogs, as well as several grass species—in a study area covering about 2,700 square miles.
The majority of the drilling project sits on private lands, with BP only owning mineral rights.  The plan allows the DOW to advise BP as to which lands would be suitable for mitigation. Then, BP will work with land owners to develop conservation easements and other methods for protecting the lands.  At the moment, the exact acreage of land conserved under the agreement hasn't been determined.  "The agreement shows that it is possible to develop natural gas resources and preserve Colorado's wildlife," state Division of Wildlife Director Tom Remington said. "This is an ideal model for planning natural resource development and conservation on a landscape scale."

The plan, which was developed over 18 months by the Nature Conservatory, DOW and BP, determined 11 high-priority areas for habitat conservation in the San Juan Basin.  The Basin stretches from the southwest corner of Colorado into northwestern New Mexico and features many diverse landscapes—including mountain, desert and mesa habitats. "This is a positive step and these types of plans should be adopted as standard instead of as a novel approach," Nature Conservancy lead scientist John Kiesecker told the Denver Post recently.

Although the DOW called the Basin plan "innovative," this is not the first time the state has developed a mitigation plan to offset oil and gas disruptions.  In recent years, Wildlife Mitigation Plans have become increasing common in Colorado. Last August, then-Governor Bill Ritter made an announcement that the DOW had been working with oil and gas companies to develop similar plans to protect wildlife.  In the last two years, the DOW has negotiated 11 similar plans in western Colorado's Piceance Basin, located 250 miles north of the San Juan project, on Colorado's Western Slope.  The plans in the Piceance Basin protected nearly 355,000 acres of wildlife habitat.

One of the largest agreements in the Piceance Basin, reached by the DOW and the ExxonMobil Oil Company, encompasses nearly 150,000 acres of mostly BLM-owned surface habitat. The plan, much like the San Juan Basin plan, used a similar landscape scale to determine the best possible ways to protect habitats.  Both plans use a "best management practices policy" that focuses on traffic to and from wells, the use of multiple wells at each drill pad and gathering waste water to protect aquifers
This plan is the first one to take what has worked in other parts of western Colorado and put it to work preserving and maintaining wildlife in the San Juan Basin, DOW spokesman Joe Lewandowski said. Colorado's mitigation agreements are reached voluntarily between an energy development company and the DOW, Lewandowski said.  The agreement then allows a more streamlined permitting process, which doesn't require the development company to file for a permit for each well. 

Brooks Fahy and U.S. Representative De Fazio have been working to de-fund the Predator killing segment of Wildlife Services for two decades........Brooks sent me two articles from 1998 showing how close we came at the end of the 20th Century to stopping the wasteful and wrong practice of Federal funding for shooting, trapping and poisoning Carnivores that roam our landscape

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Rick Meril <>
Date: Sat, Jun 25, 2011 at 10:51 AM
Subject: Re: DeFazio 1998 Wild Service
To: 13 year effort for you and DeFazio.........almost!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  Let us make it happen in our lifetimes!!!!!

Hi Rick,

Thanks for posting the Campbell article, I thought you'd find the attached articles of interest. I've been working with Peter DeFazio on the Wildlife Services issue for two decades now, we actually pulled it off for a few hours in 1998. I hope we can gut this agency in my life time.

Brooks Fahy
Executive Director

541-937-4261 Office
541-520-6003 Cell

Friday, June 24, 2011

Michigan Tech's John Vucetich and Josephg Bump......Michigan State's Michael Nelson along with our friend, Canadian Environmental Scientist Paul Pacquet make a forceful case regarding the flawed assumptions and tenets of the long-standing NORTH AMERICAN MODEL OF WILDLIFE CONSERVATION....................The model's misconception of history gives recreational hunters the sole credit for preventing the ravages of wildlife exploitation caused by commercial hunting in the 19th century...... "Recreational hunting was only one of several important factors that led to improved conservation in North America," the authors say. Since the 1960s, they point out; conservation efforts have been led by non-hunters and nature enthusiasts such as National Park visitors and bird-watchers..........This is the first time the North American Model has been challenged and the logic of Pacquet et al is logical and demands consideration as we travel through this current moment in history where ALL THINGS CARNIVORE are under siege by Hunting Groups, State Game Commissions and the U.S. House, Senate and Federal Branches......Can the "tag em and bag em" approach to Carnivore reduction be modified by a real review of our NORTH AMERICAN MODEL?????? I for one, sincerely hope so!

Scientists cast doubt on North America's hunting based conservation

 Often touted as the greatest environmental achievement of the 20th century, the North American Model of Wildlife Conservation is anything but, say wildlife ecologists and environmental ethicists from Michigan Technological University and Michigan State University. Writing in the summer 2011 issue of the journal The Wildlife Professional, Michigan Tech's John Vucetich and Joseph Bump, Michigan State's Michael Nelson, and Canadian environmental scientist Paul Paquet call the North American Model of Wildlife Conservation seriously flawed. The commentary is the first critique that the North American model has faced.

The North American model has been around as an idea for about a decade, and in that time it has become quite popular among some wildlife professionals. The model consists of two related approaches to conservation: a historical description of past conservation efforts and an ethical prescription for the future. "One rests upon an inadequate account of history and the other on an inadequate ethic," Vucetich and Nelson say flatly.

The model's misconception of history gives recreational hunters the sole credit for preventing the ravages of wildlife exploitation caused by commercial hunting in the 19th century. It cites the efforts of famous hunters such as Theodore Roosevelt. "Recreational hunting was only one of several important factors that led to improved conservation in North America," the authors say. Since the 1960s, they point out; conservation efforts have been led by non-hunters and nature enthusiasts such as National Park visitors and bird-watchers.
The historical narrative crediting recreational hunters with spearheading the drive for wildlife conservation in turn becomes the rationale for a belief that recreational hunting is necessary for wildlife conservation. Then that becomes a prescription for future conservation efforts.
The entire construct is misguided, say Nelson and Vucetich. "The principle of past behaviour is not, by itself, an appropriate justification for future behaviour," they explain. "Would you argue that society should perpetuate slave labour or gender discrimination simply because such practices are part of our history? Likewise it is wrong to conclude that hunting should play a central role in future conservation efforts simply because it has in the past."
Hunting interests conflict with conservation principles
The scientists also express concern that the interests of recreational hunters sometimes conflict with conservation principles. For example, they say, wildlife management conducted in the interest of hunters can lead to an overabundance of animals that people like to hunt, such as deer, and the extermination of predators that also provide a vital balance to the ecosystem.
Vuetich and Nelson examine the seven tenets of the North American Model of Wildlife Conservation:
  • Wildlife is held in the public trust.
  • Commerce in dead animals is illegal.
  • Wildlife use is allocated through law.
  • Hunting is an opportunity for all.
  • Wildlife may only be killed for legitimate reasons.
  • Wildlife is an international resource.
  • Science is the basis for wildlife protection.
"Consider the tenet that says wildlife may only be killed for legitimate reasons," the authors observe. "This principle is as basic and appropriate as it is void of useful insight about defining a legitimate purpose." The North American Model provides no further insight about what counts as legitimate, they note.
The scientists also raise a question about the final tenet, that science is the basis for wildlife protection. "This equates a desire for policies informed by science with science itself determining what policies ought to be adopted," they say. "Scientific facts about nature cannot, by themselves, determine how we ought to relate to nature or which policies are most appropriate."
What is conservation?
The authors emphasize that they have nothing against hunting. "If the North American Model's primary motivation was to promote hunting, and even if it did so transparently, the Model would still fall short," they say.
The model's greatest value, Vucetich and Nelson say, is that it calls attention to the need to confront a more basic question: What is conservation? "All of us should explore whether wildlife management and conservation are the same or whether they represent different, occasionally conflicting goals," they suggest. "We still need answers for key questions like: What does it mean for a population or ecosystem to be healthy? How does conservation relate to or conflict with other legitimate values, such as social justice, human liberty and concern for the welfare of the individual? Resolving these and other questions could provide a truly meaningful conservation model."
Courtesy of Michigan Technological University

THE INTERNATIONAL FUND FOR ANIMAL WELFARE, THE NORTHERN LIGHTS WILDLIFE SOCIETY AND THE BRITISH COLUMBIA MINISTRIES OF ENVIRONMENT have teamed up in only the third effort in history to release orphaned Grizzly Bears back into the wild...........The project will study whether releasing orphaned Grizzlies is viable...... Two orphan bears were previously released in July of 2008 and two more in the Summer of 2009. "This project is pioneering the rehabilitation and reintroduction of Grizzly bears back into the wild," said Angelika Langen, NLWS Director. "We are thrilled to give these animals a second chance at life and we eagerly await the opportunity to help many more Grizzlies."

Bear Lift: Rescued Grizzly Bears Return to the Wild in BC Pilot Project

BRITISH COLUMBIA, CANADA) - Four yearling Grizzly bears orphaned in British Columbia's Bella Coola Valley in 2010 have been rehabilitated and are on the road – and flight -- back to freedom. The cubs named Drew, Jason, Lori and Dean were rescued last year after their mothers were killed. They are being transported by truck from Smithers, BC and will be air-lifted by helicopter into their new habitat near Owikeno Lake.  The rescue, transport and release of the Grizzlies is part of a unique cooperative pilot project between the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW –, the Northern Lights Wildlife Society (NLWS – and the British Columbia Ministries of Environment, and Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations.

The project will study whether releasing orphaned Grizzlies is viable. This is only the third time such a release has taken place. Two bears were released in July of 2008 and two in the summer of 2009.  "This project is pioneering the rehabilitation and reintroduction of Grizzly bears to the wild," said Angelika Langen, NLWS Director. "We are thrilled to give Lori, Dean, Drew and Jason a second chance at life and we eagerly await the opportunity to help many more Grizzlies."

The bears have spent the last seven months at NLWS's rehabilitation centre. They will travel by road on June 24, 2011 from Smithers to Bella Coola inside four individual culvert traps on a flatbed truck. A helicopter will then be used to transport the immobilized bears, two at a time, to the release site by the Owikeno Lake on June 25, 2011. The release area is within the traditional territory of the Wuikinuxv First Nation, who support the release of the cubs and their monitoring within their territory. "All of the bears have been custom fit with satellite collars that will allow us to track their daily movements for months to come," said John Beecham, bear specialist with IFAW. "We are optimistic that these bears will not only survive but thrive in the wild."

Given the ongoing human-bear conflict situation in Bella Coola, a release site for these four bears has been identified to the South, in the easternmost area of Owikeno Lake. "We chose this area because it is currently closed to Grizzly bear hunting, and is ecologically parallel to Bella Coola where the bears were found," said Tony Hamilton, biologist from the BC Ministry of Environment. A public meeting to discuss various approaches to reducing human-bear conflict in the Bella Coola Valley will follow the release. A variety of preventative measures will be promoted to prevent recurrence of the unfortunate events that resulted in these cubs becoming orphaned.

Rehabilitating orphan bear cubs is being viewed by IFAW as a more sustainable and humane alternative than killing the bears outright. Similar bear rehabilitation projects are being supported by IFAW in Russia and India.

About IFAW (the International Fund for Animal Welfare)
Founded in 1969, IFAW saves animals in crisis around the world. With projects in more than 40 countries, IFAW rescues individual animals, works to prevent cruelty to animals, and advocates for the protection of wildlife and habitats. For more information read IFAW's blog, visit our website and follow us on YouTube, Twitter and Facebook.