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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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Saturday, June 30, 2012

Thumbs up for the Oregon Wolf population which despite best rancher attempts, appears to be "spreading their seed and multiplying through the eastern sector of the state

Female wolf captured on trail camera indicates wolves occupying new eastern Oregon territory

lactatingwolf.jpgThis image of a lactating female wolf in the Eagle Cap Wilderness was captured by a remote camera on June 4.
Oregon may have more gray wolves  than anyone guessed -- and more are coming. A trail camera has photographed a lactating female wolf in the Eagle Cap Wilderness straddling Wallowa, Baker and Union counties.  The image was captured June 4 on a camera placed by a research biologist as part of another wildlife research project, said Michelle Dennehy, spokeswoman for the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife.

The wolf wasn't in an area of the rugged, 560-square-mile wilderness where wildlife officials had tracked previous wolf activity, she said. The photo shows that reproduction occurred, but the current location and number of wolves and pups is unknown, Dennehy said.

Biologists believe Oregon has 28 adult gray wolves in the Imnaha, Wenaha, Walla Walla and Snake River packs, including two adults in the Mount Emily Game Management Unit between Pendleton and La Grande, all in eastern Oregon. In addition, the Wenaha and Imnaha packs recently produced four pups each, and the pair of wolves in the Mt. Emily Unit may have produced pups as well, she said.

Always interesting to get the perspective of Forestry and Wildlife Officials on the prognosis regarding the animal and fish populations that are impacted by the wildfires that rage through our western states each Summer..............Regarding he HIGH PARK FIRE in Colorado,,,,,,,.biologists expect some fatalities, particularly for smaller mammals that cannot run as fast and birds that are still in the nest, but do not know the extent of the deaths associated with the still-burning wildfire.....In the long run, however, these animals will benefit from the effects of the fire on their habitat.............. For fish, it is another story...........The long- and short-term effects of a wildfire pollute waterways, clog gills, reduce habitat and essentially kill fish.... For deer, elk, moose and other big game, the trees will grow back less dense, providing more tasty grasses and forbes, which makes it a healthier habitat...... And for bears, the regenerated bushes will produce more berries, chokecherries, acorns and other morsels

Wildlife officials assess impact of High Park fire on animals

Long-term benefits anticipated for mammals, but fish will suffer from water pollution
By Pamela Dickman

A burned area along Colorado 14 in the Poudre Canyon on June 20 where the High Park fire stormed through recently. Despite some fatalities, in the long run the wildlife will actually benefit from the effects of the fire. ( Steve Stoner )

FORT COLLINS -- The High Park fire has displaced thousands of residents and destroyed the homes of 257 families.But amid the 87,250 acres charred in the Poudre, Rist, Redstone and Buckhorn Canyons, is the habitat homes of deer, elk, birds, squirrels, rabbits, bear and other wildlife.
Colorado Parks and Wildlife biologists expect some fatalities, particularly for smaller mammals that cannot run as fast and birds that are still in the nest, but do not know the extent of the deaths associated with the still-burning wildfire.

In the long run, however, these animals will benefit from the effects of the fire on their habitat. For fish, it is another story.The long- and short-term effects of a wildfire pollute waterways, clog gills, reduce habitat and essentially kill fish.Immediately, slurry pollutes fish habitat because of the amount used, said Randy Hampton, spokesman for Colorado Parks and Wildlife.
"Iced tea is perfectly safe, but if I drop 40,000 gallons of it in the creek, it's going to kill fish," he said.

Firefighting officials do their best to avoid dropping it in areas that can affect streams, but some of the red retardant does make it into the fish habitat, said Ken Kehmeier, senior aquatic biologist with Parks and Wildlife.

Bison adjacent to forest fire

The long-term effects on fish habitat will be much greater and last for many years. The flames burn away grasses, trees and vegetation that would normally stop debris from washing into waterways and leave behind soot and ash that rain will carry into the Poudre River, the Little South Fork of the Poudre and Buckhorn Creek.

Meanwhile, the earlier Hewlett Gulch wildfire will affect the North Fork of the Poudre.The silt and debris will fill up some areas of prime habitat, harm spawning gravels and even shallow the deep pools in which fish survive over the winter, Kehmeier said. Experts will work to reduce erosion with vegetation, sediment retainer pools and other measures, but the fish populations of the river and streams will suffer and could take many years of stocking and habitat rehabilitation to reach pre-fire levels.

The 2002 Hayman fire -- the largest in Colorado history, though the High Park fire is creeping up on acres and cost and has surpassed Hayman in homes lost -- resulted in enough sediment and ash in the South Platte River to kill 70 percent of the fish population, according to Kehmeier. In the intervening decade, wildlife and water experts have worked together to stock fish, regulate water flows to benefit habitat and repair the fire damage. "We're just starting to see some re-population of fish," Kehmeier said.

Even though the High Park fire is still burning, Burn Area Emergency Response teams have begun looking at the landscape and situation and ways to prevent much of the ash from swirling into waterways with the first rains.The sooner the work starts after the fire, the better the result for the fish, Kehmeier said.

For now, the fire is still actively burning in many areas and thousands of residents remain evacuated from their homes in the Poudre, Redstone, Rist and Buckhorn Canyons. Those flames destroying homes, devastating lives and torching dry grasses and trees, will in coming years benefit the habitat homes for wildlife.

For deer, elk, moose and other big game, the trees will grow back less dense, providing more tasty grasses and forbes, which makes it a healthier habitat. And for bears, the regenerated bushes will produce more berries, chokecherries, acorns and other morsels."Younger plants are healthier and produce more forage," Hampton said.

The Federal Wildlife Services Dept. that has been killing and removing Bears, Wolves, Coyotes, Pumas, Bobcats and every type of winged and 4-footed carnivore from our fields and forests for the past 50 years has a budget of $126 million annually...............The Society of Mammalogists met with Officials from Wildlife Services last week to ask questions about the continued need to kill wildlife for ranchers and farmers(welfare handouts at their worst!)........As our friend Carter Niemeyer who previously worked for Wildlife Services stated: :"Aerial gunning(of coyotes,wolves, etc) has always been excessive".... "Simply killing coyotes because they are out there and they might kill a sheep – that's not justification for a government program".......... "I came here expecting to hear some revelations" ........."I didn't really learn anything new............ "The answers were shallow"..... "I expected more"...... "The public deserves more."

Wildlife Services meets with its critics

 Tom Knudson;

RENO – Outside the meeting room, gamblers rolled dice and slid quarters into slot machines. Inside, scientists peppered government officials with questions about a controversial, little-known federal wildlife damage control program, hoping to learn something new.
Like most gamblers, they didn't have much luck.

"It was frustrating because we knew we were going to get a lot of non-answers," said Bradley Bergstrom, professor of wildlife biology at Georgia's Valdosta State University, who organized the meeting. "It's almost exactly what I expected." The session brought two adversaries together for the first time in living memory: a U.S. Department of Agriculture agency called Wildlife Services, which has long specialized in killing animals considered a threat to farmers, ranchers and the public; and the American Society of Mammalogists, a 93-year-old scientific society that has criticized lethal federal predator control since the 1920s.

Wolf killed by aerial gunner-Wildlife Services at work

"Predator removal is a federal subsidy going to a very select segment of society," Bergstrom said, opening the meeting. "Overall, we feel it is often unnecessary."  Martin Mendoza, associate deputy administrator of Wildlife Services, defended the agency, saying: "Our philosophy for the last 40 or 50 years has been that we try to resolve individual problems caused by individuals animals."

The meeting took place amid growing scrutiny of Wildlife Services, which employs 1,694 people and in 2010 reported a budget of $126 million. The money comes from a range of sources, such as federal taxpayers, state agencies, airports, county governments and private "co-operators," including farmers and ranchers.

In March, two congressmen, John Campbell, R-Irvine, and Peter DeFazio, D-Ore., introduced a bill that would ban the agency's use of spring-loaded sodium cyanide devices – known as M-44s – which have accidentally killed more than 3,400 non-target animals since 2006, including 250 dogs.  Earlier this month, they – along with two other lawmakers – wrote a letter requesting a congressional investigation of Wildlife Services, citing a series of stories in The Bee this spring that found agency practices are often indiscriminate, inhumane, expensive and carried out with little or no public input.

The genesis for Monday's meeting at the Peppermill Resort Spa and Casino was a heated exchange of letters earlier this year between society leaders and Wildlife Services deputy administrator William Clay.  In the audience were about two dozen people, including a mountain lion biologist from California, a former Wildlife Services district manager from Idaho and a handful of environmentalists who have battled the agency for years.

"With their (Wildlife Services') reputation for being so secretive, I was astonished this was taking place at all," said Trish Swain, coordinator of TrailSafe Nevada, a grass-roots group pushing for a ban on traps and snares. "I was thrilled." After opening remarks, members of the society's conservation committee posed questions to Wildlife Services managers who sat together at the end of a table.

animals killed annually by Wildlife Services Agency

The first question: Does Wildlife Services know how much it spends per animal, to kill coyotes, wolves and other carnivores?
"We do not track the information," Mendoza said.

Ana Davidson, a Ph.D. student from New Mexico, asked about the agency's funding. "Who are the co-operators?" she said. "What are they contributing?" Mendoza said he could not provide specifics. "A lot of that information … you are asking for is protected by the Freedom of Information and Privacy acts," he said.

In written responses to questions from the society before the meeting, agency officials said their employees "provided predator control … on approximately 10,545 ranches in the 17 Western states in fiscal year 2011."

Adam Ferguson, a Ph.D. student from Texas, pressed further, asking for more detailed breakdown of the agency's funding sources and finances.  "That data has to be there," Ferguson said. "Couldn't that data just be made available in raw format to the public and let the public do the … analysis?"

The answer was not encouraging. "Just to give tons of raw data to people would not be smart," said Jeff Green, Western regional director for Wildlife Services in Colorado. "Torture numbers long enough and they are going to confess to anything."

Despite such replies, Bergstrom remained upbeat. "This was our first face-to-face encounter," he said. "I hope they realize now that we're serious and we're not going to quit asking questions just because they refuse to answer them."

Questions from the audience were sharp, too, including one from a private trapper critical of the agency's practice of aerial gunning in which large numbers of coyotes are killed every year whether they have harmed livestock or not. Green defended the practice.
"When you fly over an allotment of sheep and you see four, five, six coyotes, you take all of them because you just don't know which ones have done the killing," he said. "And in all likelihood, coyotes will kill eventually."

Carter Niemeyer, a former Wildlife Services district manager from Idaho, sat in the audience, taking notes.  Aerial gunning "has always been excessive," said Niemeyer, author of "Wolfer," a 2010 book critical of agency practices. "Simply killing coyotes because they are out there and they might kill a sheep – that's not justification for a government program. "I came here expecting to hear some revelations," he added. "I didn't really learn anything new. The answers were shallow. I expected more. The public deserves more."

Bergstrom said something promising did emerge after the meeting – an invitation from Mendoza, the agency deputy administrator, to society officials to attend a Wildlife Services scientific advisory meeting later this year. "We intend to participate," Bergstrom said. "That is certainly a positive result."

Friday, June 29, 2012

Albino and leucistic animals and birds lack melanin, the primary pigment that determines the color of the skin, fur, eyes and feathers of an animal or bird......Without melanin in the body, skin and eyes appear a reddish-pink as blood vessels are visible, and fur and feathers are white. Leucistic animals, which have a partial absence of melanin, will have normal skin and eye coloration, and may or may not have fully-white feathers or fur......Beyond coloration, melanin is instrumental in the development of certain parts of the eyes, including the irises, retinas, eye muscles, and optic nerves. As a result, albino animals sometimes have vision problems, which in the wild can spell disaster......Not all the facts are known as to how albino animals fare versus non albinos as it relates to mating success, intraspecies aggression and vulnerability to predation........NORTHERN WOODLANDS MAGAZINE(my single favorite outdoors magazine published in the USA). editor Meghan Oliver pens a fascinating article on this subject

Ghosts in the Woods

It occurred to me recently, after spotting a white-feathered American robin scampering along a dirt road, normal-colored robins alongside him, that in all my years of observing wildlife and working with wild birds as a rehabilitator, I’ve never seen any albino animals. Ever. Except in photos.
The robin I saw was far enough away that I couldn’t tell if it was albino (completely white), or leucistic (part white with some normal coloration). What I could tell, though, was that this robin was part of a flock, foraging for food on the ground, flying up into the trees as I drew closer. The bird’s life seemed relatively normal, even while its coloration was anything but.

Albino and leucistic animals lack melanin, the primary pigment that determines the color of the skin, fur, eyes, and feathers. Without melanin in the body, skin and eyes appear a reddish-pink as blood vessels are visible, and fur and feathers are white. Leucistic animals, which have a partial absence of melanin, will have normal skin and eye coloration, and may or may not have fully-white feathers or fur.

Beyond coloration, melanin is instrumental in the development of certain parts of the eyes, including the irises, retinas, eye muscles, and optic nerves. As a result, albino animals sometimes have vision problems, which in the wild can spell disaster.

From one biologists’ perspective, it’s hard to say for sure what life in the wild is like for albinos and leucistics. “There’s just not a lot of research on this,” said Kurt Rinehart, a doctoral candidate at the University of Vermont, and co-author of the book Behavior of North American Mammals. “In order to understand survivability for any population, you need lots and lots of animals.”

Steve Faccio, biologist at the Vermont Center for Ecostudies, said that of all the reported sightings of albinos that come in, about 90 percent of those are actually leucistic. According to data from Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology’s Project Feeder Watch – in which participants record what they’re seeing at their feeders – fewer than 1,000 leucistic birds were seen among the 5.5 million birds reported between 2000 and 2006, giving an idea to how small the leucistic population is.

an albino moose

A quick Google image search, however, might have you thinking otherwise. Type in “albino and leucistic animals,” and thousands of photos of white penguins, deer, snakes, and hummingbirds pop up on the screen. In some photos, a white mammal will be alongside normal-colored offspring.
“It’s definitely a heritable trait,” Rinehart said of albinism, but the traits necessary to create albino and leucistic offspring are “very recessive; it requires a very particular combination of genetic material to manifest.” Offspring would have a greater likelihood of being albino if born of two albino parents, Rinehart said, but the chances of two albinos existing in one wild population (let alone mating with each other) are incredibly rare.

The question of whether an off-colored exterior effects mate selection probably differs from species to species. For many mammals, Rinehart explained, much of how they interact with their peers and choose their mates has to do with smell, so in some instances, color may be of little concern.
“I’ve seen moose trying to mate with statues or anything that even remotely appears like a quadruped, so I don’t think color would dissuade them in the rut,” Rinehart said.

Birds, on the other hand, do pay attention to color. In a study on barn swallows, researchers noticed that the flocking birds would “gang up” on a leucistic swallow, Faccio said. “There was a lot of interspecies aggression among leucistic birds.” As for finding a mate, “leucistic and albino males might not have as good a chance as attracting a mate. Color is important in male birds.”

Fish may feel the effects of color, too. Rinehart said that at hatcheries, where thousands of fish are captive and therefore easily monitored, there are relatively large numbers of albinos and leucistics. In a study on the reproduction of guppies, albino mothers had smaller offspring than non-albinos, Rinehart said. Larger offspring tend to have higher survival rates, suggesting that “albinism may be linked to another aspect of biology – low size – that leads to low survival.” Rinehart said he would not be surprised if albinism compromises survival in other ways, too, in other animals.

an albino coyote

Faccio said there is differing evidence on survival rates from predators. “Some studies have shown albino animals are left alone by predators because they’re not recognized as prey, while some show they are more easily found, captured, and killed.” (I’d venture to guess an albino mourning dove might be easier prey for a cooper’s hawk.)

The unlikely appearance of that white American robin has shed a dim light on a hazy situation. The truth is, when it comes to understanding albino and leucistic animals, the facts are not (yet) black and white.

Meghan Oliver is assistant editor at Northern Woodlands magazine.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Seems that kudos are in line for the Florida Fish & Wildlife folks as they have put in place a Black Bear Management plan that does not include hunting the estimated 3000 bruins in the State.................Key provisions include: 1)Maintaining wildlife habitats and corridors on public and private lands that accommodate bears' large home ranges of up to 60,000 acres and allow bears to roam safely.....2)Reducing human-bear conflicts, through use of bear-proof cans for garbage and proper storage of birdseed and pet food, which can be irresistibly mouthwatering treats for bears............As our friend Carmel Severson saids, now that the Black Bears are being taken care of properly, it is time to take the next good step involving expanding the population of Florida Pumas...........More critical habitat necessary for our Ghost Cats!

From: Stakeholders [mailto:STAKEHOLDERSNR-L@LISTSERV.MYFWC.COM] On Behalf Of FWCNews
Sent: Wednesday, June 27, 2012 5:19 PM
Subject: FWC approves black bear plan to conserve Florida's largest land mammal

For immediate release: June 27, 2012
Contact: Diane Hirth, 850-251-2130

Photos available on FWC's Flickr site: Go to

FWC approves black bear plan to conserve Florida's largest land mammal

A plan for long-term conservation of the Florida black bear, whose population is estimated at more than 3,000 today, compared with as few as 300 in the 1970s, was approved today by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC).
Florida Black Bear

"The Florida bear population is thriving. That is the success story, but we still have a lot of education to do," FWC Commission Chairman Kathy Barco said. "Everyone loves bears, but not everyone wants them in their backyard. When people call to say, 'Relocate this bear,' we need to say to that neighborhood at some point you've got to live with it – take care of your garbage, dog food and bird feeders."
The Florida Black Bear Management Plan, available online at, encourages public input into bear management decisions at the local level. When implemented, the plan will help the FWC find solutions that best fit the challenges facing both people and bears in different parts of the state. Bear populations in some areas are thriving, while populations in other places still are recovering.
"If we all work together to promote these protections, we can expand upon this great day today," said FWC Commissioner Ron Bergeron.
Challenges addressed by the Black Bear Management Plan include:
§  Maintaining wildlife habitats and corridors on public and private lands that accommodate bears' large home ranges of up to 60,000 acres and allow bears to roam safely.
§  Reducing human-bear conflicts, through use of bear-proof cans for garbage and proper storage of birdseed and pet food, which can be irresistibly mouthwatering treats for bears.
§  Educating Floridians and visitors about black bear behavior and conservation, and how to remain safe if a bear comes into your yard or if you encounter a bear. To find out more, go to
Seven bear management units (BMUs) will be created, with each unit containing a geographically distinct bear subpopulation and a local advisory group of stakeholders interested in issues such as creating "Bear Smart" communities.
The state's largest land mammal is a subspecies of the American black bear and had been listed as a state-threatened species since 1974. Successful conservation of the Florida black bear was confirmed by the FWC's 2011 Biological Status Review, which reported the bear to be no longer at high risk of extinction. 
Florida Black Bear

While Commissioners today passed a rule to remove the black bear from the list of state-threatened species, they also adopted a separate, new rule stating it is still illegal to injure or kill a bear in this state, or to possess or sell bear parts.
The public and stakeholder groups participated extensively in developing Florida's bear management plan:
§  A diversity of stakeholders provided input into the original draft bear management plan released on Nov. 10, 2011.
§  More than 550 public comments were received on the draft plan and revised draft plan, with a majority of suggestions used by the FWC to improve the plan. Additionally, more than 5,400 email form letters were received from Floridians.
§  Two rounds of public comment were made available: from Nov. 10, 2011, through Jan.10, 2012, on the draft plan, during which time four public workshops also were held, and from April 13 until June 1, 2012, on the revised draft plan.
The Florida black bear is among the 62 wildlife species that soon will join the list of species, like the bald eagle, already under an FWC management plan. Florida's new threatened species conservation model requires that management plans be created for all species that have been state-listed and that plans be updated at specified intervals.
Those management plans give citizens an active role in Florida's efforts to conserve its diverse wildlife for future generations.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

We have reported on the Coyote bounty program that Nova Scotia has had in place since the unfortunate killing of the young folk singer(Taylor Mitchell) a couple of years back.........The Nova Scotia Dept. of Ntl. Resources feels that the bounties give trappers additional incentive to kill additional Coyotes, making life safer for the human population.............Dr. Simon Gadbois, a professor at Dalhousie University who specializes in the study of canids and animal behaviour, said in an interview that there is no evidence to support the claims made by DNR..........Gadbois explained that in order to teach coyotes to fear humans you have to help the animals make the connection between a negative experience and the human factor that caused it. "You have to be so clear to the coyotes that whatever you do is really directly associated with humans and trapping does almost everything the other way. You have to reduce the association of any kind of stimuli associated with humans, sounds, sights or scents for trapping to work, otherwise the coyotes will avoid the traps, so the logic there is flawed in my opinion. I've never seen the connection here".........As Massachusetts Coyote biologist Jon Way has said(and I paraphrase),,,,,,,"How does a dead coyote learn not to mess with humans"?..........."You need a hazing program with live Coyotes to change their behavior"!...........Nova Scotia is ass-backward" with their management paradigm as currently implemented!


The Nova Scotia Department of Natural Resources (DNR) said in a news release on June 22nd that its pelt-incentive program, whose goal is to encourage coyote trapping, is making Nova Scotians safer. Experts who study canids, which include wolves and coyotes, say that there is no scientific evidence to support such a claim.

"Trappers must check their traps every day, and their presence in the woods and the traps they set, send a regular message to the coyote population that humans should be avoided," said MikeBoudreau, the province's wildlife conflict biologist, in the news release.Boudreau explained in an interview that the pelt incentive program aims to "increase trapper activity which would then increase the potential for negative association for people and trappers."

Eastern Coyote in Nova Scotia

Dr. Simon Gadbois, a professor at Dalhousie University who specializes in the study of canids and animal behaviour, said in an interview that there is no evidence to support the claims made by DNR. "The only people that may have said something to that affect would be Timm and Baker, papers that by the way DNR keeps throwing at people when people ask for where their scientific studies come from. The problem with the Timm and Baker papers, first of all is that one of them is a non peer-reviewed article and the other one is an opinion, it's not actually based on data," said Gadbois. "Other than that, no, there's nobody that actually agrees with this idea that trapping or bounties work," he added.

Gadbois explained that in order to teach coyotes to fear humans you have to help the animals make the connection between a negative experience and the human factor that caused it. "You have to be so clear to the coyotes that whatever you do is really directly associated with humans and trapping does almost everything the other way. You have to reduce the association of any kind of stimuli associated with humans, sounds, sights or scents for trapping to work, otherwise the coyotes will avoid the traps, so the logic there is flawed in my opinion. I've never seen the connection here," said Gadbois.

"There's been some work done in the states and I'll have to get back to you, the name's not on the tip of my tongue at the moment, but there is some suggestion that this type of trapping has an effect on the behaviour with the remaining [coyotes]," said Boudreau when asked if there is any scientific evidence to support the DNR's position. "Scientifically proven, I don't know if that's been done yet, but there's certainly anecdotal [evidence] that suggests that," he went on to clarify. "We call this in the trade a cultural transmission, I learn something and I pass it on to you, or you see me get trapped and you avoid traps, there's just absolutely no evidence at all in coyotes or in terms of avoiding traps in any animals I know. I just see this as a ploy to get people to go out and trap animals," says Marc Bekoff, a board member of Project Coyote who has studied coyotes for 40 years and is a professor emeritus at the University of Colorado.

Eastern Coyote in Nova Scotia

The pelt-incentive program has paid out $20 a piece for 3,340 pelts this year according to the DNR release. It also states that its goal is not to reduce the overall population of coyote's in Cape Breton. The initiative is the provincial response to a number of coyote attacks that have occurred over the past few years in Cape Breton.
It is part of a four part plan that includes provisions for education among the communities of Cape Breton targeting youth as well as training trappers to respond to specific cases of aggressive behaviour and the hiring of a wildlife conflict biologist.
The learning resources compiled by the Department of Natural resources on coyotes can be found on their website at and

More information about the work of Dr. Simon Gadbois can be found at Information about Marc Bekoff can be found at information about coyotes can be found at

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Coyotes are not after you...........but they are after dogs(competitors) and cats(foodstuff) when they live in natural areas adjacent to housing developments.........Especially during early Summer with a gaggle of pups to feed, Coyotes become particularly territorial as it relates to dogs and will take a small dog right off of your leash.......Family units(alpha male, female and year old family members can and have attacked bigger dogs as well under certain situations..........As our friends at PROJECT COYOTE reiterate again and again, NEVER FEED COYOTES!!!!!!!!!!---THE USUAL CAUSE OF THEM BECOMING HABITUATED TO HUMANS AND GETTING INTO TROUBLE WITH PETS AND YOUNGSTERS,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,and haze, haze, haze Coyotes when you see them............You do not want them thinking that you are not a threat to them............I also jog with a wiffle ball bat as another weapon in keeping Coyotes on their guard against us humans..........A scared Coyote is one that will live out its years..........A habituated Coyote is likely to be trapped and shot by Animal Control--Keep our Coyotes and pets alive by following the rules below

Keep Your Pets Safe From Coyotes
Coyotes are making their way into more urban areas - Animal Samaritans offers tips to keep your pets safe. staff

Summer is officially here, and summer heat and dryness means less food and water for our desert's predatory animals. Not surprisingly, we often see more coyotes in our parks, neighborhoods, backyards, and golf courses this time of year.

It's not that coyotes crave schnauzers and calicos; it's that they're hungry and resourceful and pets are a plentiful food source. What's worse, by giving our dogs and cats a safe, stress-free life, we have somewhat desensitized them to being natural prey. In short, our pets are less attuned than non-domesticated animals to the dangers lurking in the bushes.

What's their best line of defense against coyotes? Us. By following a few precautionary tips from Animal Samaritans this summer, we can almost guarantee our pets will be safe from coyotes:

1. Never feed a coyote. It's better to keep coyotes scared and away from you than to befriend them. Feeding coyotes won't keep them from stalking your pets; on the contrary, it can give coyotes the bravado to boldly go where they haven't gone before--like into your backyard or through the doggy door.
2. Don't leave pet food in the yard. If coyotes smell and discover your pets' food bowls, they'll help themselves and be back for more. Instead, feed your dogs and cats inside. Also, keep fallen fruit (like tangerines and grapefruit) off the ground and out of the yard, as it can also attract resourceful predators. Finally, keep a tight lid on your trash cans, and never leave trash bags accessible to four-legged scavengers.
3. Keep your pets indoors from dusk to dawn. If your pets need to go outside for exercise and potty breaks in the evenings, keep them on a leash. Cat owners, if your kitty won't wear a harness, (and most cat owners haven't leash trained their cats) keep her close by. Coyotes are much faster than we are, even while running with prey in their mouths.
4. Enclose your back yard with a wall or fence. Make it at least six feet high, and because coyotes instinctively dig, install a vinyl lattice or chicken wire 2 to 3 feet underground. This should stop a determined coyote from tunneling in.
5. If you walk your pets at night, keep them on a leash. This is especially important if you walk them along golf courses and desert chaparral.
6. Finally, to help guard your smaller pets adopt a large dog from a local animal shelter, like a German shepherd, Rottweiler, or mastiff. Okay, so this might be a blatant plea to adopt from a local animal shelter--but the big ones will protect the little ones!

Monday, June 25, 2012

RESTORE'S Michael Kellett shared this article with me describing how the Manomet Center for Conservation Science has assigned a $$ value to ecosystem services that each sector of Maine provides...............Outside of tourism, hunting licenses and other man created industries that nature allows for, it is estimated that $14 billion dollars of clean air and water originates with Maines natural areas annually...............Other contributors of that $14 Billion come from scenic beauty, flood control capacity, sequestration of poisonous gases, wildlife habitat and pollination..............Our relatively short 100 year life spans seems to make it extremely difficult for most folks to come to grips with the fact that a successfull, productive and healthy society is 100% dependent on optimum natural systems..........Is there a way to convey all of this to the adult population in a way that does not feel abstract and reek of being overly Professorial??????????????

New study says Maine’s natural areas worth far more than most people think

BRUNSWICK, Maine — Most people have their own criteria for determining the value of nature, ranging from “it’s heaven” to “there are bugs out there,” but a recent study by the Manomet Center for Conservation Science assigns a dollar value.

In Maine, the value of Mother Nature, not counting tourism dollars, natural resource-based businesses or other revenue derived from the outdoors, accounts for more than $14 billion per year. Many of those values were derived with an eye toward the future, particularly as it relates to things like quality of life and the availability of clean drinking water. For example, recognizing the value of a forest that filters and slows runoff from rain will pay dividends later, according to the study.

“We’re trying to start a conversation about these uncaptured values,” said John Gunn, a forest ecologist and senior program leader with Manomet who is based in the organization’s Brunswick office. “Nature plays a huge role in our economy. When we make decisions in Maine, we need a better way to incorporate the value of natural resources.”

The study, titled “Valuing Maine’s Natural Capital,” was conducted in collaboration with a Vermont-based consultant group called Spatial Informatics Group, LLC. It measured factors such as scenic beauty, natural flood control capacity, the ability of forests to capture greenhouse gases, wildlife habitat, ability of wetlands to filter water, pollination system, recreation opportunities and underground water tables.

Gunn said respecting and protecting natural environments now — even if that means leaving them untouched in the face of pressure from the real estate market and economic development activities — could pay huge dividends in the future if it prevents super-expensive projects like installing public water filtration systems or repairing wide-scale flood damage.

Study author Dr. Austin Troy agreed:
“We may never know the exact price of our natural resources,” said Troy. “But assigning some value to natural capital is clearly more accurate than assigning none, as is currently the norm.”
The study ranked all of Maine’s natural areas, whether they’re in the wilds of northwestern Maine or in urban centers such as Portland, and came up with dollar values of what those areas contribute to the state per year. Cumberland County’s natural areas ranked the highest, at between $1,000 and $2,500 per acre of value per year. Franklin County ranked the lowest at between $500 and $550 per acre per year, which is mostly because much of that county is sparsely populated, said Gunn.
Washington and Penobscot counties also ranked high with per-acre, per-year values of between $700 and $1,000.

While the $14 billion in uncounted value researchers identified may not seem like much to some, the study points out that the state derives about $6.5 billion per year from forest-based manufacturing, recreation and tourism.“That beauty is skin deep,” states the study. “There is far greater value to Maine’s natural abundance and wildlands than aesthetics and recreation.”
Traditionally, the conversation around the value of the environment, particularly when it involves a group vying to create a conservation easement, is how much the land would be worth for housing or business.

“Doing that calculation begins to capture some of these other values,” said Gunn. “The development values may be limited but some practices might potentially have negative impacts on those values.”
Included in the value of the environment is a forest’s capacity to capture greenhouse gases — which helps fend off the expensive effects of global warming — and natural water filtration systems that help provide one of the necessities of life on Earth.

“What this report shows is that, more than most people realize, society relies on well-functioning natural systems, too,” states the study. “We take [the value of nature] for granted. … Without that dollar price, nature’s benefits have historically been undervalued or deemed to be zero. The result of that approach isn’t good.”

The study also estimates that about 60 percent of the world’s natural ecosystem benefits have been degraded or used unsustainably over the past 50 years, and the problem will only get worse as the population grows. Receiving the highest per-acre values were coastal and noncoastal wetlands and urban and suburban forests.

One example in the study is Sebago Lake, which provides drinking water that’s clean enough not to be filtered before it is piped to the 200,000 customers of the Portland Water District. The study estimates the EPA’s filtration waiver — based on the cleanliness of Sebago Lake — has saved taxpayers at least $146 million, which is the approximate cost of a new water filtration plant. But that expense could come home to taxpayers if the watershed upstream of Sebago is degraded too much to provide adequate protection. The study suggests increasing forest sustainability practices and improving buffers along streams and rivers that cost less than half of what a new filtration plant would cost to build.

Gunn said he hopes the study will help people realize their actions today have consequences that will be felt in the future.“Since I’ve been with Manomet, which is about four years, we’ve started looking at the carbon marketplace and what needs to be in place to get landowners engaged in that marketplace,” he said. “We wanted to take a step back from that and look more broadly at these other values that we know are out there and are being provided by Maine’s nature, and nature everywhere.”

Sunday, June 24, 2012

What is the survival ratio of Whitetail Deer fawns in Michigan? Seems to vary betweeen 20 and 87% with harsher winters generating high mortality(2011) and warm snowless winters(2012) generating high survival rates............Nothing new in this "revelation",,,,,,,,,,Coyotes, Bears and Bobcats have greater success taking down deer when they are compromised due to deep snow........It has been this way for millenia without predator or prey going extinct..........The monkeywrench in the historical equation is our sport hunting thrown into the matrix............The true hunter welcomes the wolves, bears, bobcats and coyotes into the hunting equation.............A true challenge to get your deer when competing with the "best" nature has to throw at you.............A true sportsman is invigorated by the competing predator suite,,,,,,,,,,,,and does not cry, whine and plead for upping carnivore kill management policies

Paul Smith | Outdoors Editor

Researchers track deer, predators


Of the 30 fawns collared this spring in northern 'Wisconsin,  26 (87%) are alive. Last year that number was just 40%.

Baraboo - The white-tailed doe galloped across the gravel and into the lush green roadside growth.
Fast on its heels was a fawn, about one-third the size but every bit as nimble - and just as conspicuous.Wisconsin deer of all sizes are wearing their summer coats of red.The pair scrambled in front of my vehicle as I visited the Aldo Leopold Foundation near Baraboo last week.
The sighting - boldly colored deer - and the location - near The Shack of the revered conservationist - focused my thoughts on deer management.

Wisconsin researchers have completed capture of fawns for a study of predator impacts on deer.
The Department of Natural Resources is hosting a pair of appreciation cookouts this week for project volunteers. In addition to a meal, there will be a presentation of data gleaned over the last 18 months of deer research.

Among the data: Only 6 of 30 (20%) fawns radio-collared in the northern study area in spring of 2011 survived through April 2012.Predation was the leading cause of mortality (16 fawns: 5 to bears, 5 to unknown predators, 4 to bobcat, 1 to coyote and 1 to unknown canid), followed by human hunters (3), unknown causes (3), poaching (1) and vehicle collision (1).

In the east-central study area, 27 of 48 (56%) of fawns collared in 2011 were alive this April. Predation, vehicle collisions and natural causes other than predation (such as starvation) each claimed six fawns. Coyotes (4 fawns) were the leading predator in the east-central study area.

The 80% mortality rate on fawns in the north is eye-opening. It's only one year of data, but such levels of mortality, coupled with losses of adult deer, would result in a declining population if sustained over time.

The data from 2012 may paint a different picture, however. Of the 30 fawns collared this spring in the north, 26 (87%) are alive. Last year at this point, only 40% were alive.
Mike Watt, DNR deer researcher, said the early green-up of 2012 likely has helped fawn survival in the north.That's why you do multiyear studies. We'll report the complete results after they are shared with the volunteers next week.

The white-tailed deer trustees' review of Wisconsin's deer management program is scheduled for release this week. Gov. Scott Walker used his executive power to order the review last year.
James Kroll of Nacogdoches, Texas, David Guynn of Seneca, S.C., and Gary Alt of Lagunitas, Calif., are charged with an "independent, objective, and scientifically-based review of Wisconsin's deer management practices."

Kroll has made a point of saying it's an honor to work on the project, especially given Wisconsin's rich deer hunting history and its status as the "birthplace of modern wildlife management."
That's a reference to Leopold, who helped forge formal study of the field at the University of Wisconsin and was a leading advocate of science-based game management.
Kroll has said the goal is to produce a "21st-century model of deer management."
That sets the bar extremely high, especially when it plays off the legacy of one of the world's pre-eminent conservationists.

One thing is certain - the panel's recommendations won't please everybody.
Hunters, foresters, farmers, motorists, DNR wildlife managers and more are waiting with great anticipation. Stay tuned.

Are Black Bears as smart as some Primates? Ontario researcher Jennifer Vonk has proven that "Black Bears have an "ancient" knack for numbers, probably reflecting its relatively large brain size and shared evolutionary roots with fellow mammals like us............Fascinating article below for your review

Paws for thought: black bears know how to count, scientists say

Bruin with a brain: black bears are far more intelligent than anyone knew, a new study concludes.

Bruin with a brain: black bears are far more intelligent than anyone knew, a new study concludes.

It looks like brown-coated Yogi Bear had it wrong: it's the black bear — one of Canada's most familiar and wide-ranging carnivores — that appears to be smarter than the average bear.
A Canadian psychologist specializing in animal behaviour has found the first evidence that black bears have a counting ability comparable to that exhibited by some primates.

The discovery by Pembroke, Ont.-born research scientist Jennifer Vonk suggests the tree-climbing, garbage-loving animal that inhabits every province and territory in Canada except P.E.I. has an "ancient" knack for numbers, probably reflecting its relatively large brain size and shared evolutionary roots with fellow mammals like us.

"Our results are among the first to show that bears, an understudied species in comparative psychology and biology, may have evolved cognitive mechanisms equivalent to their distant primate relatives," conclude Vonk and U.S. co-author Michael Beran, an animal cognition specialist from Georgia State University, in a study published in the June issue of the journal Animal Behaviour.
Vonk is a graduate of McMaster, Wilfrid Laurier and York universities in Ontario, and is now a psychology professor at Michigan's Oakland University.

She told Postmedia News on Tuesday that her study of bear intelligence grew out of a primate research project at a zoo in Mobile, Alabama."I was working with a chimpanzee," recalls Vonk, who was assessing the animal's cognitive abilities using a touch-screen computer monitor and recording its responses to simple tests.She got to know three black bears living in the same facility — siblings named Bella, Brutus and Dusty, all born at the zoo — and wondered whether the bears would use a touch-screen.

Vonk said she was aware that bears are intelligent and "easy to train" — think Moscow circus bears juggling with their feet, or the Canadian cottage-country variety that learn to pry open trash bins of every description.But scientifically speaking, "we know almost nothing about bear cognition," she said.She received permission to set up her waterproof, specially-reinforced test monitor against the bear enclosure's chain-link fence, then began teaching the trio that certain responses to the images appearing on the screen would win small food rewards.

Vonk coached the bears to "lick or touch their noses" to the screen to prevent their sharp-clawed paws from "scratching it to shreds."And gradually they learned — led by the best counter, Brutus — to reliably select one picture of a square over another square based on the number of coloured dots each contained."We were kind of excited," said Vonk, noting that such behaviour had not previously been documented among bear species.

Social animals, such as dogs or primates, are considered more likely to have "numerosity" skills because they rely on keeping tabs on their fellow group members for survival, said Vonk.
But her new study — titled Bears 'count' too: quantity estimation and comparison in black bears, ursus Americanus — raises many questions about such undiscovered skills in other species, she added.

Vonk said the project also breaks new ground in being the first scientific study in which bears have used touch-screen computers."They seemed to really enjoy the stimulation," said Vonk, although she acknowledged that they might have been equally attracted "by the treats" — something Yogi Bear, the cartoon bruin famous for stealing campers' picnic baskets at "Jellystone" park, could understand.

Manitoba Biologist Darryl Hedman is continually monitoring Hudson Bay Polar Bears in an attempt to evaluate Global Warming impacts on the Bears survival chances in the 21st century....Findings include: 1)pregnant females seek denning sites at the edge of woods and then dig a single or multi-chambered den into the deepest snow drifts..........2) females go without food from end of December or January through end of March.............3)1 to 3 cubs are born in March and the mother bear then leads them to the sea to hunt seals and fish.......4)warming temperatures have led to fires which are destroying dens,,,,warm temps are melting dens as well--killing bears and cubs in midwinter............5)those bears that escape den collapse exert death inducing energy reserves in an attempt to rebuild dens............6) Insulated den temperature is just below freezing level even though outside temps can be -30 degrees centigrade...........7)female bears neither defecate or urinate during hibernation--dens are remarkably clean.........8)mother bears will move a den if heavy snows pile up to the point where oxygen depletion becomes a reality-somehow this expenditure of energy does not lead to death..............9)roughly 1000 Polar bears exist in Hudson Bay with most females denning south of Churchill........................10)the farther inland a bear dens, the higher the chance of energy reserves being depleted prior to getting back to the sea..................11)Bears seek the same spawning grounds for food year after year............12)Wolves will try to prey on young cubs

Climate change threatens to disrupt the denning habits of polar bears

 By Ed Struzik,

I am standing on the edge of a frozen lake 80 kilometres inland from the west coast of Hudson Bay. It is –33 C. The skies are clear and the bright sun is hovering over the horizon, lighting the spindly forest around us with that alpenglow that makes everything look surreal. Twenty metres away is the polar bear den we have been looking for, nestled into the side of a south-facing hill.

Polar Bear with newly born pups emerges from winter sleep

Helicopter pilot Justin Seniuk keeps the engine running as Manitoba biologists Darryl Hedman and Vicki Trim and I crunch through the waist-deep snow, crossing days-old tracks of playful cubs zigzagging around us. Having worked on polar bears since 1986, Hedman could make light of what we are about to do; he is fairly certain the female and her cubs have recently left. The tracks that led us to the site indicate this family is on the long march to Hudson Bay.

Hedman isn't taking any chances, though. He has his gun loaded and the safety off. When he lets out a shout, it is loud enough to startle Trim and me as we look over his shoulder, searching, as he is, for any movement inside. There is none we can see. Still, I can't stop thinking of the story that Ian Stirling, a University of Alberta scientist, told me several years ago when he was doing exactly what we are doing now. In his case, he didn't notice there was a polar bear standing in a second chamber of the den until his eyes adjusted to the dim light inside.

Mother Bear leading her cubs to the sea

"Unreal," says Hedman as he does his best to squeeze into the den a few minutes later. "Imagine spending a winter in a space like this where you can barely move and not have any food to eat or water to drink."

Since British explorer Samuel Hearne first described the denning behaviour of polar bears in this part of the world back in 1795, nothing much has changed. "The females that are pregnant seek shelter at the skirts of the woods," he wrote, "and dig themselves dens in the deepest drifts of snow they can find. There they remain in a state of inactivity, and without food, from the latter end of December or January till the latter end of March: at which time they leave their dens and bend their course toward the sea with their cubs."

Biologist Darryl Hedman examining abandoned den

Now that climate change is rapidly warming this part of the world, this centuries-old tradition may be in peril. Forest fires, which were once rare in this part of the world because it has been too cold and wet, have already destroyed dozens of dens in the past decade. Milder winters are also resulting in snow dens collapsing and killing bears and their cubs in some cases.

Building new ones, according to research by scientist Evan Richardson while he was a graduate student at the University of Alberta, could further tax the polar bear's already strained energy supplies.Not all dens are created in the same way. Some, like this one that I crawl into, has been dug into a peat bank. Like many dens, it has a single chamber just big enough to allow a female to nurse one or two and, in very rare cases, three cubs. Others have as many as three or four chambers to accommodate more adventurous cubs or a two-year-old that hasn't been chased off by its mother.

site of Polar Bear den

Most bears den in snow caves on land, but some animals in Alaska den on the sea ice.
The common denominator in these cases is the quality of the snow.

"Like Goldilocks' bed, snow has to be just right, not too soft and not too hard," says Andrew Derocher, a University of Alberta scientist who devotes a chapter to the art of polar bear denning in his book Polar Bears, A Complete Guide to Their Biology and Behavior. Fresh snow, Derocher points out, lacks structure and strength. Year-old snow may be too compact to allow enough oxygen in.

Once I get over the fear that there is a bear waiting for me, I am struck by how warm, snug and remarkably clean the den is inside.
Considering how much snow and peat moss there is insulating these chambers, it is not surprising that the temperature inside is just below the freezing mark when it –30C outside or colder.
In his pioneering study on polar bear denning in the 1960s, Dick Harington, the first scientist to study polar bears in Canada, dropped a thermometer into two active dens and found that temperatures inside were 7.8 C and 21 C warmer than they were outside.

Dens are clean because the female can go several months without defecating or urinating.Bears also move their dens throughout the winter when snowstorms pile things up to the point where oxygen is scarce.Harington's study on polar bear dens in the Canadian Arctic between 1961 and 1964 is remarkable not only because he did it by dogsled over three years, but because he somehow managed to find 113 dens. He attributes his success to the Inuit, who helped him identify the sites.

No one knows exactly how many dens there are in the Churchill region; Hedman is still discovering new ones on the spring surveys he started doing several years ago. But scientists such Stirling, Derocher and Nick Lunn, who have studied this population of 1,000 or so animals for decades, believe 90 per cent of the pregnant females den in a relatively small area 40 to 80 kilometres south of Churchill, from the Nelson River east to the Ontario border.
Twenty years ago, that meant nearly 200 bears in a good year. But now that the bears' energy reserves are being taxed by a shorter ice season that limits their ability to put on fat, the numbers are much lower.

The dens of female polar bears of Churchill aren't quite as clustered as they are in Kongs Karls Land in Svalbard, the northernmost part of Norway, where as many as 25 dens have been counted in a small area. But they are close enough together to warrant the attention given by Richardson's study, which was done under the supervision of Stirling and the collaboration of Bob Kochtubadja of Environment Canada.

The historical forest fire data for northern Manitoba are scant. But if climate models are correct, says Mike Flannigan, University of Alberta fire and vegetation specialist, one could expect to see more forest fires in the denning region of western Hudson Bay. All it would take, he says, is fuel, which there is plenty of; a source of ignition, which in this case is most likely to come from lightning, and warming temperatures, which is pretty much a given for most parts of Northern Canada.

Why Churchill's polar bears choose sites so far inland when bears in Svalbard hunker down in clusters as close as 10 metres from the edge of shore remains a mystery.The fear of hungry males tracking them down could be a factor. So may be sea ice patterns and snow conditions. Hunting by humans might also have played into the bear's decision-making. Up until 1957, when the Hudson's Bay post at York Factory closed, First Nations people living on the coast harvested them for fur and trade.

Big as polar bears can be, pregnant females pay a price for denning so far inland. When they come off the ice in late June or early July, most pregnant females have so much fat stored in their bodies that it sometimes looks as if they can hardly walk. By the time they settle into their dens, however, most haven't eaten for four months and it will be another four before they get their first seal. Some of them are little more than a bag of bones by the time that happens.
The good news is that some dens in this part of the world are passed from one generation to the next so all that most polar bears need to do is clean up whatever debris may have accumulated from one year to the next.

How a young female bear instinctively knows where to go after being out of the den for four or five years is one of the enduring mysteries of polar bear science. They are just roly-poly cubs when they emerge, and at least four years will pass before they are ready to reproduce. Yet like salmon that return to the same spawning stream after a year living in the ocean, these bears instinctively know where to go to find the place they were born.

In a study of tree rings that have been damaged by the digging done by pregnant females, Stirling has found evidence to suggest this hand-me-down practice has been going on for more than 100 years in some cases, and probably longer.Given the distances these bears have to travel, one would expect they would follow a relatively straight line. Yet as we followed the tracks of another family group along the Nelson River the next day, it was clear this is not the case. At one point, the bears made a full circle before heading back in the direction they were supposed to be going.

It seemed absurd they would plow through shoulder-deep snow in an open meadow rather than follow the solid path of a frozen creek heading north. At the rate this family group was progressing, Hedman figured it would take them three days or more to get to the coast.

The long walk is not the only challenge these family groups face in late winter, as we saw first-hand when we picked up a set of wolf tracks in pursuit of another family group. There is no shortage of wolves in northern Manitoba, and based on the experiences that Hedman and his colleagues have had over the years, the animals aren't shy about trying to take down a young adult.

While this one wolf wouldn't have a hope of taking down a female protecting her cubs, a pack of five or more animals would have a much better chance.Cubs, Hedman points out, just don't have the energy to walk or run for an unlimited time. All the wolves need to do is distract the mother long enough for one or more of them to get at one of the defenceless cubs. "We don't know how often this happens, but I've seen tracks which suggest that it may not be all that uncommon. It's something that we are going to be watching for in future surveys."

Surveys such as this one are complicated by bitterly cold weather and wild windstorms that seem to come out of nowhere in western Hudson Bay. Base camp for us was a one-room cabin on the coast that was heated by a single wood stove. We don't dare to walk to the outhouse at night for fear we will run into one of the bears that we know are around us from the fresh tracks we see.
Justin Seniuk, however, has no choice but to venture into the dark when the generator he is using to heat the helicopter's engine keeps breaking down.

Back at home in Edmonton, I sort through the photos I have taken on the trip. I see one that looks like nothing more than a stand of trees close to another den site we had investigated.I figure I must have taken this photo by accident. But just as I am about to delete it, I see it shows tracks in the forest. I follow the tracks and discover they lead to the back end of a polar bear, which is mostly hidden in the trees."Can't be," I say to myself. I study it more. There is no doubt about it. It is a polar bear and it was obviously hiding in the trees when we were crawling into that den.

ACTION #1, Protect America's Wolves!

To: Rick Meril
Fm: Robert Goldman ;

The Montana Division of Fish, Wildlife & Parks is taking public comments RIGHT NOW UNTIL JUNE 25 on their terrible proposal to expand their already hideous wolf massacre policy to include the persecution and killing of more wolves over a wider area of the state, right up to the borders of Yellowstone National Park.

Please click on this link right now (Comment Deadline is JUNE 25!): 
and tell Montana wildlife officials what you think of their expanded wolf massacre proposal AND how it will effect where you spend your tourist dollars.

And after you do that please get more wolf friends to sign and circulate the Protect America's Wolves! petition at: Protect America's Wolves!

More actions coming.

Thanks, for the wolves.

Robert Goldman
Protect America's Wolves! campaign

Saturday, June 23, 2012

For years Wildlife Officials in the USA and Canada have worked under the paradigm of removing so-called" problem Grizzly Bears(those getting too close to human dwellings or hiking trails) from their current territory and relocating them to other remote locations(where it was thought that they would have a better chance of survival)........Down to 700 animals, Alberta declared the Griz "threatened" several years back with a concentration on how to best to perpetuate the species for long-term persistence.........While removal of the Bruins can improve human safety and protect property here and now, long-term research shows that translocated bears generally die prematurely............ In one study, 38 per cent of relocated grizzlies died within two years..........."Trapping bears and moving them does not address the root of the problem and prevent human-bear conflicts over the long term," said Sarah Elmeligi of the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society......."Grizzlies will always seek out an easy-to-obtain meal like grain that leaks from farmer granaries or cattle roaming in the foothills unattended"............."Therefore, only a comprehensive government-funded program to help all landowners permanently reduce attractants will create lasting solutions that both protect bears and ensure human safety"

Relocation of Alberta grizzly bears harmful, environmental groups say

Alberta Grizzly Bear

 Conservationists say Alberta's efforts to relocate grizzly bears away from private property and populated areas is harming an already threatened population. There are fewer than 700 grizzly bears in the province. 
Environmental groups say they are seeing a disturbing trend in the way the Alberta government has been coping with its threatened grizzly bear population.

A recent report indicates a growing numbers of bears are being trapped and moved away from populated areas by provincial wildlife staff.In 2011, 24 bears were trapped and transferred compared with 13 in 2010 and 16 in 2009."The number of relocations last year was really high," said Nigel Douglas, a conservation specialist with the Alberta Wilderness Association.

"For a species which is threatened, and is supposed to be recovering, it's not enough just to take away problem bears. They really should be looking much harder at what is attracting bears."

Alberta's grizzly bear numbers stand at less than 700 and prompted the government to ban hunting a few years ago and to declare the animals threatened under Alberta's Wildlife Act.
Five grizzly bears have already been killed across the province this year — just weeks after they came out of hibernation. Two were killed by poachers, and another was killed in self-defence. A cub was killed by an adult bear, and the last died after being hit by a vehicle.

Grizzly historic range

Relocated bears die prematurely

While removal can improve human safety and protect property here and now, long-term research shows that translocated bears generally die prematurely. In one study, 38 per cent of relocated grizzlies died within two years.
"Trapping bears and moving them does not address the root of the problem and prevent human-bear conflicts over the long term," said Sarah Elmeligi of the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society.
"Only a comprehensive government-funded program to help all landowners permanently reduce attractants will create lasting solutions that both protect bears and ensure human safety," she said.
'We would not move a bear unless there's fairly serious potential consequences or already damage that they've caused.'— Dave Ealey, Alberta Sustainable Resources
Alberta Griz

An official with Alberta Sustainable Resources said relocations are the best way to deal with the problem.
"We're not talking about casually doing this. We would not move a bear unless there's fairly serious potential consequences or already damage that they've caused," said Dave Ealey.

"We have a structured approach in determining how to deal with a situation where a grizzly bear may be seen as a potential problem, and we try to ensure as much as possible to prevent the bear from being hurt and people from being hurt."The environmental groups say it appears that grizzlies are looking for an easy meal such as grain from leaking granaries or cattle from herds in Alberta's foothills, and the government should be finding ways to cut off the supply."Bears always come for an easy food source. There isn't the funding to address the root problem," said Douglas.

The province is implementing small-scale actions to reduce foods attractive to bears. The measures include dead livestock storage bins, electric fencing and bear-proof grain bins.

This blog was started back in March of 2010 based on my interest in the controversy among Wolf researchers about the nature of the Wolves that both historically and currently reside in Eastern Canada, the Great Lake States and the Southeastern USA...............Are the Wolves in these regions a subspecies of the Gray Wolf(C. lupus) found West of the Mississippi River or are they a distinct species?.......As we have discussed on numerous occasions, their remains a divided opinion in the Wolf Biologist world as to the correct answer...............I lean toward the distinct species school of thought (with the highest regard for my newly acquired Biolgist friends who come out differently on this question) based on the fact that to the best information available, Wolves do not hybridize with Coyotes(they displace and kill them when both are sympatric in a given terrritory) and therefore it seems that the Wolf found in the Eastern half of our continent cannot be an admix of Gray Wolf and Coyote but rather a species unto itself----The Nature Conservancy of Canada describes the Eastern Wolf in detail in the article below)

Eastern wolf (Canis lycaon)
source-Nature Conservancy of Canada

Eastern wolf (Photo by Manuel Henriques)
Eastern wolf
It's an icy mid-winter day in Algonquin Park,  Ontario. In the middle of one of the park's numerous frozen lakes lie the remains of a deer. A bald eagle circles overhead and then, gliding gracefully, lands beside the kill as an eastern wolf silently lopes away.

A rare sight, admits Dan Kraus, the Nature Conservancy of Canada's (NCC's) conservation science manager for the Ontario Region. Most only ever hear the elusive carnivore, he explains. Few are lucky enough to catch a glimpse of it.


Scientific name: Canis lycaon
Weight: 20-35kg
Pack size: 3-6 adults on average
Other names: Eastern Canadian wolf, Algonquin wolf
Home range: Can be as large as 500 km2
Species range: Current range covers approximately 210,000 km2, which represents 42 percent of its original range in Canada.
Cosewic status: Special concern, provincially and nationally.
Did you know: Algonquin Park in Ontario has regular "wolf howls" – allowing park visitors the experience of hearing the haunting
sounds of the park's eastern wolf packs.


For years the eastern wolf was thought to be a sub-species of the grey wolf. However, recent genetic testing has proven that Ontario is home to two distinct wolf species: the grey wolf and eastern wolf. Interestingly, the eastern wolf is more connected to the endangered red wolf of South Carolina than its Canadian cousin.

Where does it live?

Smaller than other wolves, the eastern wolf weighs between 20-35 kilograms. Found in the forests of the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence regions of Quebec and Ontario, this mottled brown canine preys primarily on white-tailed deer and moose.


Due to loss of habitat, hunting and trapping , the eastern wolf is now a species of special concern.  Possible breeding with coyotes may also pose a threat to the genetic integrity of the species. This poses a unique challenge to conservation efforts, Kraus points out.

"With eastern wolves the challenge is figuring out if you are actually dealing with pure wolves, which are a species at risk, or with coyote–wolf hybrids, which are more common."

Cross-border conservation

NCC's Ontario Region is working to protect key wolf habitat in the Frontenac Arch Natural Area. "The Frontenac Arch is one of the major linkage projects we're working on. It's part of the Algonquin to Adirondack (A2A) mountain corridor," explains Kraus. Extending from Algonquin Park to Adirondack Park in New York State, A2A is an important ecological corridor that connects the boreal forest with the Appalachian Mountains. 

Kraus stresses the importance of this corridor and coordinating conservation efforts on both sides of the border so that "our work lines up with what they are doing on the U.S. side."

Apart from scat and tracks, Kraus has yet to see any wolves in Frontenac Arch. By conserving cross-border connections and helping to increase protected lands in the Frontenac Arch Natural Area, NCC and its partners may help ensure the eastern wolf will have the land it needs to roam and thrive.

Trailcam footage in Oregon points to a SIERRA NEVADA RED FOX carving out a living on Mt.Hood..........Endangered throughout its historical Western habitat, Oregon was not known to currently harbor any of these canids(the last recorded speciman dates back to 1939)........California has given the Fox endangered species protection......Time for Oregon and the Federal Govt. to do the same across its historical range--------GO TO THE BLOG TO SEE THE VIDEO!!!!!

Photos show rare fox may be living on Mount Hood

By JEFF BARNARD ;Associated Press

GRANTS PASS, Ore.—Photos from automated trail cameras on Mount Hood appear to show a rare mountain fox that's known to exist in California, but isn't well documented in Oregon.   Scientists hope to get hair and saliva samples for DNA tests that could confirm it is a Sierra Nevada red fox, one of the rarest mammals in North America. The federal government is considering Endangered Species Act protection for them.

trailcam of the Sierra Nevada Red Fox on Mt. Hood

Photos were taken in March in a wilderness area on Mount Hood above tree line, by cameras set out by Cascadia Wild of Portland, Ore., which teaches people to track animals in the wild.   "We didn't realize the significance of the finding," said Teri Lysak of Cascadia Wild. "We've been seeing fox tracks for years and didn't think anything of it."

The photos appear to show two different animals, based on their coloring, she said.
They passed the photos to researcher Jocelyn Akins, who is studying wolverines on Mount Adams in Washington. The photos made their way to the Center for Biological Diversity, a conservation group that has petitioned for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to protect the foxes under the Endangered Species Act.   Akins has also gotten a photo of a red fox on Mount Hood.   The news was exciting for Ben Sacks, a geneticist at the University of California at Davis School of Veterinary Medicine, who has been studying the foxes in California, where they are protected by the state.

The Sierra Nevada Red Fox

"Up until fairly recently, these western mountain foxes were under the radar," he said.
Traditionally, red mountain foxes have been divided into Rocky Mountain, Cascades and Sierra Nevada subspecies, but were never really studied because they are so hard to find, said John D. Perrine, a conservation biologist at California Polytechnic State University.

A few years ago, the Sierra Nevada red foxes were thought to be down to about 20 animals living around Mount Lassen in Northern California, at the southern tip of the Cascades. Then another small population was found near Sonora Pass in the Sierras north of Yosemite National Park, Sacks said. Some U.S. Forest Service biologists got 5 trail camera photos north and south of Crater Lake in Southern Oregon between 1993 and 2001. But the last DNA evidence of the foxes in Oregon was a skin collected in 1939.

Then in March 2011, a ski groomer on Mount Hood snapped a photo of a fox with a flip phone, and showed it to Atkins. That led to the trail cameras being set on Mount Hood, baited with stinky liquid lures loaded with pheromones that can draw in animals from miles away.   "There was no evidence they had gone away," said Sacks. "We knew they were there historically. There was simply no information."

Sierra Nevada Red Fox in Oregon-first phots of the canid since 1939

New DNA samples will give scientists an idea how far the populations have fallen: the more diverse the samples, the more individuals are breeding. Genetic studies on the two California populations show they are both small.

Sacks said special baited brushes will be set out near Crater Lake to try for hair samples. Scientists will also be looking for a fecal sample.   Lysak said they will be trying for hair and saliva on Mount Hood. The way to get saliva is to put meat inside a sock, and when the animal tries to eat it, they leave a sample behind.   "It seems unlikely those are the only two populations in Oregon," Sacks said. "We know where to look."