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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, August 31, 2012

So now that there are an "abundance"-NOT---- of 4 Wolf packs confirmed in Oregon, the "locals" are peeing in their pants at the prospect of blastiing and trapping as many of them as their state management plan will allow once federal delisting takes place-------You know what sucks? You watch the Republican Convention and all these folks talk about family, right to life and such and it makes you want to "lose your lunch" when in the next breath you hear them mocking global warming and anything to do with the true foundation of this great Country--its natural heritige!!!!!-----And let me add that while the Democrats will talk with empathy about our natural world,,,,,,,,, under Obama, they have been spineless in doing anything positive in the here and now(with all respect to mph limits that improve in 2025)!!!!!!!!!!

New wolf pack confirmed in northeastern Oregon wilderness

JOSEPH -- Oregon has a brand new wolf pack, complete with a litter of five pups, discovered last weekend deep in the 560-square-mile Eagle Cap Wilderness of northeastern Oregon.

State biologists spotted two gray-colored adult wolves and their pups on Aug. 25 in the Upper Minam River drainage, said Michelle Dennehy, an Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife spokeswoman.

The litter is the fifth documented this year in northeastern Oregon, bringing the number of new wolf pups for the year to 23 in the state, Dennehy said.  That adds to the 29 known wolves in Oregon counted by the end of 2011.

"Now, we will be monitoring them through the end of the year to see how many pups survive," Dennehy said.

The state could be on the cusp of achieving a major goal of its Oregon Wolf Management Plan: four breeding pairs of gray wolves for three consecutive years east of the Cascades. Achieving that objective could start the process to delist the gray wolf from the Oregon Endangered Species Act, Dennehy said.

Irregular reports of wolves roaming along the Minam River have come to ODFW biologists for several years, she said. A vacationing Idaho biologist reported finding wolf scat there while archery hunting six years ago.
State biologists have closely monitored the Minam River since a photo of a black lactating female wolf was taken there June 4. But the newly discovered adult wolves and pups are all gray and appear unrelated to the lactating female, Dennehy said.

Oregon's wolf numbers have steadily grown in recent years, with adult wolves in the Imnaha, Wenaha, Walla Walla, Snake River, Sled Springs and now Minam River packs, plus at least two adult wolves in the Mount Emily Game Management Unit between Pendleton and La Grande.

Additionally, biologists have confirmed two separate wolf packs in the Sled Springs game management unit. They also captured and radio-collared a 49-pound male pup Aug. 2 in the Snake River Pack.

Jackson Hole Pronghorn fawn recruitment is off the chart this year at an index of 80 fawns per 100 does, twice the normal birthing pattern for these parts..........So here is a case of every pre columbian carnivore(Griz and Black Bears, Wolves, Coyotes, Pumas, Golden and Bald Eagles) being present in the Jackson Hole bioregion and the Pronghorns are thriving regardless..............Weather, Weather, Weather is my guess for the surge of our speediest herbivore-----warm winter, an earlier spring green-up and "presto"--more Elk on the range-------Please enter in and provide your insights to what I am missing in describing this phenomena

Jackson Hole pronghorn population near record


JACKSON, Wyo. (AP) — State biologists have counted near-record numbers of summering pronghorn antelope in Jackson Hole this year. In addition, they have found the highest fawn ratios since modern record-keeping started in Jackson Hole.

The Wyoming Game and Fish Department survey is used to determine hunting quotas and seasons for the following year. It's a trend survey and is not considered a census count of the population.
Game and Fish wildlife biologist Doug Brimeyer says he counted some 400 pronghorn in the area, including about 260 in Grand Teton National Park.

Brimeyer tells the Jackson Hole News  Guide  that he is seeing about 80 fawns per 100 does this year. That's well above the usual 40 to 60 seen in Jackson Hole.



Ravalli County Montana Officials will do anything to rationalize a need to kill more Pumas in their part of the USA.............No question that the big cats prey on Elk---SO WHAT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!...........These county commissioners are instituting draconian hunting measures to reduce the Puma population by 30% this coming season even though no one knows how many Pumas actually call the east and west forks of the Bitteroots home................

Wildlife officials propose study of Bitterroot's lion population

State wildlife officials want to take a closer look at mountain lion populations in the southern reaches of the Bitterroot Valley.If their proposed study is funded, they hope its results will provide some key information that will help in managing carnivore and ungulate populations across the state.

This week, members of the Ravalli County Fish and Wildlife Association anted upward of $10,500 to help the department pay for a density study of the elusive big cats.Mountain lions have taken center stage as the chief predator of calf elk at the halfway point of a three-year study of elk and predator dynamics in the east and west forks of the Bitterroot.

In response to that research, the state has bumped up mountain lion harvest quotas in the two hunting districts in the southern Bitterroot for this upcoming season, in an effort to bring the lion's population down by about 30 percent.The only problem with that is no one knows for sure just how many mountain lions there are in that part of the valley.

Unlike deer and elk that are easily counted from the air at different times of the year, getting a population estimate on predators, like mountain lions, bears and wolves, is much more difficult.
FWP officials propose this winter to use mountain lion population sampling methods perfected several years ago in a large-scale study in the Garnet Mountains, said Kelly Proffitt, FWP's lead researcher on the Bitterroot elk study.

Researchers would gather DNA samples from mountain lions in several ways and use those to produce an estimate of the animals in the area.Houndsmen would be deployed to put lions up a tree, where they could be shot with a biopsy dart that would gather a small amount of muscle in its hollow needle. That muscle matter would be extracted after the dart fell off the animal.

Researchers would gather hair from snares set around the area. They would also back-track the animals in the snow and pick up scat. Additional DNA would be gathered from animals harvested over the winter. "With the new season set to go into effect this winter, it would be important to know if the lions would backfill from Idaho," Proffitt said. "We would expect to see their population stabilize at a lower density, but we don't know that for sure because it hasn't been measured before."
The cost of the study would be close to $47,000. All of it would be paid for through private donations.

The University of Montana's lead researcher in the elk study, Mark Hebblewhite, said people want to know how the information gathered as part of the Bitterroot elk study can be used in other places in the state. While the research that's happening in the Bitterroot is a large and expensive project that can't be duplicated everywhere, there are ways to generalize the information gathered there to help integrate carnivore and ungulate management in other regions, Hebblewhite said.

The mountain lion study would provide valuable information that could make that possible, he said. With this winter's expected increase in lion harvest, most people would expect to see an increase in elk calf survival.But that's difficult to quantify without knowing how many mountain lions there actually are in the area.

Science has a way of surprising people.When the Bitterroot elk/predator study began, most people were convinced that wolves were the main cause for calf mortality."That's the value of doing research," Hebblewhite said. "Sometimes it surprises us. In this case, it surprised even me."
Ravalli County Fish and Wildlife Association President Tony Jones said that organization offered its support Monday night after listening to the potential of the research.

"It's always smart to back up harvest quotas and levels with science," Jones said. "We've never had a science based study of mountain lions in the Bitterroot. As we move forward, this information would be important to setting future lion quotas."

Mountain lion hunting is controversial in many places in the country. Jones said some states have banned it."In order to protect ourselves against the anti-crowd, we need to have good numbers," he said.Jones hopes other sportsmen's organizations will step forward to help fund the remainder of the study.

"We are kind of predator central here in the Bitterroot as far as the state goes," he said. "To have all of these studies going on here is really great."

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Wisconsin is seeking to expand its Elk herd after putting expansiion on hold due to fears about chronic wasting disease..............Ecologist Kevin Wallenfang states: "It has everything to do with trying to re-create the ecosystem that existed pre-white man settlement"..............Kevin, you've got a huge deer herd and Elk expansion on the horizon---let us hear you come out in favor on Wolf expansion rather than Wolf reduction.................Pre settlement balance without us stepping on the wolves!

Wisconsin DNR dusts off plans for more elk

TODD RICHMOND, Associated Pressdd;

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Wisconsin wildlife officials have resurrected plans to grow the state's elk population, raising hopes for a hunt and more tourism dollars.The Department of Natural Resources has wanted to expand a herd in Ashland County and start a second herd in Jackson County since the 1990s. The agency ran into a roadblock, though, when agriculture officials clamped down on deer and elk importation after chronic wasting disease turned up in the state a decade ago. Now the department has located apparently healthy elk in Kentucky and has started talks about bringing some here.
Local leaders see dollar signs. The Ashland County herd has grown into a tourist draw that Jackson County officials hope to duplicate. And future elk hunts could pump more money into the local economies.

But bureaucratic mountains would have to move before any new elk set hoof in Wisconsin. The DNR must convince legislators to lift the state's post-CWD ban on importing wild deer and elk. The agency also must find money for expanded herd monitoring and calm fears about crop damage. Still, agency officials are optimistic.
"It has everything to do with trying to re-create the ecosystem that existed pre-white man settlement," said DNR big-game ecologist Kevin Wallenfang.  "We think this is probably our best chance to get it done."

Elk vanished from Wisconsin in the 19th century due to hunting and shrinking habitat as prairies became farmland. The University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point reintroduced the animal in 1995, setting 25 Michigan elk loose near Clam Lake.The DNR wanted to grow the herd to 1,400 elk and planned to establish a second herd of 390 elk in Jackson County. The department planned to start hunts in both counties when each population reached 150 animals.
The agency shelved its plans, though, after CWD was discovered in the state's deer herd in 2002.

Hoping to slow the disease's spread, state agriculture officials prohibited anyone from bringing deer or elk into Wisconsin unless the animals originated from a counted herd that has been verified as disease-free for five years. The rule has effectively halted importation of wild elk since wild herds can't be quantified exactly or confirmed disease-free.

Since then, the Clam Lake herd has struggled. Wolves, bears, collisions with cars and a lack of young aspen trees, a favorite elk food source, have kept the herd small. The DNR estimates it stands at only about 180 animals. The agency has put off a hunt until the population reaches at least 200.

That hasn't stopped Clam Lake, a resort burg of about 40 people, from declaring itself the elk capital of Wisconsin. James Bolen, executive director of the Cable Area Chamber of Commerce, the closest tourism marketing organization to Clam Lake, estimated about 1,200 people come into the chamber's center each year asking about elk. The average adult visitor spends $175 a day, he said, which translates to $210,000 annually for the local economy.
Jackson County officials have pushed for a decade to get a piece of that action.

"Every year people ask when are the elk coming? When are the elk coming?" said Dennis Eberhardt, chairman of the Jackson County Board and a member of the Jackson County Wildlife Fund,  an organization that funds outdoor projects.

DNR officials say fears of CWD have faded now and the agency has located 10,000 wild elk in southeastern Kentucky that could serve as a source herd.Tina Brunjes, elk and deer coordinator for the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources, said the agency has tested more than 22,000 elk and deer for CWD since 2002 and never found an infection. The state has exported elk to Missouri and Virginia over the last two years, she added.
Wisconsin DNR has yet to reach a formal agreement with Kentucky but the states have discussed a donation of 200 elk for Clam Lake and about 75 elk to start the Jackson County herd, Wallenfang said.

That doesn't mean importation would be free. Wisconsin officials likely would have to reimburse Kentucky for capturing the animals and testing them for disease. He estimated the reimbursement as well as the first three years of expanded herd monitoring would run about $450,000.

The DNR wouldn't be on the hook for the bill, at least for a while, he said. The Ho-Chunk Nation, the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation and the Jackson County Wildlife Fund have agreed to cover the cost until a hunting season begins and the DNR starts making money from fees.

"The finances are the least of our problems," Wallenfang said.
Still, talk of more elk in Wisconsin has raised eyebrows. The Wisconsin Bear Hunters' Association is worried the elk herds will never grow large enough to sustain hunts. The group fears the DNR will start pulling more money from hunting fees to cover management expenses once the agency's partners stop paying and close off roads hunters need to reduce car-elk collisions.
Jackson County cranberry farmers are nervous, too, about elk eating their product. The DNR's wildlife crop damage compensation program already extends to elk, but Tom Lochner, head of the Wisconsin State Cranberry Growers Association, said he's worried it won't be enough. "We don't think we should have to bear (the cost) for reintroduction of a species," Lochner said.
Wallenfang said the Clam Lake herd may be large enough by next year for a hunt. No one grows cranberries or any other crops in what would be the Jackson County elk's core range, he said. 

 According to the DNR's management plan, any animals that wander outside the core range would be driven back or killed.
The DNR still has plenty of hurdles to clear. Aside from hammering out a deal with Kentucky, the agency must update its elk management plans, a process that entails public hearings and DNR board approval. And the department must convince state lawmakers to allow importation.

Rep. Roger Rivard,  R-Rice Lake, drafted a bill this year authorizing importation of wild elk that have been tested as much as possible. Rivard said bear hunters opposed the measure and it died without getting a vote. He might try again if the DNR can make peace with the hunters, he said. The next legislative session is set to begin in January.

Wallenfang said the earliest the state would see more elk would be 2014."We've got a willing state and willing people out there to finance it," Wallenfang said. "Timing is everything and that's why we want to jump on it now."

Dry conditions and lack of mast production has Black Bears wandering farther afield in New England this Summer which likely will result in higher kill totals for hunters as Black Bear Season approaches......Maine saw 10% of its Bruin population killed last year and the total for this year should rise significantly..............Both Maine and New Hampshire allow baiting as well as hunting with hounds.................Amazing that even with all of these advantages, the Bears have managed to hold their own......Vermont has shown much greater respect for "fair chase: philosophies and does not allow baiting, trapping or the use of hounds in hunting bears--------Kudos to the Green Mtn State, one of my favorite spots on this Planet Earth!

Bear hunting season set in northern New England

Associated Press;        
AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) — The black bear population is seen as healthy and robust as hunting seasons draws near in northern New England.
In Maine, where the season begins Monday, game officials predict success for hunters because of poor natural food levels that have brought many bears foraging out in the open. That increases chances for hunters who use bait.
''During lean falls like this, it is much easier for hunters to establish new baits because bears are searching more diligently for high-calorie food sources,'' said Randy Cross, biologist for the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife.
''Many hunters were frustrated with hunting bears last fall when natural foods were plentiful, but this fall should be a different story for many. Some years, the bears win and others the bear hunters win — this year looks like it will be the latter,'' said Cross.
Maine has the largest black bear population in the East, estimated 25,000 to 30,000, the largest in six decades. Last year's bear hunting season ended with a low harvest of 2,400 bears, IFW says. But it is predicting a much higher total this year.
For the second year, hunters in Maine will be required to extract a tooth from their harvested bear and submit it at the registration station. The teeth are tested so biologists can monitor the bears' ages.

In neighboring New Hampshire, where the season starts Sept. 1, last season ended with 418 bears harvested, which is within a normal range. New Hampshire game officials say the bear population appears relatively stable at an estimated 4,800. Both Maine and New Hampshire allow hunting with bait, by stalking or with hounds. Maine also allows trapping of bears, within specified limits.
Vermont's season also starts Sept. 1. The bear population is estimated at 4,500 and 6,000, with the highest numbers of bears in the center spine of the Green Mountains, the state Fish and Wildlife Department says. The department calls the current bear population robust.
To rebuild its bear population, now said to be at its highest level in two centuries, Vermon has banned trapping, outlawed baiting, controls the use of hunting dogs and has prohibited the shooting of bears at dumps — which can be a magnet for hungry bruins — for several decades.end of story marker

First Nations Chipewa in Alberta have come out against the ATHABASCA REGIONAL PLAN which creates new conservation zones wihile continuing to permit oilsands development if access can be had from outside the zones..........."We should be equals sitting at the table from start to finish not just called on when they need to give the optics that we've been consulted"----- Chief Allan Adam of the Chipewa Nation..............The First Nations wants much larger protection zones for culturally significant wildlife, such as caribou and bison herds, and for the zones to be co-managed by the band.......The environmental think-tank the Pembina Institute has called the government's plan a good start, but has also said it is concerned the amount of land being set aside for conservation isn't enough to prevent endangered caribou herds from continuing to decline..

First Nation says Alberta oilsands plan will 'annihilate' its lands and future
    A First Nation says Alberta's plan to balance the oilsands and the environment ignores the concerns of people who live in a remote northeastern region of forest and muskeg.
The Athabasca Chipewyan say the plan puts some minor restrictions on oilsands development, but does not protect their treaty rights or cultural livelihood."Your plan, your land, your future? This is not our plan, it's the governments plan to annihilate our lands and our future," Chief Allan Adam said Friday in a release."There are no commitments to our people and no protection of our lands and rights. We thought we were working towards a partnership with the government, but this plan doesn't reflect that."

There are about 1,000 members of the First Nation living on four reserves in northeastern Alberta.
The Lower Athabasca Regional Plan announced Wednesday creates new conservation zones, but allows existing conventional oil and natural gas wells to continue operating in those areas.
No oilsands development will be allowed in the zones unless access can be had from outside the boundaries through, for example, horizontal drilling. That means the government will begin talks with 17 energy companies on cancelling their leases and compensating them. No new tenures will be sold.

Tar Sands development rips open the forest

The plan increases protected habitat for threatened woodland caribou by prohibiting energy and forestry activity in the Dillon River Conservation Region, which is to be expanded from 27,000 hectares to 192,000 hectares.

The First Nation says the province has set weak environmental standards that won't do enough to protect the caribou and other wildlife. The government's plan says it will look for opportunities to "engage these communities and invite them to share their traditional ecological knowledge to inform land and natural resource planning in this region."The Alberta government appeared to be taken aback Friday by the Athabasca Chipewyan response to its plan.Mark Cooper, a spokesman for Alberta Environment, said government officials met 107 times with 21 different First Nations and nine Metis organizations about the plan over the past three years.He said the plan had to carefully balance the need for industrial activity, job creation and recreational opportunities along with protecting the environment. "In achieving that harmony, we need to take into account a number of perspectives and try to balance them the best that we can and that is what we believe we have done with this plan," he said."Every effort was made to balance all input with aboriginal people's constitutionally protected rights and treaty rights."

Cooper said the government will continue to consult with First Nations about the plan on issues including the management of oilsands tailings ponds and the need to protect biodiversity.
The plan goes into effect Sept. 1.

Athabasca Chipewyan leaders say by not including First Nations concerns in the plan, the pledge is nothing but lip service. "We should be equals sitting at the table from start to finish not just called on when they need to give the optics that we've been consulted," Adam said.

The First Nation wants much larger protection zones for culturally significant wildlife, such as caribou and bison herds, and for the zones to be co-managed by the band.

The environmental think-tank the Pembina Institute has called the government's plan a good start, but has also said it is concerned the amount of land being set aside for conservation isn't enough to prevent endangered caribou herds from continuing to decline.

Cooper said Environment Minister Diana McQueen is committed to working with First Nations to make the plan work.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

If California Gov. Brown signs the two bills passed by both the State House and Senate, then there will be NO USE OF HOUNDS in hunting bobcats and bears in California going fowrard............Camilla Fox urging everyone to email Gov. Jerry Brown asap to get the bills signed into law--see link below


From: Camilla Fox []
Sent: Tuesday, August 28, 2012 11:07 AM
To: Project Coyote
Subject: Good News! SB 1221 SB 1480 Pass Senate..... now go to Brown for his sig!

Hello Friends of Project Coyote,

Good news! Yesterday the Senate voted in support of SB 1221 (bill to ban the use of hounds to hunt bear and bobcat) on a 22-13 concurrence vote. And even more good news: the Senate also passed SB 1480 (bill to restrict cruel wildlife trapping and killing methods and better regulate wildlife control operators).

If Govenor Brown signs the bills, hounds no longer will be treeing black bears

THANK YOU FOR MAKING YOUR VOICES HEARD! We would not have come this far without so many Californians speaking out in support of these bills.

But it's not over! We still need Governor Jerry Brown to sign both bills before they become law. Please take a moment to contact Brown and urge his support for both


To email go to the Governor's site:
( Select "contact" and then scroll through "please choose your subject" pull down to find SB 1221 and SB 1480. You must submit two separate forms for both bills. You can also call/fax Brown:
Phone: (916) 445-2841
(916) 558-3160
For more info. about these bills and talking points see our action alert here:


Running completely counterintuitive to what has been happening to Moose across North America where warmer temperatures are shriniking Moose numbers(winter ticks/deer brain disease crashing Moose populations), Saskatchewan, Canada Moose numbers are increasing and at this point, 5000 of the estimated 50,000 Moose in the Province live in the warmest southern sector..............Wolves are not present and for this reason, the Province is alloting additional hunting licenses so as to "manage" the Moose surge..............We urge Wolf restoration to truly bring back "the landscape of fear" paradigm to the Saskatchewan forests and fields

Moose hunters get 350 more licences

A moose ran around the Regina Airport and the south end of the city earlier this year before being captured and transported out of the city. A moose ran around the Regina Airport and the south end of the city earlier this year before being captured and transported out of the city. 

The Saskatchewan government says there are still too many moose in the southern part of the province, so it's drawing names for another 350 licences to hunt the animals.Tuesday's draw is the second time this year hunters have been selected for such licences.
Applicants who are successful will find out by mail next month. Moose hunting season is in Octoberand November.

The province estimates there are 50,000 moose in Saskatchewan, with 10 per cent of those in the south.

According to Chuck Lees, a spokesman for the Environment Ministry, moose sightings in the southern part of the province used to be less common. It's believed the numbers are up because winters have been warmer, there's a good food supply and there are no natural predators.

The government says it wants to reduce the number of moose in southern areas to cut down on collisions and property damage. There have been several highway fatalities in recent years involving moose.

With the additional draw, there'll be 3,000 moose licences for what's called southern wildlife management zones, compared to 2,195 last year.


New Foundland Pine Martens are a species at risk..........they take an additional year to reach breeding maturity than do the American Marten..........Late Summer is when 3 year and older females get impregnated with the following Spring seeing the birth of 2 to 3 kits.............Kits have a short and condensed learning period with their mother and then disperse at the end of their first Summer ...............If they get through their first year of life, they have a life expectancy in the wild of up to 10 years

Newfoundland Pine Marten Update: Family Time
Newfoundland Pine Marten Tree
Newfoundland Pine Marten in a Tree.

Courting a Mate

When Newfoundland pine martens are three years of age and older, they are ready to become parents. That's a full year older than their mainland cousins, the American marten. Females show they are ready to become a mom by leaving scent markers around their habitat. In late summer, usually at the end of July through August, males will seek out one or two females that live in their home rage.

Pine Marten Kit.

Finding a Den

Pregnant pine martens will have their babies the following spring. In late April, the female pine marten will seek out a den, making sure to pick a secret spot that will help keep her young safe. These dens are usually located in a rock pile, inside a tree, or hollow stump. She will then give birth to two or three babies that are called kits.

Raising the Young

Pine marten kits are born blind, deaf and without hair. These kits are part of a single parent home where only the mom raises them. Over several months the mom will feed her kits milk, once they are ready for solid food, she will catch small prey, like voles and hares, for her young to eat. After 6-8 weeks the kits will start to open their eyes and venture outside of the den to explore their surroundings, but they don't stray far from home. Most kits stay with their mother through the end of their first summer, heading off on their own in the fall. For these kits it is the start of a long life; in the wild their lifespan averages between 8-10 years.

Earth Rangers is a non-profit organization that works to inspire and educate children about the environment. At kids can play games, discover amazing facts, meet animal ambassadors and fundraise to protect biodiversity.
Newfoundland Pine Marten Update: Family Time, 5.0 out of 5 based on 2 ratings

Monday, August 27, 2012

Along with Oaks and Beech, the American Chestnut was one of the princiipal mast trees of the Eastern woodlands up until the turn of the 20th Century.............As virutally all of us know, the Chestnut blight removed this magnificent overstory tree and its bounty, thus putting additional pressure on creatures ranging from Black Bears to Blue Jays to obtain needed foodstuffs in Fall so as to best get through the lean winter months..............I have not been a proponent of the restoration effort that saw backcross breeding of resistant chinees chestnut trees with surviving American Chestnuts.........I want the 100% American trees populating our woodlands and genetic engineering (something that I am also leery about) might be the way this icon of the forest returns in full vigor------I hope enought research is put into this endeavor to avoid releasing something that could "frankenstein" the woods,, but instead is benign and positive

Hopes for Chestnut Revival Growing

Engineered Versions of the Once-Common Species, Long Ago Wiped Out by a Fungus, Take Root


Scientists are on the brink of engineering a blight-resistant American chestnut tree, renewing hope for a comeback of a long-celebrated species that is valued by business for its sturdy hardwood.
Thom Almendinger, right, director of stewardship at New Jersey's Duke Farms, inspects a chestnut seedling along with Steven Handel, left, a Rutgers University professor.
For the first time, techniques used to genetically engineer sturdier farm crops are being tapped to bring back a devastated native species—one that once numbered in the billions and covered much of the East Coast. Entire forests were laid to waste by an Asian fungus introduced around 1900, and healthy chestnuts now exist only in a smattering of places in the American West, where the blight didn't reach.

Now, chestnut trees whose lives began as smudges on a Petri dish are growing in upstate New York, their genes infused with a wheat DNA that appears to kill the fungus that attacks the tree's trunk and limbs. Unlike chestnuts in nature, these trees haven't succumbed so far to the blight—even when scientists directly infect them with it.

The experiments are the culmination of decades of research by scientists at the State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry in Syracuse. At the same time, a separate effort was under way to splice the American chestnut with a Chinese version, producing a potentially blight-resistant tree dubbed the "Restoration chestnut." Both efforts have given hope to supporters who want the chestnut to reclaim part of its share of the forest.

"I didn't think they would ever do it," said Kim Steiner, a professor of forest biology at Pennsylvania State University. Now, he said, "I'm sure it's going to happen."
Ohioan Greg Miller spraying an American chestnut tree that was growing wild near Braceville, Ohio, in 2007.
It remains to be seen whether scientists and foresters can replenish the American chestnut to its once glorious, widespread population, as the trees will take decades to mature. In addition to the tree's strong wood being used for barns, shingles and telephone poles, the tree's nuts sustained forest animals and were sold throughout Appalachia. They were lauded in Mel Torme's "The Christmas Song," and Henry David Thoreau frequently wrote about hunting for autumn chestnuts in the forests surrounding Walden Pond.

"It was a cornerstone species," said Stacy Clark, a research forester for the U.S. Forest Service. "It was probably the most versatile tree in the woods."The American chestnut tree, which has saw-teeth-edged leaves, shouldn't be confused with horse- or buckeye-chestnut trees, which come from separate tree families and produce inedible nuts.

The Asian fungus that crippled the species was first detected in New York's Bronx Zoo in 1904. The disease starved the tree of water and nutrients and spread rapidly despite a quarantine effort. By 1940, billions of trees had died. "I don't think there's been anything nearly as extensive as the chestnut blight," said Thomas Holmes, a Forest Service researcher.

American elms also have suffered from a blight triggered by Dutch elm disease, a fungus spread by beetles and first detected in the U.S. in the 1920s. Scientists have had some success in selecting varieties of elms that are resistant to the disease, including the Princeton Elm. Beginning in 2005, the varieties have been planted across the country to assess for the best resistance.

Attempts to restore the American chestnut began in the 1930s, when scientists unsuccessfully tried to breed the tree with a Chinese variety that was immune to the fungus. Federal funding dried up by the 1960s.

The efforts were picked up again in the 1980s by scientists and plant lovers who founded the American Chestnut Foundation. They applied a new method, called backcross breeding, which was first used for corn that imparts preferable traits over several generations. The foundation started planting their new chestnuts—one-sixteenth Chinese and the rest American—in Virginia in 2006. More than 100,000 of the trees are growing across 19 states. with plans for millions more in what the group calls the country's largest ecological restoration effort. Thousands of trees were inoculated with the fungus in June 2011, with 20% showing strong resistance and 40% with a more moderate amount, foundation president Bryan Burhans said. Scientists will select for the strongest resistances when breeding future generations, he said.

Meanwhile, scientists at Syracuse's forestry college began experimenting in 1990 with a technique called transgenics, which was traditionally used to create genetically modified crops. They inserted a fungus-resistant wheat gene into an American chestnut embryo and grew a tree from a single cell in a Petri dish.

By 2006, Syracuse scientists had planted the first genetically modified trees, and they hope to gather their first nut crop this fall. The results are promising so far, as the trees haven't succumbed to blight halfway into the study. "It's just a matter of time giving us the combination of genes we want," said William Powell, the project's co-director.
Today, nearly all chestnuts sold as food are grown from the Chinese variety. But the American version is smaller and considered sweeter, although there aren't enough trees yet to sustain a food industry.

Returning the chestnut to American forests in large numbers could depend on help from the mining and timber industry. Federal law requires mining companies to restore land they strip through means that include forestation. Chestnuts thrive in the loose, sandy soils left after mining.
The chestnut foundation is working with mining and energy companies such as Alpha Natural Resources Inc., Peabody Energy Corp., and American Electric Power Co. to plant the chestnuts, said the foundation's chief scientist, Fred Hebard. The nuts are expensive, but industry has pledged to plant more of them when the prices fall, said Patrick Angel, senior forester for the U.S. Office of Surface Mining, which oversees the restoration of mine lands.

Wood companies including MeadWestvaco Corp., Arborgen Inc., and Georgia-Pacific Corp. also have donated land to plant Restoration Chestnuts, Mr. Hebard said."The tree represents an important part of our American heritage," said Meg Gallagher, a spokeswoman for Peabody, which has planted 250 Restoration Chestnuts on former mine lands in Indiana since 2011.

The breeding techniques used to save the chestnut hold promise for other hardwood trees succumbing to pests, including the American elm, white walnut and eastern hemlock."We have to be proactive," said Steven Handel, a professor of plant ecology at Rutgers University, who is researching blight-resistant chestnuts planted at Duke Farms, a nature sanctuary in New Jersey. "The statement that nature takes care of itself—if only it was true."

Montana Fish, Parks and Wildlife are being sued by the Alliance for the Wild Rockies and 3 partner organizations for their continuing to allow the trapping of Lynx in the state...........With a fragile recovering population of the big-pawed cats in the Western USA, Montana should immediately pivot and outlaw trapping of any kind in critical Lynx habitat

At least four lynx have been killed by traps intended for other species
By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — A ski area expansion like Peak 6 might displace one or two lynx, but that's nothing compared to the direct mortality that has occurred from legal trapping in Montana.

At least nine lynx have been caught in traps since the species was listed in 2000 and four are known to have died — as a result, four conservation groups say they will sue the Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks Commission for permitting the trapping.

"Montana has failed to safeguard lynx from the cruel vicissitudes of traps and snares, and that has resulted in the death and impairment of several animals, which impedes lynx recovery," said Wendy Keefover, carnivore protection program director for WildEarth Guardians.

Canada lynx captured in body-gripping traps endure physiological and psychological trauma, dehydration, and exposure as well as injuries to bone and tissue that reduces their fitness and chances for persistence. Trapping is also a likely source of indirect mortality to lynx kits since adults harmed or killed by traps and snares cannot adequately feed and nurture their young.

"Crippled or dead lynx can't take care of their young," said Mike Garrity, executive director of The Alliance for the Wild Rockies. "If we want to get lynx off the Endangered Species list, we need species' resuscitation, not more (deaths) and mutilations."

Montana allows regulated trapping of a number of species throughout the year. The conservation groups allege that trapping and snaring in occupied lynx habitat is illegal because Montana has not exercised "due care" to prevent harm to lynx as required by the Endangered Species Act.

"Lynx are particularly vulnerable to traps," said Arlene Montgomery, program director of Friends of the Wild Swan. "Federal law requires Montana to contribute to lynx survival and recovery, but continued trapping does the exact opposite," Montgomery said.

Bill Leikam is the Director of the Independent Urban Gray Fox Research at the Don Edwards San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge...............Bill comments on the Bill Dodge southeastern Michigan Coyote Study post of the other day making reference to the fact that unlike Coyotes, Gray Foxes do not kill adult cats and dogs---the domestic canine and tabby are just too large for a Fox to tackle successfully.............However, domestic kittens are fair game for both Gray and Red Foxes and can end up a meal.


I just finished reading the article on coyotes in the urban setting. As you may know from Rick Lanman, I am studying the gray fox in its urban setting here near Palo Alto, California and much of my work aligns with Bill Dodge's work in Michigan. In many places in his article/post, I could insert gray fox in place of coyote and the findings, etc. would fit. There are however parts where the fox would not parallel that of the coyote.

 For instance, due to size differences, gray foxes do not attack grown cats nor domestic dogs. However, a fox will feed on feral kittens. I have seen foxes encounter grown feral cats and in 99% of the cases, the fox moves aside to give the cat room to move on. The same holds true for encounters with raccoons and sometimes opossums although in the latter case, I have seen a fox engage with an opossum but unsuccessfully.

I just thought that I'd get in touch and let you know.

Bill Leikam, Director
Independent Urban Gray Fox Research,
Urban Wildlife Research Project,
Don Edwards San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge,
Public lectures and guided tours
Phone: 650 - 856 - 3041   
Palo Alto, California

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Northwest Connecticut is the epicenter for Black Bear density in the state......U. of Connecticut Wildlife Doctoral student Mike Evans is assisting Professor Tracy Rittenhouse in a 3 year study to determine how the Bear is expanding its range south through the balance of the state..........Will they recommend to State Officials that the population of 400-500 is large enought to sustain a hunt?

Keeping track of black bears in Connectitcut
By Judy Benson;

Mike Evans, a doctoral student in wildlife biology at the University of Connecticut who is studying bears, hikes through the woods of Sunny Brook State Park in Torrington last Wednesday to collect hair samples.

With a sharp eye and steady hand, Mike Evans pinched tweezers around a single black hair hooked around a prong of barbed wire strung deep in a forest in the state's northwest corner. "The follicle is the best part of the hair to get DNA out of, so I try not to break it," said Evans, crouched low beside the wire as he slipped the hair into a small brown envelope, which he then sealed and labeled. The dense shade of the forest notwithstanding, he and his assistant, Jason O'Connor, had painstakingly examined each barb to locate five single bear hairs - treasures so slight they were invisible to any gaze less than laser-true.

Evans, a doctoral student in wildlife biology at the University of Connecticut, plucked the hairs one morning earlier this month at one of about 10 barbed wire enclosures he and O'Connor, a master's student in wildlife biology, visited that day. This spring, Evans had set up about 50 of the 16-by-16 enclosures at state forest, land trust and private lands in the northwest corner, the epicenter of the state's growing black bear population.

Over the next three years, the research project will expand to cover their entire range. "We'll be sampling a wide geographic area, based on where we know we have lots of bears and areas where we are confident there are bears because there is good habitat, but have not had a lot of reported bear sightings," said Tracy Rittenhouse, who is heading the project as assistant professor of wildlife ecology at UConn. "The population has been moving from the northwest corner south and now it's up against West Hartford and Avon - places of high human density."

The project got under way this spring, commissioned by the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, to produce better estimates of the bear population and distribution.The purpose, said DEEP wildlife biologist Paul Rego, is to help inform ongoing discussions about whether the bear population has reached the point where a hunting season is needed to keep it in check. That would require a legislative act, because while DEEP can establish regulations for hunting specific species, it cannot set fees for licenses without legislative approval, Rego said.

Return of the bears
Once extirpated in most of the Northeast, black bears have been re-establishing themselves in recent decades throughout their historic range as lands once clear-cut and turned into farmland have returned to forest. Several other states have recently turned to hunting as a means of controlling the bear population.

Whether Connecticut wants to follow the same course is yet to be decided, but in the meantime, residents can appreciate that having bears is a positive indicator of the health and diversity of habitat in this small state, Rittenhouse said. "We have all the amenities of city life in Connecticut and forests healthy enough to support bears," she said. "I think that's a great thing for Connecticut to have."
Current estimates, based on reported bear sightings and data from bears that have been tagged and fitted with radio collars, put the population at 400 to 500 bears.

"But the population's been doubling every five to seven years" with no signs of slowing down, said Dennis Schain, DEEP spokesman.
By rough estimates, DEEP spends more than $250,000 a year responding to nuisance bear calls, in the form of staff time and resources of Environmental Conservation officers and wildlife biologists who tranquilize, trap and relocate them, Schain said. In the last fiscal year, DEEP received 120 calls from the public about problem bears.

About 20 bears a year are killed by cars on Connecticut roads,Rego said."I'm not sure I've ever gotten a call from somebody suggesting they want to see more bears," he said. "But we receive calls almost daily from individuals who want fewer bears. It's obviously a growing and spreading population, and there are growing numbers of conflicts with humans. Some people are worried about their children's or their pet's safety. We have bears that have broken into houses and damaged fruit trees."

While there have been no reports of injuries to humans from the state's black bears, Rego said, more of these large, powerful omnivores seem to be adapting to life in proximity to populated areas, drawn to feasts found in bird feeders, trash cans and pet food left outside. Rittenhouse said that while black bears are not aggressive toward humans, it's prudent to be wary around them.
"Black bears try to teach their cubs escape behavior when they're threatened, to go up a tree right away," she said. "But they will bluff charge if they're frightened. They are animals and they're stronger and faster than I am. You don't want to give a bear a bear hug."

When a nuisance bear is trapped, wildlife officials take it to the nearest suitable habitat within 10 miles, Rego said, and employ "aversion conditioning" techniques such as rattling the cage and firing shotguns to teach it to stay away from humans.

DEEP is also considering adding one or more Karelian bear dogs to its arsenal, Schain said. Originating in Finland, these dogs were bred to chase bears. The agency has had recent discussions with an out-of-state breeder about purchasing one, he added.

"If we had 10,000 well-behaved bears in Connecticut, people would probably be content," Rego said. "But we have bears that have become very habituated to populated areas. They don't run when they see a person, or when someone fires a shotgun into the air."

Scents attract bears
The bear hair research will contribute to the state's analysis of its bear population in multiple ways, Rittenhouse said. Through DNA sequencing of each hair sample collected - Evans estimates he's snared 75 to 100 thus far - researchers will be able to identify how many individual bears visited each site and use that information to extrapolate the population in a given area around each enclosure. Hair samples will also be collected and analyzed by DEEP staff who trap nuisance bears.

"We'll be able to compare samples that potentially could give us information on where the bears are traveling," Rittenhouse said. "We're interested in what habitats the bears are using and how they're moving across the landscape."

Evans spent last week at the University of Missouri learning the DNA sequencing techniques he will use at UConn labs. The bear hair collection and sequencing project, Rittenhouse said, has been done in other states, relying on a simple but ingenious design.
"The most fascinating thing is how much information we can gain without the bears knowing it," she said.

First, Evans, said, he selected sites for the enclosures based on proximity to good food sources, such as wetlands and oak forests with abundant acorns, and places near recent bear sightings.
Barbed wire enclosures were rigged 2 feet off the ground around rings of trees. In the center of each, he would place a pile of sticks slathered with one of four aromatic lures - beaver castor, anise oil, fish oil and a commercial product developed for bear hunters. He also suspended a scent-soaked rag from a tree limb so the smell would waft into the air beyond the immediate vicinity.No food is left at the site. That would reward the bears and skew the results, Evans said.

"But I use a variety of different scents so they don't get conditioned to thinking there is no point in coming to the enclosure," Evans said, as he and O'Connor approached a site in Sunny Brook State Park in Torrington, a bright yellow "Black Bear Survey Site: Please Do Not Disturb" sign posted on a nearby tree.

When the bear enters the enclosure to investigate, it scrapes up against the barbed wire, sometimes leaving hairs behind. Cameras with shutters set to go off automatically when movement is detected at the sites have captured images of curious bears visiting the enclosures, but Evans has never seen one. "At one of the sites, there was a photo of a bear taken just seven minutes before I came to check on it," he said. "But I have come across scat and tracks."

The field work involves a lot of off-trail bushwhacking, clambering over stone walls and fallen trees, fording streams and slogging through swampy areas to reach the sites, and then meticulous examination and re-examination of every barb on each wire. Only about one in five sites yields hairs, Evans said. "There's a lot less glamorous stuff that goes on for every interesting result," he said, as he headed back to his truck to drive a few miles to the next site, at John A. Minetto State Park in Torrington and Goshen.

After removing a hair, Evans trained a lighter flame on the barb, "so that anything I missed, I won't see next time."For Evans, the project meshes with his ongoing interest in wildlife-human interactions and ways that both adapt to each other's presence.
"Connecticut hasn't been bear country for a long time, and certain human behavioral changes might have to become part of the routine," he said.

Rittenhouse agreed, adding that whatever the state decides about whether to allow bear hunting, residents can learn to live with bears."It's possible for Connecticut to have a happy human population and a happy bear population at the same time," she said. "The state clearly has the resources to do that."

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Bill Dodge is a PhD candidate at Wayne State Univiversity and he is in the midst of a multi-year Coyote study in southeastern Michigan.............Use of territory and dietary habits are the principal thrusts of the research with the goal being to educated Michigan officials on how to best help the public co-exist with our songdogs

For juvenile Moose, body size as a yearling has no impact on their prospects for long term survival...........The critical factor for young Moose matriculating into adulthood is to have their mother by their side.........Dr. Joel Berger of the Wildlife Conservation Society(WCS) found that orphaned moose in their first winter were subjected to 8 to 47 times more aggression from adult moose than were young moose whose mothers were present........... Overall, the survival of orphan calves was about 8 times lower than those with mothers

Body Mass in juvenile Moose---The larger the better for long term survival?
Based on ten years of fieldwork in the Tetons of Wyoming, WCS Conservation Biologist, University of Montana Professor and study author Dr. Joel Berger looked at whether body size of juvenile moose and maternal presence were related to survival of the young animals. In animals from elk to lizards and fish, size matters, and larger individuals enjoy a survival advantage. However, results of Berger's study showed that for juvenile moose, body mass had no significant effect on overwinter survival. Maternal presence did.
mooshymooshy 150x150 For juvenile moose, mommas boys and girls fare bestThe study, "Estimation of Body-Size Traits by Photogrammetry in Large Mammals to Inform Conservation" appears in the early view section of the on-line edition of the journal Conservation Biology.

The study found that orphaned moose in their first winter were subjected to 8 to 47 times more aggression from adult moose than were young moose whose mothers were present. Overall, the survival of orphan calves was about 8 times lower than those with mothers.

 Along with facing more aggression from kicking by adult females and being displaced from the best feeding areas, Berger theorized that orphans incur greater metabolic costs and expend more energy in deep snow. Why orphans were attacked more was not clear, but Berger raised the possibility that mothers were trying to maintain more resources for their own offspring.

"These findings highlight the importance of maternal presence rather than body size and suggest policy changes may be warranted in how harvest quotas are set," said Berger. "In some circumstances, the shooting of mothers with young has been permitted under the assumption that calf survival is minimally affected. Clearly, that is not the case."

In another development from the study, Berger pioneered a new method to estimate the size of juveniles without resorting to immobilization by darting or netting by helicopters – both methods that are stressful to wildlife. Instead, Berger used photogrammetry—a process of using photographs to determine the properties of objects. Digitally measuring head sizes on photographs enabled estimation of juvenile body mass in a quick and non-invasive fashion.

Berger said, "Other methods of acquiring data on large animals are exhaustive, expensive and more invasive. Photogrammetric assessment has shown to be accurate, widely deployable and much easier on the animals and scientists, and the findings in this study illustrate the method can be used to inform conservation planning."

Besides their critical role as a top omnivore, Bears can provide us with clues on how to improve our lives........When people stop eating, we burn fat and muscle............ Bears maintain muscle during hibernation, losing less than 30 percent of their muscle strength after 110 days................ People who are eating, but confined to bed for 90 days lose 50 percent strength! ..............Astronauts can lose about 10 percent of their strength in just 17 days in space.............. Medically, the secrets of black bear hibernation and the hormone-like substances found in hibernating bears may someday help preserve transplant organs, stabilize wounded soldiers, counteract the effects of zero gravity on astronauts, or treat arteriosclerosis and reduce heart attacks.

Guest Opinion: Wondrous Critters: Astounding adaptations of the black bear

EDITOR'S NOTE: Summer bear season is in full swing. Colorado Parks and Wildlife provides this article to help Coloradans to better understand our wild neighbors, and to remind everyone to keep attractants out of the reach of bears.

Bears are bundles of biological bewilderment! Yet, people who clean up after overnight ursine raids on garbage cans may not see it that way. When bears are emboldened to bash birdfeeders and break into houses … well, biology holds no favor with the homeowner.

But while wildlife managers advise thousands of people about black bear conflicts each year, we rarely get to describe why Colorado's bears are unique and scientifically intriguing or in layman's terms, "cool."

Black Bear

For homeowners, understanding bear biology can help protect property and prevent wild bears from becoming "nuisance bears." Bear biology is also a great conversation starter —"Did you know bears are 'super hibernators?'" Black bears hibernate for over 100 days without eating, drinking, urinating, defecating, or exercising. Instead they survive the winter by converting fat tissues into water and energy.

When people stop eating, we burn fat and muscle. Bears maintain muscle during hibernation, losing less than 30 percent of their muscle strength after 110 days. People who are eating, but confined to bed for 90 days lose 50 percent strength! Astronauts can lose about 10 percent of their strength in just 17 days in space. Medically, the secrets of black bear hibernation and the hormone-like substances found in hibernating bears may someday help preserve transplant organs, stabilize wounded soldiers, counteract the effects of zero gravity on astronauts, or treat arteriosclerosis and reduce heart attacks.

Bear cubs are born in January during hibernation. Amazingly, large female bears give birth to tiny cubs. A female black bear is 200 times heavier than her 12-ounce newborn. This is due in part to her giving birth to premature cubs.

"Preemie" cubs are born nearly naked, with their eyes closed. They weigh and measure the same as a can of soda. They gain weight rapidly, nourished on energetically rich milk. Scientists believe that mystery ingredients in black bear milk might someday increase the survival and growth rates of premature human infants.

Black bears, Colorado's only bear species, are omnivores. Omnivore comes from Latin: omnis, meaning all and vorare, meaning to devour. About 85 percent of a black bear's diet is plant material. The remaining 15 percent is often, carrion and insects. However, they can and do kill other animals including livestock. In Colorado, their primary foods are grasses, flowers, berries, acorns, beetle larvae and ants.

Grizzly Bear

People, too, are omnivores with a general intestinal tract nearly identical to a bear's. Consequently black bears are adapted to eating acorns and miller moths, as well as the leftover casserole that migrated to the back of the refrigerator and eventually into the garbage. Raiding garbage may be a learned behavior, but ironically it is completely natural. Human-food provides a caloric advantage over "natural" foods. Chokecherries hold about 750 calories per pound and crickets 550. But compare that with our food: a pound of fried chicken, 1,200 calories; the average slice of pepperoni pizza 290 calories. The major metabolic advantage of acquiring human-food is the ratio of calories-in to calories-out. Example: lifting a dumpster lid to consume the concentrated calories inside, nets more calories than tearing logs apart to rake out insects.

Bears are noses with legs! Here's an old saying: "A pine needle fell in the forest. The eagle saw it. The deer heard it. The bear smelled it." A sense of smell helps bears avoid predators, find mates, cubs and, of course, food. A bear's sense of smell is seven times better than a bloodhound and 2,100 times better than ours. Bears can smell animal carcasses from miles away. A bear can smell your trash even when it's sealed in a plastic bag. Bears can climb up trees, over fences or onto deck rails. They can roll boulders and carry animal carcasses. So, of course, they can reach a birdfeeder dangling off a deck; and they can break a car window left open a crack to get a French fry under the seat.

Bears are extremely intelligent and have long memories. They can travel over 100 miles away from home, turn and walk a straight line back. They remember how to get to a small patch of oaks where they can find acorns. They also remember that your neighbor leaves trash out overnight.

We have much more to learn about black bears. Future generations will benefit from much of what we learn. Medically or ecologically, black bears are important native, wild animals, without which the wonder and beauty of Colorado's wild places grows a bit dimmer.

Patt Dorsey is the area wildlife manager for Colorado Parks and Wildlife in Durango.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Del Weniger was a Professor of biology at Our Lady of the Lake University in San Antonio Texas and was a preeminent researcher of Texas wildlife for over 50 years................Del spent many hours investigating and analyzing whatever was written down by the early explorers and pioneers of Texas............ His family and friends remember the great pleasure he took in finding new journals or letters of early explorers or settlers who recorded what they saw as they traveled Texas............ His deep sense of stewardship of the earth and its gifts was evident in his teaching, his lectures, his volunteer work, and his ecological consultation for federal and local agencies.............Del's THE EXPLORERS' TEXAS; VOL.2; THE ANIMALS THEY FOUND is one of the classic compilation books detailing first hand accounts of the explorers, soldiers and early naturalists who pushed into Texas beginning in the 15th Century-----You will love his assesment of the journal accounts below of "El Tigre", the Jaguar and how Americas biggest Cat roamed the Texas landscape well into the mid and later 19th century-------Indeed, critical habitat should be created in Texas as well as what has been proposed for safe-guarded lands in New Mexico and Ariizona for the beautiful and mighty Jaguar


While not common to European settlers who explored and settled  what we now call Texas, the Jaguar(up to 250 pounds) did in fact call the Lone-Star State home

With short ears and massive head, the shape of the Jaguar most reminded early explorers of the Old World Tiger and/or Leopard................In fact, "El Tigre"(Jaguar) fel in betweenthese two felines in size and coloration..........

The original word for the Jaguar was the Indian word Jaguara(carnivore that overcomes its prey at a single bound)...........

The Talon brothers in 1685 noted Lindhboth "lions(Pumas) and tigers(Jaguars) in their diary accounts of the region............

Moore said the tiger(Jaguar) is spotted whereas the the Catamount(Puma) was not

Lindheimer made the distinction between Jaguar and Puma clear when he wrote from Mexico that lions(without mane) and tigers are not infrequen here.

Bracht calle the jaguar the beautifully spotted American tiger,,,, andn the American lion he called cougar, panther or puma

In 1857, Spencer Baird in in RAILROAD REPORTS listed the American Panther and The Jaguar or American tiger as two separate species

By 1847 Bracht wrote , "unfortunately I have seen only 3 Jaguar skins, and high prices were paid for these"

However Audubon in 1854 wrote: The Jaguar is known to exist in Texas and in a few localities is not very rare, although it is far from being abundant throughout the state"

Audubon went on to say: " General Houston told us that the Jaguar abudnant on the headwaters of some of the easterntributaries of the Rio Grande, the Guadaloupe, etc"

Indeed, the Jaguar appeared in the mid 19th century to solidly occupy the western hill country

Audubon went further: "Towards the west and southwest, the Jaguar extends to the mountainous country beyond El Paso"(into what we now call New Mexico)

Baird, who was the official zoologist for the 1857 Railroad Surveys sadi Jaguars were found in North Texas as far north as the Red River

In East Texas, Almonte listed Jaguars in 1835 on the lower Brazos......General Houston had found the Jaguar east of the San Jacinto River in Louisiana

Bailey noted that the Jaguar once was common over southern Texas and occcupying the whole of the eastern part of Louisiana

An anonymous writer in 1846 stated: "The real beasts of prey, the Jaguar and the local wolf, small and fearful, do damage to the herds at times, but they fear man"

A search back through all of my early Texas sources shows not one unprovoked attack by a Jaguar on a man

Nelson and Goldman's exhaustive and technical work on Jaguars states that "Jaguars are very destructive to large animals but they are completely lacking in the fercious aggresiveness sometimes shown by old world leopards toward man

Alberta, Canada is creating six new conservation areas that total three times the size of Banff National Park......... Existing conventional oil and natural gas tenures will be honoured in the protected areas and oilsands development will not be allowed unless access can be had from outside the boundaries through, for example, horizontal drilling........... That means talks will begin for 19 energy companies on cancelling their leases and compensating them............... No new tenures will be sold.............Simon Dyer of the environmental think-tank Pembina Institute called the plan a good start but cautioned that the plan only protects around 20 per cent of caribou habitat in the region and caribou continue to decline.............

Alberta tries again to balance oilsands, environment in plan for lower Athabasca

Bob Weber, Canadian Press
EDMONTON — The Alberta government is enacting a sweeping plan for its controversial oilsands region in another attempt to balance development and the environment.
"Alberta's last period of hyper-growth clearly demonstrated the need for responsible long-term use planning," Environment Minister Diana McQueen said Wednesday as she announced the plan for the lower Athabasca region."In a new time of strong growth, the need to plan for the area that contains our main economic driver is abundantly clear."

The strategy, which comes into force Sept.1, creates six new conservation areas that total three times the size of Banff National Park. Existing conventional oil and natural gas tenures will be honoured in the protected areas. But no oilsands development will be allowed unless access can be had from outside the boundaries through, for example, horizontal drilling. That means talks will begin for 19 energy companies on cancelling their leases and compensating them. No new tenures will be sold.

The plan also increases protected habitat for threatened woodland caribou by prohibiting energy and forestry activity in the Dillon River Conservation Region, which is to be expanded from 27,000 hectares to 192,000 hectares.

The plan also legally commits the government to establish contaminant limits for air, surface and ground water, and sets up firm timetables for that to be done. McQueen said the limits will be legally enforceable through the regulatory system.

"There will be thresholds and triggers and targets. We will work with industry so that they will know they can't go over those numbers."

The plan addresses infrastructure and planning concerns in Fort McMurray, and also promises tourism opportunities through nine new provincial recreation areas. A regional trail system is also promised.McQueen said it will cost about $30 million to set up infrastructure for the new parks.Simon Dyer of the environmental think-tank Pembina Institute called the plan a good start.

He said it was "problematic" to allow existing energy and mineral tenures to continue in conservation areas, but welcomed the exclusion of oilsands mining. He did point out that the conservation areas are clustered where there is little bitumen.

"I think we're going to have to revisit this, particularly around caribou," Dyer said. "The plan only protects around 20 per cent of caribou habitat in the region and caribou continue to decline."
Nor does it address the growing greenhouse gas emissions from the oilsands, he said. "Alberta needs to take a similar level of seriousness to address growing greenhouse gas pollution."

David Pryce of the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers said the plan is one that the industry can live with."The overall product is very good," he said. "The province tried very hard to strike a balance over where the value of the resource is and I think they've done a pretty good job of it."

Pryce said companies that will lose oilsands leases are likely to seek compensation for both the value of the lease and the profits they won't be able to earn."The lost opportunity cost is an important part of the discussion for industry."The purchase value of the leases is about $30 million, said McQueen.

Two previous attempts to provide some sort of planning for the region foundered. Alberta introduced its first try strategy in 2005. It proposed that oilsands extraction would be the priority in the entire area. Environmentalists called it a formula for turning the entire region over to industry and the plan was rapidly shot down.

The next one, the first draft of what will come into effect in September, was introduced by Mel Knight, who was environment minister at the time, in April 2011. Energy companies quickly voiced concerns that that version would mean they'd lose access to some oilsands deposits that some firms had already bought leases for. They wanted to know how they would be compensated.
Environmentalists still didn't like it either. They pointed out the plan would allow all proposed oilsands developments to proceed — even in protected areas. They also said the plan deliberately avoided setting aside land in areas where development pressure was heaviest.

That draft died after all Tory candidates vying to replace retiring premier Ed Stelmach backed away from it, including his eventual successor Alison Redford.

The latest land-use plan is intended as the first of seven that will ultimately cover the entire province and guide its development.
It's part of the government's response to both Canadian and international critics that oilsands development has gone too far, too fast, and that it has outstripped the government's ability to regulate it.

That response also includes an extensive and expanded program of environmental monitoring for the oilsands region being implemented by the federal and provincial governments.Monitoring work has begun, but the province has yet to detail how it will be funded and how much independence it will have. A report on how it should be overseen was delivered to both levels of government at the end of June, but has not yet been made public.