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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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Friday, September 30, 2011

The Coyote Yipps blogsite adroitly addresses humans misinterpretation of alleged Coyote aggression

New post on Coyote Yipps

"Mighty Aggressive"

 is simply not what's

  going on.

by yipps
I advised some dog walkers that a coyote was
 around a bend. They ignored me until the coyote
 was at the top of the hill and could actually be
 seen. One of the women turned to me and said
 "mighty aggressive I would say". I asked why
she thought this -- the coyote was just standing
 on the same path as she was.

I had been watching the coyote hunt, and
 it just happened to be headed in the
 direction of the walkers. It couldn't
 possibly have seen the walkers
 to avoid them, just as the walkers could
not possibly have seen the coyote. The
 woman turned to me andsaid that the
 coyote was obviously after them -- if he
 hadn't seen them, he surely could have
HEARD them,and, weren't coyotes
 SUPPOSED to be afraid of us?
Didn't that constitute aggression? No,
that does not constitute aggression.

And no, coyotes are not necessarily
 fearful of people -- rather, it would
 be more accurate to say that coyotes
 are WARY of people. They will do
 their utmost to avoid people. But
closer encounters in a park will
 happen now and then. The coyote
 may look at you, and may even
 study you for a moment -- that is not
 aggression -- that is curiosity, or even
surprise. And then he will move away.
 Coyotes are not at all
interested in people. In this case, the
 coyote came within about 50 feet of the
 woman and her dog which
 was leashed.  Both parties gazed at each
 other for a moment and then the coyote
 ran off the path.

scientists urge that the boreal forest that straddles the Manitoba-Ontario boundary be designated a UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE SITE.......A proposed transmission line that would cut through the forest would effectively take this region out of contention for UNESCO status

WINNIPEG _ More than 75 scientists from around the world have waded into a contentious Manitoba election issue and are urging the province to protect one of the Earth´s largest intact boreal forests.

A letter signed by academics from North America and Australia says the greenbelt that straddles the Manitoba-Ontario boundary is one of the biggest remaining pristine woodland ecosystems left on the globe. They say it should be kept intact and be designated a UNESCO world heritage site.

"It´s definitely a global treasure and definitely worth protecting," said Larry Innes, utive director of the Canadian Boreal Initiative, which helped organize the letter.

A debate over where to build a new hydro transmission line has been one of the most divisive issues in the campaign for Tuesday´s election.

The NDP government has plans to build the line down the west side of Lake Winnipeg rather than disturb the forest on the east side. But the Conservatives argue the east-side route is shorter, cheaper and would not derail attempts to turn the forest into a UNESCO site.

There is a lot at stake, Innes said. Not only would building a hydro transmission line undermine the UNESCO bid, it would put the animals that call the forest home at risk, he said.

Woodland caribou are a threatened species that needs the space and protection that the forest provides, he suggested. A large transmission line carved through the forest would give predatory wolves an edge by removing the caribou´s cover.

"You effectively these long sight lines that allow long-range predators like wolves to basically patrol the transmission line and pick up the traces of caribou that would otherwise avoid them in an intact forest."

Although the letter was released just days before the vote, organizers said they aren´t trying to tell people how to cast their ballot.

Jeffrey Wells, another signatory to the letter, said he hopes voters weigh the evidence carefully. Manitoba´s part of the boreal forest is an important refuge and will become even more so as climate change pushes some species further north, said Wells, who is science and policy director of the Boreal Songbird Initiative in Maine.

"These intact areas are essentially the Noah´s Ark for species in the changing world we are seeing from climate change," he said. "It´s a really special place and it is a last-chance opportunity to maintain the natural heritage values of this place."

Conservative Leader Hugh McFadyen downplayed concerns outlined in the letter. McFadyen, former chairman of the UNESCO world heritage committee, has said a hydro line would not derail a bid to designate the area.

The transmission line´s western route cuts through as many caribou ranges as the east side does, he added. As well, the eastern route is shorter, so it would be cheaper and have less impact on the environment.

"I think they are right to raise the environmental issue," he said of the scientists. "I think they are wrong in terms of their analysis of the impacts."

The letter was welcome to NDP Leader and Premier Greg Selinger, who has made the transmission line and the future of Manitoba Hydro a central theme of his re-election campaign.

Keeping the province´s boreal forest untouched will benefit the economy and the environment, he argued. Manitoba could become an eco-tourism destination while preserving the environment, he suggested.

"For the environment, it´s a tremendous storehouse for carbon. It´s a huge producer of clean water and clean air.

"It´s the kind of asset that, once you destroy it, you don´t get it back. We have to be very prudent in protecting it now for future generations."

Camilla Fox of PROJECT COYOTE is coming to Calabasas, California on October 12 to testify in front of the City Council in regards to their proposed Coyote management plan that would ban hunting and trapping of the animals in the community..................PLEASE CLICK ON THE LINK IN THE BODY OF THIS POST TO SIGN A PETITION THAT WILL BE SENT TO THE CALABASAS CITY COUNCIL SUPPORTING THE NO KILL MANAGEMENT PLAN

From: Camilla Fox <>
To: Meril, Rick; Meril, Rick
Sent: Fri Sep 30 16:00:27 2011
Subject: Calabasas City Council meeting re: coyote management plan
Hi Rick,

I hope this email finds you well and enjoying the beginning of fall! (this is when I most miss New England!).

I'm going to be in Calabasas on Oct. 12th to testify before the City Council regarding their proposed coyote management plan and I wanted to see if you might be around then as I'd love to meet you while I'm down there- time permitting. Also, we are trying to get as many people to the hearing as possible to testify. If you could help get the word out about this through your blog, we'd greatly appreciate it. 


Thank you in advance for any help you can provide on this front (and of course would be so grateful if you could also come and testify as we desperately need Calabasas residents to speak). Please let me know if meeting on the 12th or 13th might be a possibility for you (I'll be gone from Sunday through the 9th in case I don't hear from you before then). 

Kind regards ~ and thanks always for your support,


Camilla H. Fox, Executive Director
Project Coyote
P.O. Box 5007
Larkspur, CA 94977

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Do Dogs(and by extension Wolves, Coyotes, Foxes and other Canids) have a consciousness which is similar to that of humans....................Or do they simply react in response to stimulation in the environment, without conscious thought?................Dr. Stanley Coren concludes that: "Dogs seem to have a theory of mind and they are trying to figure out what you are thinking so that they can communicate with you and get a bit more of what they want out of life"...............My question is do wolves and coyotes who become habituated to us, employ the same "theory of mind"?............Do those that are not in contact with humans have a consciousness and also are constantly trying to figure out what other creatures in their environment are thinking and therefore consciously making decisions off of that thinking?

by Stanley Coren, Ph.D.

Can Your Dog Read Your Mind?

Dogs observe human behavior in order to understand our thoughts

I was intrigued by a recent article which appeared in the scientific journal Learning and Behavior, because of its title. The article reported research coming out of the University of Florida, based on a study by a team of researchers headed by Monique Udell. The article was entitled Can your dog read your mind? Understanding the causes of canine perspective taking.
dog dogs pet pets mind read communication social cues
I don't want you to misunderstand what this article is about. It is not about ESP or mentalism. Stodgy scientific journals don't usually publish much about those topics. But it is about something which is really fascinating. It has to do with a higher form of behavior which psychologists refer to "Theory of Mind". There is a heated debate among behavioral researchers as to whether dogs have a theory of mind. In this case it does not refer to whether canines have some notion or hypothesis about how the brain works.

 Rather theory of mind deals with the idea that an individual understands that another individual has thoughts and insights that may be different from the observer's, and that their and interpretation of the world depends upon what is coming in through their individual senses. It is a recognition that another individual can see the world differently from the way that we do, and is also a recognition that an individual will base their behavior on what they perceive. Understanding what that individual perceives is referred to as perspective taking -- in essence it is an attempt to read someone's mind and figure out what they are thinking at the moment.

The reason that this topic is both important and controversial is that having a theory of mind is evidence for consciousness at the level of having an idea about "self" and "other". This is a hot topic among psychologists and philosophers, some of whom believe that dogs have consciousness which is very similar to that of humans, while others believe that dogs act and react in response to stimulation in the environment but do so without conscious thought.
In this particular case the researchers concentrated on suggestions from other laboratories and from dog owners in general which indicate that dogs act differently when they believe that they are being watched or looked at. The simplest case of this is that dogs only seem to beg for food from individuals who are paying attention to them. For example some research has indicated that given a choice a dog will beg for food from a person who is looking at them as opposed to another individual who was wearing a blindfold. This seems to suggest a theory of mind, and some researchers have suggested that dogs have been specifically bred so that they pay attention to human social cues. In effect, this behavioral ability is believed to be an important byproduct of domestication. If that is the case, then this behavior would be encoded in a dog's genes.

 Other researchers maintain that such behaviors are not some special evidence of consciousness, but simply rote learning based upon the fact that the dog has only been rewarded in the past by individuals who have been looking at them.

The University of Florida researchers tried to test this, reasoning that if genetics was involved then wolves would not have such a theory of mind. Also, if experience were involved, then pet dogs would be more attuned to familiar conditions which indicate that an individual is looking at them or not.
The basic setup of their study involved two people who had given treats to the dogs before, and now one of them could clearly see the dog while the other could not. The question is which person that the dog approaches. You can see an example of this in the photos below, which shows the condition where one person has their back to the dog and the other does not, and the dog clearly begs for food from the human that is looking at them.
dog dogs pet pets mind read communication social cues theory of mind Udell

The results show that dogs reliably approach the person who can see them rather than one who has his back turned, but so do tamed wolves that have been hand reared from puppyhood (and thus should have learned something about interacting with people). When the researchers used a more subtle cue, namely an individual who could not see them because they were holding a book in front of their faces if they were reading, or if one of them had a bucket over their head, the pet dogs responded accurately by begging for the food from a person who could see them while the wolves failed to be that selective.

 This seems to be evidence for genetic encoding of the ability to respond to human social cues in dogs, with a little bit of a suggestion that wolves reared with humans can pick up some of this behavior but only in extremely obvious situations. However the researchers point out that stray dogs turned into a shelter do not reliably beg from the person who can see them. Certainly they ought to have the same genes as pet dogs.  Yet this is not a clear result, since stray dogs may well have learned that a person who can see them is more likely to act hostility toward them, and that people in general are not going to offer them food even if they can see them.

A better test of whether paying attention to what people are looking at is encoded in the genes or based upon experience comes from the second experiment that the University of Florida group conducted. Again with pet dogs and wolves, they tested them with an individual who could see them and one who had a bucket over their head as before, only now the person wearing the bucket who could not see them  rewarded them for begging by giving them food, while the one who could see them did not reward them. The idea was that if the interpretation of the social cues was learned, then it could be rapidly unlearned and the begging behavior moved to the individual who could not see the dog. This did not happen, and the dogs persisted in believing that the only one who would respond to their entreaties was the person who could see them, despite the change in the pattern of reward.

Over all these results suggest that dogs do have a strongly entrenched, perhaps genetic, predisposition to try to "read the mind" of humans, at least at the level of understanding that humans must pay attention to them if they are going to be able to get them to respond. Wolves can learn this, at least at a low level for the most obvious of cues (when an individual has their back turned) but not for the more subtle cues, such as the familiar situation where a human is looking at a book and thus not attending to what is going on in front of them.

So, can dogs read your mind? Well they certainly seem to have a theory of mind and they are trying to figure out what you are thinking so that they can communicate with you and get a bit more of what they want out of life.

Stanley Coren is the author of many books including: Born to Bark, The Modern Dog, Why Do Dogs Have Wet Noses? The Pawprints of History, How Dogs Think, How To Speak Dog, Why We Love the Dogs We Do, What Do Dogs Know? The Intelligence of Dogs, Why Does My Dog Act That Way? Understanding Dogs for Dummies, Sleep Thieves, The Left-hander Syndrome

Providing alternative(artificial) feeding sites for bears as a viable long-term strategy for minimizing conflicts with people......Can that really work?????...........Minnesota Ecologist Lynn Rogers has written a peer reviewed paper on this subject and claims to have had a hands on positive experience with the technique............Manitoba Wiildlife Officials(as I do) question the viability of feeding bears in any location..........Are you not habituating them to human food and lessening their fear of us?

Diversionary Food Sites For Bears Save Lives

(BLACK BEARS) MINNESOTA — During Summer months when folks venture outdoors, bear interactions are rampant. When people and bears come into contact, the bear is typically shot because it poses a threat. Now, this drastic measure can be avoided with a system called diversionary food sites.
 These food sites are placed away from densely populated areas and help attract bears away from people. In multiple cases this strategy has been extremely successful, and if widely implemented it could save hundreds of bears' lives. Read further for more on diversionary food sites and their effectiveness. — Global Animal

Mama Bear and Baby
In a summer as dry as this one, food is short and Black Bears tend to wander more closely to humans. Diversionary food sites could keep these bears safe and away from people. Photograph by Norbert Rosing
A wildlife biologist from Minnesota says black bear problems this summer can be solved without killing any more bears.

Lynn Rogers, director of the Wildlife Research Institute and the North American Bear Centre in Ely, Minnesota, said studies show that putting food out for bears at a designated site — a practice known as diversionary feeding — can keep black bears away from populated areas but doesn't condition the bears to human food.

Rogers said one area of Minnesota has been feeding black bears for 50 years without creating a nuisance problem or a threat to humans."I wonder why they think they have to shoot them," Rogers said.

Manitoba Conservation's policy is to shoot and kill any agitated or aggressive black bear that is on the ground in a populated area.Three black bears were shot and killed at Grand Beach on Lake Winnipeg during the past week. The bears were found in the dunes area.

Rogers, who has a PhD in ecology and behavioural biology and has studied black bears for 44 years, said Manitoba Conservation could set up diversionary food sites — using beef fat or sunflower seeds — now to avoid any further bear encounters this summer. "If you want to co-exist with bears, diversionary feeding is the tool," Rogers said. Rogers wrote a research paper in 2009, examining an eight-year period where black bears were fed to keep them away from populated areas. She found that most assumptions about black bears are false and that bear/human interactions can be controlled by providing bears with food. A modified version of Rogers' 2009 paper is being published as a peer-reviewed article in the upcoming edition of Human-Wildlife Interactions Journal. Rogers was featured in a 2010 BBC documentary that labelled him as Bearwalker of The Northwoods.

An official with Manitoba Conservation was not available for interview but a department spokeswoman said it has used diversionary food site techniques for geese, ducks, deer and elk — but never bears. "There has been a limited amount of study in this area and little information on the long-term implications of such a program," the department spokeswoman said in an email exchange with the Winnipeg Free Press. "There are also other things to consider, such as where sites would be located and how sites would be chosen, what types of feed to use, determining the kind of expertise needed to implement and continue such a program and develop cost estimates." The spokeswoman said bears are only put down when the public safety is at risk and there are no other alternatives.

Rogers said during summers when there is no or limited natural food, bears will be attracted to garbage and food left unattended — like this summer's dry season. He said with a shortage of berries, black bears will continue to be drawn to campgrounds this summer.

But Rogers said Manitoba Conservation could set up a food site and keep the bears away from Grand Beach or any other area where bears are a problem. "It worked so well, that we launched another study to see how these bears reacted to people," Rogers said.

Even where they are protected by law, Southern California communities can hire trappers to remove Coyotes from a given location if they are perceived to be "threatening",,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,Removal never really solves the problem as we have discussed numerous times together on this blog.....Larger litters with the remaining coyotes result......"Humans must prepare to coexist with Coyotes"......."Nothing that I can do, or the Sheriff's Department, or anyone else, is going to get rid of them,"----Raymond Smith; Altadena, California Weed and Pest Mgmt spokesperson

Coyotes Suffer The Gun: More SoCal Wildlife Killings

Laguna Woods is not the only SoCal zone killing coyotes.Altadena County has also "removed and killed" seven coyotes this summer, reports Altadena Patch, due to an increasing number of reported pet attacks and coyote sightings.The county traps and kills coyotes only when they appear to be a nuisance, said Raymond Smith of the county's Weed Hazard and Pest Management Bureau during Tuesday's City Council meeting.

 He also noted that humans must prepare to coexist with the animals."Nothing that I can do, or the Sheriff's Department, or anyone else, is going to get rid of them," Smith said.

Altadena officials will continue to trap and kill the animals until the department determines that they are no longer a problem for residents. MaryEllen Schoeman, a wildlife rehabilitator with Animal Advocates, spoke in opposition of the policy."Trapping, with all due respect, does not work," Schoeman said. Once an animal is removed, another animal tends to fill the void, she said.She schooled meeting attendees on coyote habits and suggested tips for deterring the wild animals from residential areas.
*Coyotes that establish a den on a resident's property can be removed by the bureau.
*Residents should strongly discourage or report anybody who is feeding coyotes.
*Residents should not leave out trash or food on their property.
*Pets will not be safe behind fencing unless it is very high. Six feet is not high enough.
*Adults should not fear a coyote attack as they only happen in extremely limited circumstances.
*This is an unusually strong year for coyotes in the foothills, and the population levels are high. Populations tend to be cyclical, so it will not remain this way forever
Coyotes are not the only wildlife foraging for food in inhabited areas this year. A recent bear sighting in Glendale has alarmed officials and residents; however, the beasts have yet to be identified as a threat. We hope the brown creatures stick to munching on garbage to avoid the spray of bullets.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Let us not completely demonize Rocky Mountain Wolf haters..............They exist in all geographic regions of the USA ...........And they will make up stories, distort the truth and plain out lie about Wolf ecology so as to scare the general population and make them feel threatened by wolves......Maine hunters are paranoid about coyotes and the prospect of Eastern Wolf rewilding.............Their artificially high deer herd has begun to sink back to more ecosystem carrying capacity under the dual strain of snowy winters and an increased coyote population.................Deer historically did not exist in the Northern 2/3 of the State until Cougars and Wolves were eliminated and timber was clear cut..............The new "highway North" without tolls(carnivores) and with young regenerating browse(clearcut recovery) was the perfect storm to cause northern deer migrations during the early and mid 20th century...............Now folks are used to the deer and "freak" at the mention of wolves, cougars, coyotes and bears...............the "4-corners" of effective deer control in any part of North America

Keeping Wolves from Maine's door

As preposterous as it sounds, it appears once again that the U.S Fish and Wildife Service (USFWS) is toying with the idea of introducing wolves into the Northeast, Maine included. Just what Maine's moose and troubled deer populations need, right? Another major predator.

The whole scheme is complicated and woven into a web of wolf subspecies and environmental politics of the most expensive kind. Because of lawsuits brought against USFWS by animal rights groups, critics believe that USFWS is using Northeast wolf introduction as a ploy to mitigate its legal problems with Defenders of Wildlife and other well-heeled, litigation-happy fringe groups.
Wolves are fascinating critters. Visitors to Yellowstone Park love to watch these big canids through telescopes and field glasses. For every happy wolf looker in Yellowstone, though, there are a dozen ranchers, elk hunters - and maybe even some state wildlife biologists in the West — who wish that wolf introduction had never happened. The wolf controversy has to be eating up a lot of USFWS's time that might be better spent on other projects.

In Grangerville, Idaho this spring, a local newspaper headline screamed, "Idaho Fish and Game Responsible For Creating Public Safety Nightmare." Although the Canadian Gray Wolf was never a natural part of the Idaho wildlife mix, according to Idahoans, USFWS, with the help of Idaho Fish and Game, introduced the Gray Wolf anyway as an experimental program. Mike Popp, a spokesman for a committee called Wolf Free Idaho, contends that the Idaho wolf introduction was intended to be a well-controlled and restrained experiment that has gotten way out of hand. He says that the U.S. Congress violated its own laws and procedures in the way it handled the Gray Wolf introduction in Idaho.

The Gray Wolf in Idaho is known to be carrying a complex new parasite that is said to be potentially disastrous, not only to domestic animals, but humans as well. The Idaho state legislature, this spring, enacted emergency legislation ordering Idaho Fish and Game to address the problem.

Dr. Delane Kritsky, a respected parasitologist at Idaho State University, says that "the only way this parasite can be eliminated in our area is the elimination of the wolf."

As you can see, the simplistic, romantic notion of introducing wolves into a state where they do not now exist is fraught with hidden perils, of the social, legal and medical kind. There are historical accounts of what was thought to be Gray Wolves wolves in Maine long ago. But apparently there were no coyotes here back then either. All of this is further complicated by the fact that our contemporary coyotes are becoming larger and increasingly wolf like in their physiology.

Looking at the problem-plagued history of the wolf introduction program in the West, Maine might do well to put wolf introduction in the same category of Roxanne's Quimby's dream. We need federal wolves here like we need a federalized National Forest.

Matt Dunlap, the interim director of the Sportsman's Alliance of Maine, this spring testified about wolf recovery in front of the US Fish and Wildlife Service. Among other points he made was this:
"We believe the taxonomic information utilized by the Service as the factual and scientific basis to support the proposed rule is not simply logically flawed; it constitutes paleobiological fiction — a complete invention — to justify a sweeping prioritization to policy dominance of wolf recovery in the United States."

Those are commendable words, and not minced. Dunlap made another excellent point, referring to the Endangered Species Act, which started this whole wolf restoration quest: "Protection and restoration, which is the ultimate goal of the Act, should also take into context public tolerance and expectations.
Restoring the Great Plains to suitable habitat for wolves is beyond social capacity in the 21st Century, as is restoring the boreal forest ecology— including a full restoration of the type of wildlife populations that were abundant here in the period preceding forest, farm and urban development."

The author is editor of the Northwoods Sporting Journal. He is also a Maine Guide, co-host of a weekly radio program "Maine Outdoors" heard Sundays at 7 p.m. on The Voice of Maine News-Talk Network (WVOM-FM 103.9, WQVM-FM 101.3) and former information officer for the Maine Dept. of Fish and Wildlife. His e-mail address is and his new book is "A Maine Deer Hunter's Logbook."

In Ontario, Canada, ONTARIO NATURE(wildlife organization) recently held a rally calling on the Province to safeguard biodiversity within its borders

Ontario Nature's Rally for Nature


Leading conservation organization calls on political candidates to take a stand for endangered species and important habitats

 Ontario Nature, one of the province's most prominent conservation organizations, held a Rally for Nature at Queen's Park where the organization announced its Charter for Biodiversity. More than 6,000 people across Ontario have signed onto the charter, asking the provincial government and all candidates running in the October election to stop the ongoing loss of biodiversity in Ontario.

Speaking at the Rally for Nature were Tim Grant of the Green Party, Rosario Marchese with the NDP and Sarah Thomson of the Liberal Party in addition to Caroline Schultz, Executive Director of Ontario Nature. Each candidate described what actions their party would take on behalf of endangered species and important habitats.

Over the past two centuries, southern Ontario has lost more than 70 percent of its wetland habitats, 98 percent of its original grasslands and approximately 80 percent of its forests. More than 200 plant and animal species in Ontario are now classified as species at risk. Habitat loss and degradation, invasive species, pollution and over-consumption of natural resources drive the decline of biodiversity, understood as the variety of all life on earth.

"As a society, we cannot allow the ongoing degradation of Ontario's important landscapes, plants and animals," says Caroline Schultz. "The health of our population depends on the health of our ecosystems. We need decision makers to take meaningful steps towards the conservation of our woods, water and wildlife."

The Biodiversity Charter for Ontario outlines 10 ways the Province can stop the loss of wild species and wild spaces by 2020. These steps include supporting the establishment of a network of natural areas across southern and eastern Ontario; adopting an approach to conservation so that common species remain common; and reducing the release of contaminants through meaningful implementation of the Toxics Reduction Act and the Toxics Reduction Strategy.

Ontario Nature protects wild species and wild spaces through conservation, education and public engagement. Ontario Nature is a charitable organization representing more than 30,000 members and supporters and 140 member groups across Ontario (charitable registration # 10737 8952 RR0001). For more information, visit


To read the full Charter for Biodiversity, click on this link:

Ontario Nature is continually working on ways to provide the greatest protection possible for at-risk species. Currently, we are working towards the conservation of these species:

Woodland caribou: In Ontario and nationally, woodland caribou are classified as threatened with extinction. Ontario's woodland caribou have lost 50% of their historic range since 1880 - a staggering 35,000 square kilometres per decade. If this rate of loss continues, scientists predict that the species may disappear from Ontario by the end of the century. Ontario Nature is urging the government to regulate the caribou's range under the Endangered Species Act.

If it eats flesh for a living, Montana looking to continually increase limits on their removal...This time it is Cougars, now with expanded quotas of up to 618 targeted for removal this hunting season

Wildlife Commission raises mountain lion limit

091811 OUT turkeys
Flocks of Merriam's turkeys are creating late-winter problems for landowners in eastern Colorado. The state Parks and Wildlife commission has agreed to consider changes in the turkey hunting regulations to address the complaints.
The state Parks and Wildlife Commission on Thursday raised the limit of mountain lion harvest for the 2012 season to 618, an increase of 26 lions.

A bit of a ramble on the positive benefits of top carnivores providing trophic cascades benefits.................But the authors heart is in the right place

Yellowstone Wolf Reintroduction is not all about Elk Hunting!!!Po by: T.R. Michels

In case the hunters have not figure it out yet - Wolf Reintroduction into the Yellowstone Ecosystem, is not solely about elk hunting opportunities.

An interesting article on the effects of wolf reintroduction looks at the fact that elk numbers have decreased after the reintroduction of wolves, probably as a result of the wolves. I never said that wolves would not decrease elk populations. And I doubt that any knowledgeable wolf biologist would suggest that elk numbers would not decline. In fact most biologists expected they would, because of the wolves. It was expected. And, I for one am not ducking that fact.

But, the reduction in the size of the northern elk heard can also be attributed to the change from a moderate to liberal hunting harvest policy. And there has also been an increase in predation by a growing population of grizzly bears. But, the answers to why the elk herd has declined in recent years, are both elusive and often wrong, say scientists, citing the sheer complexity of the northern range ecosystem.

One of the latest studies has suggested that the northern elk herd decreased in numbers due to poor nutrition of adult elk and lower calf survival rates in that area. These are two unexpected results of the wolf reintroduction; which is to say that the scientists are still learning something from this study. Interestingly there appeared to be no connection between poor nutrition and lower calf survival rates. Poor nutrition was attributed to the elk being harassed more by wolves (which just makes sense). And lower calf survival was attributed to lower progesterone levels.
I, for one, have never suggested that wolf reintroduction would not result in lower elk numbers. In fact, I believed that wolf reintroduction would reduce the size of the elk herds, because wolves prey on elk. But, if we are talking about naturally balanced ecosystems, or those as natural as we can now hope to repair them to, then reducing the elk herds is a good thing, because there is no doubt that there are more elk in the ecosystem than it originally developed to hold.

The overly abundant elk herds are being kept at artificially high numbers, due in part to the National Elk Refuge feeding program in the winter, and the ability of the elk in the north to migrate out of the park and onto private land, where ranchers have maintained, improved or created hayfields and pastures suited to both elk and cattle, they also have large supplies of hay, in the form of haystacks for winter use, which the elk readily take advantage of. Take away the artificially maintained or created pasture and hayfields and haystacks, and the feeding program of the elk refuge, and elk numbers will decrease - due to starvation in large numbers. Such widespread elk deaths could lead to the appearance of deadly microorganisms, and the spread of diseases. So, no one is willing to take such a step, and I am not advocating it.

For many hunters, someplace between the time they first took up hunting, or learned to hunt, and where they are now, they have forgotten that hunting is a privilege, not a right, and that without good conservation measures, in this case total ecosystem management, we may not have either the habitat to support the game we love to hunt, or we may not have the game we love to hunt on that habitat, or both.

You would think that we would have learned from the past, when in the early 1900's, due to unregulated hunting, we brought the populations of many game animals (white-tailed deer, elk, bison, turkey, pheasants, almost all waterfowl species) to the brink of extinction. In fact, about 100 years later, some of those species have still not recovered (wolves, bison, pheasants, swans and some species of ducks). At that point in time it was not so much the habitat that was in jeopardy, it was the game.

But, without the habitat, the game cannot or will not survive, and now it is the habitat that we need to worry about. I'm referring to healthy habitat, brought about by balanced predator/prey relationships, and keeping prey species in balance with the carrying capacity of the land - as in its forage base for large herbivores. There is no question that the trees, shrubs, forbs, grasses, sedges etc. of he Yellowstone Ecosystem – are nowhere near as healthy as they once were – due in part to the removal of wolves in the ecosystem back as far as 1926 – 86 years ago.

To use the argument that the "trophic cascading" hypothesis (the loss or reduction of one species leads to the loss or reduction of another species) as a reason to justify removing wolves from the Yellowstone Ecosystem is not relevant to this post. I would suggest that in the case of the Yellowstone ecosystem, not enough time has elapsed after the removal of wolves from the ecosystem in 1926, to be able to tell if the loss of the wolves in the ecosystem than lead to declines or extinction of other species later. Even if this is not true, recent studies have shown that many plant species (that elk use as forage) that were formerly found in Yellowstone, are either reduced or in decline as a result of the removal of the wolves and the increase in elk numbers, almost 100 years ago.

If we look at the first portion of this article, we see that in fact, because wolves harass elk in northern Yellowstone, the elk have poor nutrition – which means they are either not eating as much, or they are eating different species, or they are feeding in different areas, or any combination of the three. This in turn suggests that some plant species that the elk were foraging on, are no longer being eaten by the elk. And we can conclude from that, that those plant species are either increasing, or not declining. Thus, there appears to have been a "cascading effect".

How About No Wolves?
Let us look at this from another aspect. Let us assume that the wolves do not affect elk numbers enough to allow any type of plant species to re-establish itself, prosper or stop declining in Yellowstone Park or the Yellowstone Ecosystem. The wolves did not have a secondary affect the flora in any way at all. The only thing they did was take down young, old or diseased elk, or other elk for some reason. If, for no other reason than the fact that they are culling the elk herd, to even a minor extent (hunters claim wolves are taking a lot of elk each year), would not that be enough to warrant keeping elk in the ecosystem?

 Or, wouldn't the ability of park goers to see wolves, hear them howling, and photograph wolves, in a natural setting, in the most beautiful geothermal area of the world – be enough to justify keeping the wolves in the ecosystem? Would not the fact that there is now, or will be in the future, a balanced predator/prey relationship between the elk and wolves, be enough to justify keeping wolves in the ecosystem? I think the answer to those questions is a resounding yes.

Does wolf re-introduction have to be about total ecosystem balance, in order to justify having them i
n the Yellowstone Ecosystem? I think the answer to that question is no.

Should the wants and desires of a few very vocal and outspoken hunters and ranchers - outweigh the wants and desires of the United States public citizens as a whole, or should the wants and needs of the greater non-hunting public decide whether or not there are wolves in the Yellowstone ecosystem?
I've been in Yellowstone Park and the surrounding areas several times, starting as far back as the 1960's. I've been there before there were any wolves there, when you could not find a bald eagle or a sandhill crane or trumpeter swan, and grizzly bears were abundant – in the garbage dumps. But, elk were hard to locate. And I've been there when there were lots of elk, a few grizzly and black bears, and a few wolves. I think the park, and the experience of visiting it, are enhanced by every species that has made a comeback or been re-introduced there. For many people, the animals of the area are what Yellowstone Park is all about, and that should be a good enough reason for keeping wolves in the ecosystem.

The park, and the surrounding ecosystem, are not there just for hunters. Yellowstone is for everyone, and for all the animal and plant species that belong there.If you get a chance to visit Yellowstone Park, I'm sure you will enjoy seeing, hearing or photographing the wolf packs there. Do it soon, before it is gone.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Louisa Wilcox checking in with her NRDC blog.....................She makes a logical case that just becasue Grizzly numbers in Yellowstone have increased to about 600 bears, it is not population numbers but future forecasts of declining habitat and foodstuffs that should be factored in to the decision about when to delist the bears off the Endangered Species List..............Whitebark pine decline and Cutthroat Trout demise in and around Yellowstone are wakeup calls to the fact that key Bear food sources are anything but certain as we look ahead to the next 50 years..........Might the Big Bears already be slowing down and having less reproductive success due to food declines? For those of you who grew up in the 60's and 70's who remember the LOST IN SPACE TV SERIES......."WARNING WILL ROBINSON, WARNING!"

Yellowstone Grizzly Bear Numbers: How Relevant Are They?

Louisa Willcox

GrizzliesLWI0066D.jpgThe question of the relevance of Yellowstone grizzly numbers and trends came into question during the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals hearing in March on the appeal of the District Court ruling that returned Yellowstone grizzly bears to the list of endangered species in 2009.

Wrapping up his oral argument, the federal attorney said: "let me address the extra record materials relied on by the Coalition. First of all, anything that has happened after March of 2007 isn't relevant to this case. This court's job is to assess whether the Service [U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service] made an arbitrary and capricious determination based on the record that was before the agency at the time the agency made this decision. So anything that happens after March 2007 is not relevant to this case."
Honorable Susan Graber: "So do you agree that the last line of your reply brief is not relevant also"?
Federal attorney: "That's right. We only included that data to rebut the notion that mortality has skyrocketed and it hasn't--" Honorable Sid Thomas: "That's probably not the best way to end. Thank you counsel."

To understand the importance of this exchange, you need a little background. The Greater Yellowstone Coalition's attorney, Douglas Honnold of Earthjustice, presented information on the serious threats to bears posed by whitebark pine loss, which had increased in severity since the 2007 delisting decision. He also described the excessive levels of grizzly bear mortalities that occurred in 2008 and 2010.

During the oral argument, the government attorney said that this information was irrelevant, as these events occurred after 2007 when the Fish and Wildlife Service issued its delisting rule, and when the record was considered "complete" by the agency.

To recap, Judge Graber then asked about whether or not the last sentence of the federal government's reply brief was irrelevant. Here are the last two sentences of that reply brief to provide needed context for her question: "If this court considers extra record materials (which it should not) it should also consider the data showing the Yellowstone area grizzly bear population has continued to increase at about 4-8% per year, each year, since the 2006 delisting decision, including in 2008, the year to which the Coalition refers. The current grizzly bear population is estimated to be about 600 animals."
At the end of oral argument, the federal attorney agreed with the Judge that this last statement wasn't relevant.

What is amazing about this admission is that it gets to a main pillar of the government's case for delisting—the numbers and trends of grizzly bears. If these numbers are irrelevant, as the federal government conceded they were—and habitat is threatened and regulatory mechanisms are inadequate, then how can Fish and Wildlife Service justify delisting?

Since 2007, according to Interagency Grizzly Bear annual reports, the growth rate has slowed considerably—and even a decrease in the population is possible, within the wide range of uncertainty that is inherent in the current methods used to count bears. This may become an issue of great relevance to all those concerned about the future of the grizzly bear in one of its last strongholds in the lower-48 states.

If we had reached some kind of tipping point—perhaps at the very time when grizzlies were delisted—and grizzly bear numbers are now decreasing, then endangered species protections are justified more than ever. And instead of continuing to deny the major changes that have altered bear habitat for the foreseeable future, we should redouble efforts to reduce human-caused mortality and to protect their habitat.

The federal attorney's concession may not have been the "best way to end" the government's day in court, but it did reveal something important about the federal government's approach in this case to bear numbers: they are relevant when useful to argue for delisting, and irrelevant when they are not. 



Moose are thriving on the Prairie's of North Dakota while plummeting in the more Northern and forested regions of the State............We have discussed before how Moose in the Great Lakes States have declined severely with Scientist speculation that a combination of Brainworm disease, warming temps and land alteration might be creating a perfect storm of moose destruction.................Seems that North Dakota prairie moose have a much smaller incidence of the brainworm (deer are the carriers of this parasite which is benign to deer but deadly to moose) and also have a very small incidence of Liver Fluke(another deadly moose parasite) impacting their population...........What always causes me to scratch my head is how New England and New York Moose are expanding their population in the face of a huge deer population and equally warming temperatures...............Mystery indeed!

Moose thriving on North Dakota prairie

Moose populations are declining in Minnesota, where biologists and wildlife managers continue to search for solutions to reversing the trend, but the majestic animals are doing well on the prairies of North Dakota.

By: Brad Dokken 

    BISMARCK – Moose populations are declining in Minnesota, where biologists and wildlife managers continue to search for solutions to reversing the trend, but the majestic animals are doing well on the prairies of North Dakota.

    The big question, perhaps, is why an animal associated with the boreal forest is at home on the prairie. In a word, it might come down to disease. Or lack of it.

    According to Bill Jensen, big-game biologist for the North Dakota Game and Fish Department in Bismarck, the increase in prairie moose in the mid- to late 1980s preceded declines in the Turtle Mountains and Pembina Hills, forested areas in the northern part of the state that offer more traditional woody habitat.

    Jensen said populations in the Pembina Hills peaked in the early 1990s at about 1½ moose every two miles but declined to the point where Game and Fish hasn't offered a hunting season since 2005.
    "It dramatically declined, and that mimics what was seen just across the border in Minnesota and Canada," Jensen said.

    In the past two decades, northwest Minnesota's moose population has tumbled from at least 4,000 to fewer than 100 animals, the Department of Natural Resources said.

    The success of moose on the prairies might come down to the relative absence of a nasty little critter called the brainworm, a parasite carried by land snails to deer and moose.Brainworms have no effect on deer, which shed the eggs through their waste, but they're fatal to moose, Jensen said.

    In the early 2000s, Jensen said, Game and Fish sampled brains from more than 3,700 white-tailed deer shot by hunters to test for chronic wasting disease. They also checked for brainworms, and in deer hunting units 2C and 2D of northeastern North Dakota, more than 30 percent of the deer sampled had the parasite, Jensen said, while deer sampled farther west had lower prevalence rates.

    The correlation would suggest more moose in the northeast also had brainworm, with fatal consequences."I think it really drives the system in some cases," Jensen said. "There have been all sorts of theories about why moose aren't doing well, and I think a more careful look needs to be directed at disease."

    Also working in the favor of North Dakota moose is the absence of the liver fluke, another parasite. In the mid-2000s, University of North Dakota graduate student Jim Maskey oversaw an extensive research project into prairie moose as part of his doctoral thesis. The risk from brainworm and liver flukes was part of the research, Jensen said."Liver flukes can be very damaging to a moose, but when he looked at moose livers, he wasn't finding them in North Dakota," Jensen said.

    Verified Iowa Cougar passing through the State and the 2nd confirmed Cougar sighting in Michigan's Upper peninsula is recorded(likely same animal photographed earlier in September of this year).................These males need a couple of lady cougars to set up shop with...............How long will it take for female cougars to migrate East along with the "fellas"??????...........Too long for my comfort................some rewilding necessary to speed up the process!!

    Update: Iowa DNR says mountain lion photo no cause for alarm

    Iowa DNR officials say this mountain lion, photographed in Clinton County, is only looking for two things: food and female mountain lions.The date and time on the picture are incorrect due to the camera settings. The photograph was actually taken Sept. 17.
    Iowa DNR officials say this mountain lion, photographed in Clinton County, is only looking for two things: food and female mountain lions.The date and time on the picture are incorrect due to the camera settings. The photograph was actually taken Sept. 17. / 

    Officials have confirmed a photo of a mountain lion in Clinton County is legitimate.

    A trail camera belonging to a landowner, who Iowa Department of Natural Resources said didn't want to be identified, captured the image Sept. 17.

    The date and time on the picture are incorrect due to the camera settings. The photograph was actually taken Sept. 17.
    But officials say the young male mountain lion may not stick around.

    After all, he's only looking for two things: food and female mountain lions. And he isn't likely to be satisfied with the selection of either in eastern Iowa.

    The animal likely wandered over from a western state and will keep going until he can stake out a territory that suits him, said Department of Natural Resources wildlife biologist Vince Evelsizer. Mountain lions like to travel in river corridors.

    And while he's in Iowa, he'll probably continue to avoid people, Evelsizer said.................................."A mountain lion tends to be a very secretive, shy animal that prefers to be left alone as far as dealing with people," he said. "They don't like to be around people at all, they see people as a threat."
    The area the picture was taken in is a rural, wooded area, along the Wapsipinicon River.

    Evelsizer said officials don't want to alarm the public, just make them aware of the situation.

    "We would advise people to use common sense precautions. They should continue to enjoy the outdoors in the area and not be alarmed. But they should know one may be around there," Evelsizer said.

    Cougar sighting in Michigan, would you know what to do?

     The DNR today confirmed a cougar has been sighted in Michigan. If you came into contact with a cougar would you know what to do?
    The cougar was first spotted September 24 on a Houghton County trail camera where it showed the animal wearing a radio collar.

    "This is almost certainly the same cat as was confirmed in Ontonogan County on Sept. 8." said Adam Bump, a wildlife biologist with the DNR's Cougar Team. "What is also interesting is that the Wisconsin DNR earlier verified two trail camera pictures of this cat as it passed through Wisconsin on its way to the UP."

    Only western states currently collar cougars for research, so the animal may have travelled a long distance to end up in Michigan. It is not yet confirmed, however where the cougar is from.
    More details about this cougar will be released to the public by the DNR as they become available.

    If you came into contact with a cougar would you know what to do?

    The DNR recommends:
    - Stop, stand tall, pick up small children and DO NOT run. A cougar's instinct is to chase.
    - Do not approach the animal.
    - Try to appear larger than the cougar. DO NOT take your eyes off the animal or turn your back. DO NOT crouch down or try to hide.
    - Should wave your arms and throw rocks if the cougar acts aggressively.
    - Fight back aggressively and try to stay on your feet if the cat attacks. DO NOT play dead.
    Reports of cougar tracks and other evidence should be made to a local DNR office or by calling the department's 24-hour Report All Poaching line at 800-292-7800 

    Monday, September 26, 2011

    Vermont is about to make one of the most short sighted and truly awful decisions in permitting twenty one 40-story windmills to be built on the LOWELL RIDGE in the States Northeast Kingdom............A true wildlife haven and a critical wildlands link to Maine in the North and the Green Mountains and Taconics(Vermont and Massachusetts) to the South............We are going from destructive fossil fuels to destroying the last remaining wild mountains, deserts and praries in the name of "green energy"...............How is it green when as former Vermont Fish and Wildlife Commissioner Steve Wright saids: These 40-story high ridgeline windmills require massive construction equipment to be transported on newly cut roads in some of the most sensitive mountain regions in the United States. In order to stabilize the wind turbines on the headwater ridges, the mountaintops are blown off and the intricate water system that feeds pristine streams, waterfalls, ravines and lowland meadows are redirected picking up silt, mud and debris as the runoff makes its way into the farms and small towns of this ancient countryside......

    Vermont Black Bears in Danger of Losing Winter Food on Lowell Mountain

    By the summer of 2012 Vermont's Northeast Kingdom will have 21 460-foot high wind turbines visible along more than three miles of the Lowell Ridge as part of Green Mountain Power's Kingdom Community Wind project.

    In early February, the Vermont Agency of Natural Resources told Green Mountain Power the project was a "go" despite the fact that 1) the Agency of Natural Resources scientists had said there was no way to offset the ill effects of the wind project; 2) the official directives had not been issued by the Vermont Public Service Board and; 3) there were no public hearings.

    The tacit, premature approval of the Agency came after heavy lobbying by Green Mountain Power and pressure from Gov. Peter Shumlin — a longtime supporter of putting wind power on Vermont's ridgelines.

    In order for Green Mountain Power to qualify for $40 million in federal tax credits, the turbines must be up and running by the end of 2012. "The governor is free to make deals," said Steve Wright, Craftsbury resident and former fish and wildlife commissioner under Governor Madeline Kunin. "But his appointees also have an oath to protect the natural resources of the state and represent the citizens of the state."

    These 40-story high ridgeline windmills require massive construction equipment to be transported on newly cut roads in some of the most sensitive mountain regions in the United States. In order to stabilize the wind turbines on the headwater ridges, the mountaintops are blown off and the intricate water system that feeds pristine streams, waterfalls, ravines and lowland meadows are redirected picking up silt, mud and debris as the runoff makes its way into the farms and small towns of this ancient countryside.
    The Vermont Public Service Board awarded a "Certificate of Public Good" to Green Mountain Power which enables the project to go forward. The Vermont Supreme Court could proclaim this Certificate was issued in error. Small groups of environmentalists are raising money to bring this before the Court.

    We humbly ask Vermont's U.S. Senators to help avert the environmental disaster that is about to occur on this precious piece of land.

    For Further Information Contact:
    Save Lowell Mountain
    P.O. Box 81
    Craftsbury Common, VT 05827

    Texas or Florida Cougars beginning to prospect a home in Louisiana?

    'Extinct' cougar surfaces again in Louisiana

    Don't look now, but another supposedly extinct cougar has surfaced in Louisiana, this one photographed in rural Vernon Parish and reported by the Associated Press.
    Sightings of so-called cougars, panthers, pumas, catamounts or mountain lions — take your choice — are frequent in Louisiana but usually dismissed by official sources like the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries as figments of people's imagination — if not cases of mistaken identity.

    But a trail camera last month identified a young male cougar in Vernon Parish at a deer bait site, and Maria Davidson, the LDWF's large carnivore manager, confirmed that this was indeed a big cat.

    In all fairness to the LDWF, it seems to investigate plausible reports of panthers, whatever the agency's official stand, just as it did in Vernon."He (the Vernon panther) could easily be within 100 miles from here by now," Davidson said. A cougar can travel 25 miles in a night. LDWF did not give the exact location of the panther because it was on private lands.

    Davidson and the LDWF continue to maintain that the Florida panther is extinct in Louisiana and that the big cats documented have either escaped from a zoo or they are migrants from Texas, which does have a small breeding population of panthers in its western parts.

    Nevertheless, Louisiana people keep seeing cougars and sightings in 2008 were confirmed in Winn, Vernon and Allen parishes and a big cat was unaccountably killed by authorities in Bossier Parish. Another panther was killed in 1965 by Caddo Parish deputies near Keithville.

    What we have — or had — in Louisiana was the Florida panther, a big, elusive buff-colored predator which eats a deer diet and once roamed the Southeast U.S. but is now reduced to under 50 in the Florida Everglades.

    The Cougar Network says it's possible panthers from Texas are gradually moving east to reclaim former territory. This could account for the single cougars that continue to turn up in Louisiana.

    The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has raised the subject of reintroducing Florida panthers into the Southeast, with Louisiana as a possible entry point.

    But local popular opinion might defeat that idea, though there have been no known Florida panther attacks on humans.

    Meanwhile,, a TV station in Jackson, Miss., reports that a "giant black cat" has been on the prowl in Plaquemine Parish since Katrina.Parish deputies and multiple residents have seen the allegedly seven-foot-long creature.Sounds like a project for television's Monster Quest to me.

    Wiley Hilburn Jr. is professor emeritus and the former chair of the journalism department at Louisiana Tech University. Write to him at the Louisiana Tech Department of Journalism, P.O. Box 10258, Ruston, LA, 71272, or e-mail him at

    PREDATOR DEFENSE sending out the "alert" that the alpha male of the Imnaha, Oregon Wolf pack has been targeted for removal by Oregon Dept of Wildlife............What was a 16 member pack recolonizing Oregon is now down to 4 members..............and in jeopardy of being blown up...............If we were watching a movie of how man kills, kills, kills any other creature that is deemed to stand in his way, we would be disgusted by our actions!................STOP, we must if we are to be the "advanced and caring" species that we are told we are every weekend in our respective houses of worship

    From: Predator Defense <>
    Date: Mon, Sep 26, 2011 at 7:44 PM


    Please immediately contact Governor Kitzhaber and the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife NOW!

    Kill orders went out 9/23 on the alpha male and another member of the Imnaha wolf pack.   The pack used to number 16, now it is down to 4 and soon to be a mere two:  the alpha female and this year's pup.  The other wolves were either killed by ODFW or have dispersed from the area.  

    On May 5  wolves lost federal protection under the Endangered Species Act and the state took over wolf 'management'.  By mid May, ODFW had killed two wolves of the Imnaha pack.  Now they are gunning for two more, including the alpha male.  Without the alpha male and the other wolf, the female and pup will perish and the Imnaha pack will be destroyed.

    Livestock owners are loudly decrying loss of cattle and demanding that wolves be killed every time any predation occurs.  They are reimbursed for losses due to wolves.  Decision makers need to hear from taxpayers and voters NOW who support wolves!!!  If we are not vocal and heard, Oregon wolves will not make it.

    Is there any contest here?  endangered species vs cattle?   Especially since cattle losses are reimbursed with your tax dollars!!!

    Please contact authorities immediately and voice your opinion!

    1. Governor John Kitzhaber:, 503-378-3111

    2. Director of ODFW:, (503) 947-6044

    Thank you for your help!  Please forward this alert to friends and family immediately.

    PO Box 5446
    Eugene, OR 97405

    Sunday, September 25, 2011

    When Cougars are intensively hunted, inexperienced juvenile male lions who have not been taught to hunt take risky chances in close to people where they perceive there are "easy" food targets, livestock and pets available for the taking...........Despite this, the Black Hills proposed 2012 hunting season would allow the highest number of lions ever to be killed(60)..............Taking these quantities of cougars out of the population has reduced the Lion count from 250 down to 200,,,,with a level of 150 to 175 as the new target goal by Fish and Parks............Why is this State Agency whacking the Cougars this hard?................Estimates of 30 deer per square mile in the Black Hills of South Dakota................TOO MANY of them indeed,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,habitat destructors they are!............More cougars needed, not less!

    Critic of higher lion kill calls quota into question

    Kevin Woster

    A mountain lion looks down from a tree.

    Juvenile Lions can get into trouble with people

    Mountain lions that come into conflict with people or their livestock and pets are typically younger animals, based on state records and news stories. Lions from 6 months to 2 years old have been killed after they attacked or threatened livestock or pets or showed up casually in yards or on street -- and even in a tree --in residential areas.

    Randomly selected examples show a consistent young age:
    September 2005: GF&P killed a 100-pound, 1-½-year-old male lion that was wandering through a south Rapid City subdivision.
    May 2006: A "young male" was killed after it was found in a tree in a residential area in Mission.
    Oct. 2007: A 1-1/2-year-old female lion was killed by police after it attacked and killed a house cat in a Spearfish residential area.
    January 2008: A rural Fairburn woman shot and killed a 6-month-old lion that was facing off against her collie in her front yard. GF;P said later that the collared lion had been orphaned when its mother was shot by a hunter.
    June 2008: A 10-month-old male lion was killed by GF&P officers after it wandered into Hot Springs and sat down near the sheriff's office.
    July 2009: A 1-year-old female lion was shot by a Wyoming state wildlife officer after it came into a subdivision in Newcastle, Wyo.
    November 2009: A 2-year-old male lion was killed by the GF& after it was found sitting in a tree in a front yard near Storybook Island in Rapid City.
    September 2010: A 1-year-old male lion was killed by the GF&;P after it was found sitting on the sidewalk by the old terminal building at Rapid City Regional Airport.
    The recent mountain lion attack on a family pet near Cheyenne Crossing is an example of what can go wrong when a population of mountain lions is intensely hunted, a critic of the Black Hills lion season said. Dr. Sharon Seneczko, a Custer veterinarian and founder of the Black Hills Mountain Lion Foundation, said that in the attack, two underweight, 1-year-old lions were exhibiting behavior consistent with a population where many older lions have been killed, leaving more young and potentially troublesome lions.

    The two lions involved in attacking a sheltie at a residence south of Cheyenne Crossing, near Lead, could have been orphaned by a lion hunter and never properly learned how to hunt, Seneczko said. Or they could be part of an overall reduction in the age structure of lions in the Black Hills, as more adult lions are killed during the hunting season, she said. Either way, the season is bringing disorder to the lion population and more conflict, rather than less, with humans, she said.

    "The lion population is in decline, and there is still a lot of conflict," Seneczko said. "One of the justifications for the season was to reduce the population, reduce conflict. We are creating more conflict. We are changing the age and sex structure of the population and orphaning more animals. There's more chaos out there."

    John Kanta, regional game manager in Rapid City for the state Game, Fish & Parks Department, questioned the idea that there is more chaos in the lion population and more conflicts with humans. But he also said Seneczko is likely right about the season lowering the average age of lions, which can be a factor in conflicts. As the GF&P Commission increased the annual kill quota in lion seasons and more cats were killed, the average age of the population has declined, Kanta said. "I do agree that as you harvest more lions you lower that average age, and that certainly could result in situations that at least leave the appearance of more conflict," Kanta said. "But to say that these two particular lions were the result of a female harvested in the last season is, I think, unlikely."

    The two lions involved in the sheltie incident were about a year old. One was a female that weighed 52 pounds, the other a 62-pound male. They likely were litter mates, and were "a little underweight," indicating they hadn't yet become adept at killing deer and other natural prey.

    But it is unlikely that the cats, which would have been 4 or 5 months old during the season in January and February, were orphaned then and survived to this stage, Kanta said. The adult female could have been lost after the season to natural causes, including disease, an accident or being killed by another lion, he said.

    Lion kittens in the Black Hills typically stay with their mothers until they are anywhere from 10 to 18 months old, learning the ways of the wild and how to hunt and kill prey. When left on their own too early, they can have trouble killing wild game and can turn to easier prey, such as pets and livestock. Even young lions that strike off on their own on schedule can get in trouble as they search for their own territory and refine hunting and stealing skills. The more young lions there are out there searching for their own territory or getting desperate for food, the more chance there is of conflicts, Seneczko said.

    "They get thin and weak and hungry and they don't know what to do," she said. "They didn't learn properly." In addition, when younger, more inexperienced lions fill the territory left when an established adult lion is killed, the chances of conflict are increased, Seneczko said. "You have more young males replacing stable resident lions that weren't causing problems," she said. "Then there's more chaos."

    Kanta said it is easy to make assumptions about lion behavior but harder to prove exactly why certain animals act as they do."Who knows exactly what happened with these two lions?" he said."Certainly, they were out there on their own and not in the best shape, which could have contributed to this."
    At the recommendation of the biological staff, the GF&P Commission has proposed a 2012 lion season with the highest kill quota in the season's short history. The quota would allow 60 lions to be killed overall, or 40 females, whichever limit is reached first.

    Last year, hunters killed 49 lions, a level that Seneczko considered excessive. She is even more worried about the higher quota proposed this year. And she intends to argue against it during a public hearing on the issue before the commission at 2 p.m. Oct. 6, at the Outdoor Campus West in Rapid City."I think I would have kept my mouth shut this year if they had held the line on the quota," she said. "But every year, they do something so incredibly over the top that I have to say something."
    GF&;P has been increasing the lion quota in an effort to reduce the overall population, which also has dozens of animals killed each year by other causes. Biologists believe the population has dropped from about 250 to around 200 over the past couple of years.

    The 60-lion quota is intended to cut the population even further, possibly to a level of 150 to 175, when GF&;P staffers would then reassess the season.

    "What we can determine now is that the population is decreasing. It looks like we're on track to do what we set out to do," Kanta said. "Once we get there, we'll take a step back and evaluate."


    Many biologists estimate about 30 per square mile

    There ’s still a bunch of deer out there.In them there hills, I mean.I know, I know, the lions are whacking them pretty good. That’s what lions do.But I made a note yesterday to watch for deer during a drive from Rapid to Castle Creek below Deerfield, back down through Mystic, over to 385 and back to down on 44.

    Lots of deer. Virtually every meadow had from half a dozen to forty or fifty.Are there as many as there were thee or four years ago? Maybe not. Are there still quite a few? Absolutely, if that one drive is any indication at all.

    I couldn’t help but wonder what a typical visitor to the Black Hills would have thougtht riding along with me. I’m pretty sure he or she would have said: “Wow, there’s a lot of deer around here.”

    One drive doesn’t make a conclusion. Or at least, it shouldn’t. Neither should one hunt, or one season in the woods. But this was a drive that covers an interesting mix of high grassland, relatively isolated forest, rural housing developments, lonesome gravel roads and pretty busy asphalt highways.

    Deer everywhere. Just how many do we really need?

    "Each species is a masterpiece, a creation assembled with extreme care and genius"--this profound quote from esteemed Harvard biologist, Edward O. Wilson.......he comments below on the magnificence of diversity in the natural world

    Saving animals benefits everyone

    "Each species is a masterpiece, a creation assembled with extreme care and genius."

    Edward O. Wilson; Harvard biologist

    You may never see a black-footed ferret. Or a Mexican gray wolf. Or a California condor.
    But they are here because of state and national policies that value species diversity. Their existence is a credit to men and women who care.

    Some of those people are scientists. The team that works with the endangered black-footed ferret breeding center at the Phoenix Zoo is a good example.In the past 20 years, 399 ferrets were produced at the center. They contribute to a reintroduction effort that includes a ferret colony in Arizona's Aubrey Valley near Kingman, where ferrets are now reproducing in the wild.

    In the 1980s, there were only 18 black-footed ferrets in the world, none in Arizona.
    Wildlife biologists at the Arizona Game and Fish Department and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service are also among those giving endangered animals a second chance.

    And then there are the average Arizonans - urban and rural - who support those efforts because they understand the importance of biodiversity. Or maybe they just like knowing that somewhere in our rapidly urbanizing state, a wolf is howling at the night sky.

    The efforts of all of these people matter for reasons that may not be immediately apparent.
    For example, restoring predators to an ecosystem can improve habitat.

    After wolves were reintroduced to Yellowstone National Park, the elk population was reduced, and the remaining elk moved around more and spent less time eating young aspen trees. This helped aspen trees make their own recovery, which helped other creatures that rely on aspens trees for food or shelter. This cascade of benefits strengthened the entire ecosystem.

    In Arizona, the reintroduction of the endangered Mexican gray wolf continues to face vehement opposition from some ranchers. Wildlife biologists have responded to ranchers' demands in ways that kept the wolf population far too small.

    Nevertheless, the wolves are contributing to our state in unexpected ways. The White Mountain Apache Tribe made the lobos the centerpiece of eco-tours that also teach about the tribe's culture.

    Meanwhile, up at the Grand Canyon, efforts to reestablish a population of California condors continue. Three chicks hatched in the wild during this summer's breeding season boosted the total number of condors on the planet to 396. In the 1980s, there were only 22. Arizona and Utah have a population of 67 condors out of the 196 condors now in the wild.

    Look into the face of a child who sees one of those enormous birds soar over the Grand Canyon, and you'll understand what people mean when they talk about the intrinsic value of wildlife. These birds have a magnificence that is worth preserving for its own sake.

    Many plant and animal species in Arizona are threatened by extinction because of habitat destruction, disease, non-native species and climate change.These precious native plants and animals have the hope of survival because of the continued support of people who appreciate the masterpiece each one represents