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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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Sunday, June 30, 2013

Our most environmentally senstive hoofed browser, the Caribou is under siege across it's North American range...................In essence gone from the northern USA(save a few animals in Washingtons Selkirk Mtns), human road building, mineral extraction operations, ski runs and all things "development" lead to Caribou degradation and population plummet..................Labrador's Red Wine Caribou are on the verge of blinking out with yet another human proposed transmission line project set to be a "nail in the coffin" for theherd

Federal agency warns of harm to caribou herd              

— File photo by Ashley Fitzpatrick/The Telegram
— File photo by Ashley Fitzpatrick/The Telegram

 Muskrat Falls line project will have minor impact, but cumulative effects significant

The Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency (CEAA) has issued a warning of dangers faced by the Red Wine caribou herd, suggesting cumulative effects of industrial activity — including all parts of the Lower Churchill development — are placing the herd "under significant pressure."
The warning came within a 113-page comprehensive study of the environmental review work completed for the Labrador-Island Transmission Link to date. The study was published online by the CEAA Thursday and copies can be made available upon request.
"While the (transmission line) project itself is likely to result in minor, adverse, but nonsignificant environmental effects on the Red Wine Mountains Herd, the herd continues to be under significant pressure when taking into account other projects and activities," the report states.
"The (CEAA) therefore concludes that the project — when cumulative environmental effects are taken into account — is likely to cause significant adverse environmental effects on the Red Wine Mountains Herd, even if the project itself will only minimally contribute to these effects."
The federal Department of Environment is asking for comments from the CEAA document, before the federal Environment minister decides whether or not the link project, on its own, will causesignificant adverse environmental effects. The CEAA report noted Nalcor Energy is already bringing in "extensive measures" to mitigate any negative effects on the province's caribou herds.

Nalcor has previously stated the already-threatened Red Wine herd is expected to continue to decline in number, with or without the transmission line project. That statement echoes those made in a 2012 National Recovery Strategy for Woodland caribou, prepared under the Species at Risk Act, the CEAA notes.
Since 1989, the herd's population dropped by about 85 per cent, leaving its total number today at 75 to 100 animals and falling.
As part of its findings relating to the Muskrat Falls project and other developments, the CEAA is recommending Nalcor take on followup work regarding the herd, including watching for off-road vehicle use in areas where the herd is active and monitoring caribou activity in the project area, with the monitoring plan approved by the Department of Environment and Conservation.
The Labrador-Island Link is estimated to take about five years to complete and the construction work will require creation of temporary construction camps, marshalling yards, laydown areas and new access roads — 160 kilometres in Central and Southeastern Labrador.
As for environmental assessment, the province has released the dam at Muskrat Falls, the Labrador-Island Link and the Maritime Link from further review.

Elk have shown that they will cross major rivers like the MISSOUIR,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,This was a revelation to Montana Wildlife Officials who documented that 8 of the 25 Elk that they had been observing crossed the Missouri this Spring.................There are no natural barriers to wildlife----Only man stands in the way of rewilding through our land alteration and over hunting activities

Cow Elk Brave Even Major River Crossings, Study Reveals


Cow Elk

Many cow elk are not afraid to cross wide sections of the mighty Missouri River during springtime travel, a Montana's Fish, Wildlife and Parks (FWP) biologists reported in the Billings Gazette. (Photo : Reuters)
Cow elk are less timid than expected when it comes to crossing wide sections of even the mighty Missouri River during springtime travel, a Montana's Fish, Wildlife and Parks (FWP) biologists reported in the Billings Gazette.
By fitting groups of the animal in the northeastern region of the state with GPS collars, the scientists found one-third of the 25 elk tagged in one hunting district moved south across the Missouri River and into another one.
"They may move back in the hunting season," Mark Sullivan, a wildlife manager, said.
He further explained that the elk herds in the hunting districts where the cows were collared are 300 animals above the FWP's population goals, while herds in the east are only slightly above or at theirs.
"We were a lot higher above the objective five years ago," Sullivan told the local news outlet, "but we've been cutting back on antlerless licenses as we have gotten closer to objective."
While more information will not be available for another two years when the collars are programmed to drop off the animals for pickup, the study currently offers a great deal of insight into the study's main objective: finding out where the elk roam during different times of the year.
To fulfill this aim, the collars emit a trackable radio signal every two hours while a recent monitoring flight confirmed its most recent report.
Meanwhile, the scientists report, bighorn sheep in the same region are thriving as well, with their population peaking about six years ago.
"Ram numbers are still really strong, and hunters are shooting some huge ones," Sullivan said.
In one area, the FWP was able to increase the number of ewe tags from five to 10 for 2013 to prevent disease outbreaks, which often result from high densities.
Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for the deer, antelope and upland game bird populations that call northeastern Montana home - all of whom saw their numbers plummet in the severe winter of 2010-2011.
Sullivan explained that antelope populations are expected to rebound given the mild nature of the latest winter; however, the summer came with a vengeance for white-tailed deer currently facing an outbreak of the deadly epizootic hemorrhagic disease. 

The back and forth debate about Federal Delisting of Grizzly Bears in the Greater Yellowstone got louder this past week with THE CENTER FOR BIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY joining other Conservation Groups in urging the USFW Service to delay the delisting based on State Game Agencies time after time utilizing the "stick rather than the carrot" in their managing of other charismatic carnivores like Wolves and Pumas........"This plan would reverse nearly 30 years of hard-fought progress toward restoring Yellowstone’s magnificent grizzlies"............... "It would put bears that have been recovering right back in intensive care,” said Louisa Willcox, a northern Rockies conservationist with the Center............... “By condemning Yellowstone’s grizzlies to permanent isolation from other grizzly bears, this plan would rob the iconic bears of a secure and healthy future"

Conservation Groups raise their voice on plan to hand over Grizzly management to states
By Summit Voice;
FRISCO — Conservation groups led by the Center for Biological Diversitysay a federal plan for Yellowstone grizzly bears puts their fate in the hands of states that are “culturally hostile” to large carnivores. The recovery plan could put grizzlies back on the road toward extinction, the group warned in their comments to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
Wildlife conservation advocates are also worried that the plan doesn’t do enough to safeguard connectivity between populations. They want the federal wildlife agency to maintain Endangered Species Act protections for the bears until these issues can be resolved.
“This plan would reverse nearly 30 years of hard-fought progress toward restoring Yellowstone’s magnificent grizzlies. It would put bears that have been recovering right back in intensive care,” said Louisa Willcox, a northern Rockies conservationist with the Center. “By condemning Yellowstone’s grizzlies to permanent isolation from other grizzly bears, this plan would rob the iconic bears of a secure and healthy future.”
The comment period for the recovery plan closed last week. More than 40,000 Center activists from around the country, as well as a number of preeminent scientists, submitted comments raising serious concerns that it falls short of what’s needed to recover Yellowstone’s grizzlies.
The plan locks grizzly bears out of crucial habitat they will need to compensate for the recent collapse of two out of four of Yellowstone’s key grizzly bear foods. Climate change and the introduction of nonnative species have devastated both whitebark pine and cutthroat trout, forcing bears to forage for food more closely to people, where, not surprisingly, they are coming into greater conflict and dying at unsustainably high rates.
Instead of redoubling efforts to reduce bear deaths, the Fish and Wildlife Service is exacerbating the problem by paving the way for the states to allow hunting of grizzly bears.“By turning the keys to management over to Wyoming, Idaho and Montana, which are culturally hostile to large carnivores, Fish and Wildlife will recreate the very conditions that landed the grizzly bear on the endangered species list in 1975,” said Willcox.
Within 200 years after European settlement, grizzly bears were hunted to the brink of extinction. Without the protections afforded by the Endangered Species Act, grizzly bears would likely already be extinct even in the nation’s oldest park, Yellowstone.
Because of their large home ranges and sensitivity to development, grizzly bears are considered barometers of the health of the ecosystems where they live. Where grizzlies are healthy, so are the rich array of other wildlife species — from native fish to bighorn sheep.
The comments from conservation groups also challenge the USFWS’s assessment of grizzly bear populations. After analyzing federal data, independent wildlife biologists say the population is actually declining.“It doesn’t matter if there are 400 or 800 grizzly bears in Yellowstone — if they’re on a downhill slide, as the federal data shows, then they are headed for extinction,” said Willcox. “Unplugging their life support now is tragically wrong, and a clear betrayal of the public trust.”
Earthjustice worked with the Center for Biological Diversity to craft the detailed comments, along with many independent scientists who analyzed the plan and pointed out its significant flaws.

Friday, June 28, 2013

15 miles of land bridging Nova Scotia and New Brunswick Canada is being utilized by the NATURE CONSERVANCY OF CANADA to aid in the procreation of endangered Moose, Lynx, Bobcats and Black Bears................Moose numbers in Nova Scotia have plummeted to about 1000 and the idea behind this so labeled "LOVE CORRIDOR" is to create a land bridge that encourages a gene exchange with Moose(and other charismatic wildlife) from New Brunswick, thus setting the stage for optimum population recruitment and expansion.............

Moose Love Corridor' created to encourage mating for Canada's endangered species

  • A 15-mile strip of land between Nova Scotia and New Brunswick is being protected for moose mating, plus bears, bobcats and lynx
  • The land has been donated by a diplomat to help further the species' cause

  • Number of moose are dwindling because of poaching in the area
  • The Nature Conservancy of Canada, which is running the mating scheme, has dubbed the land the 'moose sex passage' or 'moose sex corridor

Helen Collis;

A crucial stretch of land, dubbed the 'Moose Sex Passage' or 'Moose Love Corridor' is being used to encourage mating for endangered species in Canada.
The thin strip of almost 15 miles bridging Nova Scotia and New Brunswick is being protected to encourage cross-border moose love - thanks to a donation of 845 acres from a former diplomat.

'We're calling it the moose love passage or a sex corridor,' joked Andrew Holland of The Nature Conservancy of Canada, a charity that works to preserve the flora and fauna of the precious 'Chignecto Isthmus' habitat and beyond.

'We hope that this vital area of wilderness will help preserve these endangered species - and give the animals a little fun in the process,' added Mr Holland.
The stunning scenery is also home to endangered bears, Canada lynx and bobcats, which should benefit from the acquisition of the nearby land.
'We still have a lot more work to do, and more land to protect, but this is a very promising step in the right direction,' said Mr Holland.
Protected: The thin strip of land, just almost 15 miles wide, bridges Nova Scotia and New Brunswick

'There are only 1,000 moose left in Nova Scotia so we hope to act as matchmakers by introducing them to other moose in New Brunswick.'
The donor of the land, Mr Derek Burney, is the former Canadian ambassador to the United States.
It is hoped Canadian bobcats will also benefit from the protected area and numbers will improve
He said he was touched and amused by the Moose Sex Project and felt compelled to help out.
'When you conjure it up, you can only smile at the imagery,' he told the Canadian National Post.

'I'm not an expert on moose sex or moose anything, but I think the understanding is that if they can preserve the corridor with things like this then I think there's a good chance the Nova Scotia population will be replenished.'Moose numbers have been badly depleted in Canada due to illegal poaching and destruction of their habitat.
A parasitic disease called Parelaphostrongylus tenuis or 'brainworm' is also responsible for wiping out huge numbers of the beautiful beasts.
Endangered: Canadian lynx also live and breed in the area and are likely to fair well from the protected zone
Endangered: Canadian lynx also live and breed in the area and are likely to fair well from the protected zone

Over the last three years, an average of 40 wild Red Wolf pups were born on the barrier islands of North Carolina where the only wild ranging population of Red Wolves(some say the Eastern Wolf akin to those inhabiting Algonquin Park in Canada) persists in the USA..............100 of these Wolves are in North Carolina today with the USFW Service seeking to continue to expand the population so that the Wolves can stave off interbreeding with Coyotes that has so often taken place as the Wolf population was persecuted into near oblivion.................Discussed here many times is the fact that when a Red(Eastern) Wolf population sinks below a certain threshold and male Wolves find it difficult to find females to mate with,,,,,,,,,,,,,,they will often breed with a female Coyote..............Bottom line is that large numbers of Red Wolves need to be introduced into the East if there is going to be a serious attempt by the Fish and Wildlife folks to do something more than just "babysit" an isolated population against Coyote interloping

34 Critically Endangered Red wolf pups born this season in the wild

The Red Wolf Recovery Program also reported 23 pups from 4 litters born in zoos and nature centres. A. Beyer, USFWS
Additional 23 pups born as part of breeding programme
June 2013. The final red wolf pup count for the 2013 whelping season has been announced as Thirty-four, spread across seven litters in the restored red wolf population in eastern North Carolina, down slightly from recent years' pup counts.

Captive born pup raised by wild wolf
The Red Wolf Recovery Program reported 39 pups from nine litters born in the wild in 2012, 40 pups from 10 litters in 2011, and 43 pups from nine litters in 2010. The Red Wolf Recovery Program also reported 23 pups from 4 litters born in zoos and nature centres participating in the Species Survival Plan captive breeding program. In addition, as part of the efforts to increase the genetic diversity of the wild population, a captive-born pup was fostered into a wild-born litter to be raised as a wild wolf. Reasons for the decline in the number of pups born in the wild this year are not apparent.

World population reduced to just 17 animals
The red wolf (Canis rufus) is one of the world's most endangered wild canids. Once common throughout the south-eastern United States, red wolf populations were decimated by the 1960's due to intensive predator control programs and loss of habitat. A remnant population of red wolves was found along the Gulf Coast of Texas and Louisiana. After being declared an endangered species in 1967, efforts were initiated to locate and capture as many wild red wolves as possible. Of the 17 remaining wolves captured by biologists, 14 became the founders of a successful captive breeding program. Consequently, the United States Fish and Wildlife Service declared red wolves extinct in the wild in 1980.

About 100 red wolves roam their native habitats in five north-eastern North Carolina counties. Photo credit USFWS.About 100 red wolves roam their native habitats in five north-eastern North Carolina counties. Photo credit USFWS.

The first litter of red wolves born in captivity occurred in 1977. By 1987, enough red wolves were bred in captivity to begin a restoration program on Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge in north-eastern North Carolina. Since then, the experimental population area has expanded to include three national wildlife refuges, a Department of Defense bombing range, state-owned lands, and private property, spanning a total of 1.7 million acres.

100 wolves in the wilds
About 100 red wolves roam their native habitats in five north-eastern North Carolina counties. Additionally, nearly 200 red wolves comprise the Species Survival Plan captive breeding program in sites across the United States, still an essential element of red wolf recovery. Interbreeding with the coyote (Canis latrans), a species not native to North Carolina, has been recognized as a threat affecting restoration of red wolves in this section of their historical home range. Currently, the Red Wolf Recovery Program is using adaptive management strategies to reduce the threat of coyotes while building the wild red wolf population in north-eastern North Carolina. In addition, the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission is committed to working with the Fish and Wildlife Service in the development of a comprehensive canid management plan that includes methods for controlling coyote populations and incorporates the conservation goals of the red wolf.

The red wolf is one of two species of wolves in North America, the other being the gray wolf, (Canis lupus). As their name suggests, red wolves are known for the characteristic reddish colour of their fur most apparent behind the ears and along the neck and legs, but are mostly brown and buff coloured with some black along their backs. Intermediate in size to gray wolves and coyotes, the average adult red wolf weighs 45-80 pounds, stands about 26 inches at the shoulder and is about 4 feet long from the tip of the nose to the end of the tail.

Red wolves are social animals that live in packs consisting of a breeding pair and their offspring of different years, typically five to eight animals. Red wolves prey on a variety of wild mammals such as raccoon, rabbit, white-tailed deer, nutria, and other rodents. Most active at dusk and dawn, red wolves are elusive and generally avoid humans and human activity.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

What if the Wolves ruled our Planet and deemed the human population to just be too large in Wisconsin and therefore decreed that as many as 30+ % of them were to be hunted down and killed come this Fall?...............Murder and genocide would be the outcry!.............And like in Montana, Idaho and Wyoming, Wisconsin officials somehow think it is perfectly fine to keep upping the # of Wolves that can be hunted down and destroyed using some artifcially derived "minimum population target" as rationale for the destruction to come.................Never mind that Wolves that harass and kill livestock can already be removed from the population......................The Biologists that inhabit the Wisconsin Natural Resources Agency look us straight in the face and say we endorse raising the number of wolves that can be killed this Fall by 37% (from 201 last year to a kill target of 275 this year)....................How do we stop this madness?...................Why does President Obama stay silent on this issue while he smilingly endorses other game changing issues like gay marriage?..................Why does he not have his Interior Secretary explain to Americans that hunting Carnivores is not the same as hunting deer?..............That Wolves and top Carnivores effectively help keep our lands healthy and functioning by limiting a buildup of any one creature that could screw with our carbon cycle......................that Wolves and Pumas and Bears each in their own way do not effectively do their ecosystem positive work when we blast them to smithereens and screw with their social networks and reproduction regimines...................President Clinton with all his zaniness had the cajones to step up for public lands and Wolves....................President Obama needs to show some of the same!

2013 WI Wolf Hunt Quota Set

  • MADISON - The Natural Resources Board today approved the 2013 Wisconsin wolf season quota of 275 as proposed by the Department of Natural Resources Wolf Advisory Committee.The quota was set with the intention of continuing to reduce the state's wolf population toward management goals.

We have habitat in the southwest good enough to foster Mexican Wolf recovery(if the ranchers do not shoot and poison the wolves),,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,And that same habitat can once again be home to the Jaguar which in colonial times bred and ranged north to San Francisco and across our southwest all the way to Florida and the Carolinas................Not to designate the 1300 square miles in New Mexico and Arizona as Jaguar Critical Habitat as the USFW has proposed would be directly contrary to the spirit of our Endangered Species Act which saids that America should look to rewild a significant portion of every native animals habitat...............The fact that we only have seen solitary individual Jaguars within our borders does not preclude a mated pair from becoming a modern day "Adam & Eve" for the species in the years ahead................Border fence may be necessary to keep out Mexican illegal humans, but there has to be a way for those fences to be designed to let our Jaguars and other wildlife roam back and forth across the man-made designated borders that we have created

Photos show rare jaguar roams S. Arizona mountains

Source: Arizona News;

This photo released by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service shows a remote camera that photographed a rare male jaguar west of the proposed Rosemont Mine site in the mountains southeast of Tucson. The photographs come as federal wildlife officials consider designating more than 1,300 square miles in New Mexico and Arizona as critical habitat for the jaguar. (AP Photo/U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service )

TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) - New photographs show that a rare male jaguar apparently has been roaming in Southern Arizona mountains for at least nine months, indicating the animals are occasionally moving into their historic range from northern Mexico and into the American Southwest.

The Arizona Daily Star reportrd that remote cameras have photographed the big cat in five locations in the Santa Rita Mountains' eastern flank on seven occasions since October. Those photos were taken for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service by University of Arizona cameras after a hunter gave state authorities a photo of a jaguar's tail that he took last September in the Santa Ritas.

The images were provided to the Star this week by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in response to a Freedom of Information Act request. Federally financed remote cameras photographed the jaguar west of the proposed Rosemont Mine site in the mountains southeast of Tucson.

It is the only jaguar known to live in the United States since the 15-year-old cat known as Macho B died in Arizona in March 2009.
The photographs come as federal wildlife officials consider designating more than 1,300 square miles in New Mexico and Arizona as critical habitat for the jaguar. The proposed habitat would include parts of Pima, Santa Cruz and Cochise counties in Arizona, and New Mexico's Hidalgo County. While this habitat isn't as good for jaguars as what exists in Mexico, said Jean Calhoun, an assistant field supervisor in the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's Tucson office, "It's the best (jaguar) habitat we have."

Tim Snow, an Arizona Game and Fish Department nongame specialist, said the area where the photos were shot has prey for the jaguar like deer and javelina. But the new photos don't change the state Game and Fish's opposition to a jaguar critical habitat.
"That solitary male jaguar is no reason for critical habitat. We don't have any breeding pairs," said department spokesman Jim Paxon. "If that was critical habitat, we would still be doing the same thing that we are doing today. We are not harassing that jaguar or modifying normal activities there that are lawful today."

Michael Robinson of the environmental advocacy group Center for Biological Diversity, however, said a habitat is needed in American Southwest. "It's hard to see how an area with possibly the only jaguar living in the wild in the United States ... how that habitat would not be essential to recovery here," he said.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Every so often(few and far between) a Federal Judge shows some "conservative thought"(root word of conservative is to conserve............ Montana District Judge Dana Christensen has halted three logging projects in Federal Forests saying that the USFW Service did not take into account how the "cutting" would impact the Lynx in these regions.........Christensen ruled the Endangered Species Act requires the agencies to determine whether lynx "may be present" there, which is a lesser standard than what the agencies used in concluding lynx don't "occupy" the area..............A tip of the hat for Judge Christensen for being "conservative" in her rulings.

Judge stops 3 logging projects over lynx

The Associated Press
HELENA, Mont. — 
A federal judge this week blocked three Montana logging projects in two national forests, saying the U.S. government did not properly examine the effects the projects might have on lynx and the threatened animal's habitat.
That makes four timber projects since May in which U.S. District Judge Dana Christensen found fault with the U.S. Forest Service and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services' conclusion that cutting and burning in those areas would not significantly harm the big cats' territory.
Canada lynx have been listed as a threatened species under the federal Endangered Species Act since 2000. Fish, Wildlife and Parks says Montana supports the healthiest lynx population in the lower 48 states, with a range over most of the western part of the state.
Two environmentalist groups, the Alliance for the Wild Rockies and the Native Ecosystems Council, are behind the lawsuits challenging all four timber projects.
Alliance executive director Mike Garrity said the lawsuits are meant to scrutinize the U.S. government's every step in approving timber sales to ensure it closely follows the Endangered Species Act.
"They have to do a real analysis," Garrity said Tuesday. "If they just paper over it and they're not doing it based on the best science available, we'll (sue) again."
On Monday, Christensen halted the timber sale of more than 15,600 acres in the Big Belt mountains, saying the Forest Service and the Fish and Wildlife Services approved the project based on a finding that lynx do not occupy the area

The environmental groups say the animals pass through the area, and three collared lynx were tracked in the area between 2004 and 2006.
Christensen ruled the Endangered Species Act requires the agencies to determine whether lynx "may be present" there, which is a lesser standard than what the agencies used in concluding lynx don't "occupy" the area.
That means the government must conduct a biological assessment or provide a written consultation on the possible effects by the project to the habitat.
The judge ordered the two agencies to consult on the issue before he will release his hold on the Cabin Gulch Project.
Helena National Forest spokeswoman Kathy Bushnell said staff from her agency and FWS will meet to coordinate their next steps.
Christensen blocked a 3,000-acre project in the Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest last month for the same reason.
On Tuesday, Christensen halted two more logging projects over thousands of acres in the Gallatin National Forest in southwestern Montana.
The judge said the government approved those projects based on an unreliable conclusion they would not harm the lynx's critical habitat.
The government acknowledges the East Boulder and the Bozeman Municipal Watershed timber projects are within lynx critical habitat, but officials said the area affected is relatively small and would not harm the overall territory the animals rely upon for hunting and denning.
But Christensen said that conclusion was based on a rule that was published three years before critical habitat for lynx was identified in 2009.
The judge said the agencies must consult again on that 2006 rule now that the critical habitat areas have been identified. He blocked the two projects until the rule is revisited or the government comes up with a new conclusion that is not based on the rule.
Copyright The Associated Press

Interesting that Utah Dept. of Wildlife Section Chief Kevin Bunnell is candid enough to go on the record and admit that "predation by cougars is just one of several reasons why adult deer die"........... "And it’s probably not the major reason deer herds in many areas are struggling".....................He goes on to say "In a situation like this(deer #'s decreasing in Utah), temporarily increasing the number of cougars that are taken can allow a deer population to expand".............That's all good and nice Kevin but what is missing is you also saying that the real key to optimizing deer populations is through proper land management(keeping the land intact), modifying human hunter take and limiting human building and developing in core deer reserves............Whether it be deer health or human health, most of us always reach for the medicine rather than trying to prevent the onset of malaise through the proper preventive regimines

Utah deer threatened by Pumas?

- A deer study that’s underway in Utah has provided two things—better information about the number of adult deer that are surviving from year to year and a chance to manage cougars in a way that should benefit deer the most.
Starting with the 2011–2012 cougar hunting season, biologists with the Division of Wildlife Resources would like to make the following changes:
They want to establish nine large cougar management areas in Utah. Each area would have smaller hunting units within it. The units would be used to set hunting permit numbers for the entire area.

After setting permit numbers for each unit in the area, biologists would add the number of permits together. The total number of permits would be the cougar objective for the entire area. Hunting would continue on all of the units in the area until the total objective for the area was reached or the season ended.
One additional factor—the number of female cougars taken in an area—could also result in the hunt in the area closing early. If a certain number of females were taken, the hunt would close early to protect the cougar population in the area.
More precise management
Kevin Bunnell, Wildlife Section chief for the DWR, says creating cougar management areas based on areas in the state where deer have had radio collars placed on them is a more precise way to balance the number of cougars and the number of deer.
“The study is giving us up-to-date information about the deer herds in these areas,” he says.
Bunnell says predation by cougars is just one of several reasons why adult deer die. And it’s probably not the major reason deer herds in many areas are struggling. “But when the number of adult deer in a herd is below average,” Bunnell says, “that’s an indication that cougars might be one of the factors that are limiting the growth of the herd.

“In a situation like this,” he says, “temporarily increasing the number of cougars that are taken can allow a deer population to expand.”
Bunnell says cougars rarely prey on deer fawns. Instead, they focus mostly on adult deer.

While there was wild speculation about the Florida Puma recovery plan being scrapped and abandoned by the USFW Service, we learn from our friends Carmel Severson and Chris Spatz that while the team of biologists that drafted the 2008 recovery plan is being disbanded, a new recovery team is being put in place to fulfill the mission of the 2008 plan................So the article below "speaks with fork tongue"

Recovery of Florida Panthers jeopardized?
A snippet of data came across the news section of the Mountain Lion Foundation’s website recently: the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) announced that it is stepping down from its watchdog role over the endangered Florida Panther, leaving protection of Florida’s state animal in the hands of Florida government. This is troublesome news as the state has a history of siding with habitat-destroying developers over the plants and animals that exist there.
The USFWS withdrew from panther protection in order to “streamline” the permitting process for development projects, leaving Florida with the expectation that the state must adopt the same priorities (such as fracking in the Big Cypress region). It is feared that these actions and attitudes will influence other states to adopt the same disregard for wildlife.
Could this be the start of a nationwide undoing of the Federal Endangered Species Act?

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Get the dogs out of the wood during this upcoming Wisconsin Wolf hunting season.......WOLVES OF DOUGLAS COUNTY advocacy group is making it's case to the Wisconsin Natural Resources Board, today, Wednesday June 26, 2013........see below link for more information about this Group and their objectives in the north woods of Wisconsin

From: Rachel Tilseth []
Sent: Tuesday, June 25, 2013 09:32 PM
To: Meril, Rick
Subject: Wolves of Douglas County Wisconsin
Hi Rick
Can you share this. 
Lizzie goes before the Natural Resources Board Wednesday June 26, 2013 in Wausau Wisconsin to plead the case regarding kill quotas for the wolf hunt that will take place this fall. Lizzie writes for Wolves of Douglas County Wisconsin and is known for her hard hitting factually based editorials.  Lizzie is also the press person/contact for Motorcycle Ride for Wolves,  all proceeds go for DCHS to benefit  lawsuit appeal calling for removal of dogs from the wolf hunt. This fundraising event is being Organized by Wolves of Douglas County and Wisconsin Wolf Front.

Monday, June 24, 2013

In recent years, we have seen the most densely populated state in the union, New Jersey, welcome back the scrappy and resourceful Fisher..............Now, evidence has been cited in Michigan showing that the Fisher is expanding it's range out of the relatively uninhabited(human population) Upper Peninsula south into the more populated Lower Peninsula..............The Eastern half of the USA blinked out for the Fisher toward the end of the 19th century...............As the forests have recovered in sections of what was truly a northern hemisphere rain forest(40-60 inches of rain east of the Mississippi River), remnant Fisher populations have fought their way back and taken their rightful place as denizens of the Eastern woodlands...........Sympatric with their slightly smaller weasel cousins, the American Marten(both occupy similar habitat and consume the same prey base), Fishers have slowed the reintroduction of Martens through direct conflict and killing........................ Published accounts of mortality in unharvested populations of martens have varied (range 53- 95%) widely (reviewed by McCann et al. 2010)............. In neighboring Wisconsin annual adult survival of Martens was 0.81 (N= 34; McCann et al. 2010) in the Chequamegon MPA.................... Fishers were successfully reestablished in the MPAs prior to marten restoration efforts (Kohn et al. 1993), and there is strong evidence that fishers were responsible for at least 40% of the natural marten mortalities reported since 2000 (McCann et al. 2010, J. Woodford, WDNR, unpublished data)

Weasel-like fisher 

returns to



In this undated photo provided by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, a fisher is shown in North Allis Township, Mich., located in Presque Isle County. The fisher, a forest-dwelling mammal that once ranged across Michigan but disappeared from the state in the last century, has recovered strongly in the Upper Peninsula and its presence has now been confirmed at the tip of the Lower Peninsula, officials said Monday, June 24, 2013. (AP Photo/Michigan Department of Natural Resources, Mike O'Meara)

  a fisher is
 shown in North Allis
 Township, Mich., located in 
Presque Isle County. The 
fisher, a forest-dwelling
 mammal that once ranged 
across Michigan but disappeared
 from the state in 
the last century, has recovered
 strongly in the Upper 
Peninsula and its presence has
 now been confirmed 
at the tip of the Lower Peninsula,
 officials said Monday,

 out in Michigan, the
mammal known as the
 fisher has
returned to the tip of
Michigan’s Lower
 Peninsula after making
 a solid recovery
 in the Upper Peninsula,
 state wildlife
officials said Monday.
With short legs, small ears,
 thick, dark
 fur and bushy tails, the
fisher once
roamed the entire state
 but had
disappeared by 1936 as
 mowed down its forest
 habitat and
trappers over-harvested
 those that
remained for their pelts.
 biologists began
 restoration efforts
 in the U.P. in the 1960s,
and within
a few decades the animal
 had bounced
 back sufficiently to allow
 a regulated
 trapping season.
Despite occasional
 reported sightings
 in the northern Lower
Peninsula, the
 Department of Natural
 Resources was
able to confirm the
 presence of a fisher
there only recently.
Melissa and Nate
 Sayers of Onaway
 were walking in
 rural Presque Isle
 County when they
saw what first
 appeared to be a bear
 cub in a tree, the DNR
 said. When it
moved, they realized it
was something else.
american pine marten slightly smaller than the Fisher

When shown photos
 of the animal,
DNR wildlife biologist
Jennifer Kleitch
 went to the location
and confirmed
 they were authentic.
“It’s a neat discovery
 — a good signal
 that things are going
well for the species,
” Kleitch said. “It’s
probably an indicator
 that their habitat is
How fishers could have
reached the area
 is unknown. But there
 have been reports
of animals crossing
 between the two
 peninsulas at the
Straits of Mackinac,
 the 5-mile-wide area
 where Lakes
 Michigan and Huron
converge, when
 the surface freezes
 in winter, she said.
Although sometimes
 referred to as
“fisher cats,” they are
 members of the
 weasel family, which
 also includes minks
and martens. Males
 typically are three to
 four feet long and weigh
 seven to 13 pounds
. Females are slightly
smaller. They feed
 primarily on small and
 mammals such as mice
 and rabbits as
 well as dead deer, fruits
and nuts.
They’re also among the
 few animals with
 the courage to attack
porcupines. The
 nimble fisher will cling
to a tree above
 the porcupine and
repeatedly bite its
 one vulnerable spot
 — its face, said
 Dwayne Etter, a DNR
 wildlife research
Porcupines damage
 softwood trees by
 stripping off bark, so
 it’s good to have a
predator that helps
keep them in check,
Etter said. Fishers
 rarely attack people
 unless they have
rabies or some other
disease. But they’re
 fierce when taking
on fellow mammals.
“All the members of
that family have
attitudes. They think
they’re much bigger
 than they actually are,”
 Etter said. “Even
 tiny weasels are
extremely aggressive.”

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Julia Smith recently completed her Masters Thesis in zoology at Southern Illinois University.........Her paper is entitlted RECOLONIZATION OF THE MIDWESTERN UNITED STATES BY LARGE CARNIVORES: HABITAT SUITABILITY AND HUMAN DIMENSIONS.....................Julia's extensive research and "drill down" included the variables that the most experienced biologists utilize to determine the feasibility of Wolves, Pumas and Bears being able to recolonize and sustain a population------cover type, road density, distance to roads, human density, distance to water and slope.....................Bottom line is that roughly 12% of the entire Midwest can once again "house" all three species if we humans give them a chance to step back into these historical haunts....................Julia, very fine thesis you have crafted here..................Best of luck to you going forward

Julia B. Smith

A Thesis Submitted in Partial
Fulfillment of the Requirements
for the Degree of
Master of Science
in the field of Zoology
Approved by:
Dr. Clayton K. Nielsen, Co-Chair
Dr. Eric C. Hellgren, Co-Chair
Dr. Mae A. Davenport
Graduate School
Southern Illinois University Carbondale
December 5, 2012

JULIA B. SMITH, for the MASTER OF SCIENCE degree in ZOOLOGY, presented on 
December 5, 2012, at Southern Illinois University Carbondale.

MAJOR PROFESSORS: Dr. Clayton K. Nielsen and Dr. Eric C. Hellgren

Large carnivores in the United States are making a comeback following decades of 
systematic eradication. Black bears (Ursus americanus), cougars (Puma concolor), and gray 
wolves (Canis lupus) may recolonize the midwestern United States provided there is substantial 
suitable habitat. However, viability of large carnivore populations is as dependent on social 
acceptance as on biological factors. I developed individual and combined models of suitable 
habitat for black bears, cougars, and wolves in 18 midwestern states using geospatial data, 
expert-opinion surveys, and multi-criteria evaluation. I also assessed attitudes and perceptions of 
Illinois citizens about large carnivores via a mail-in survey.

Experts indicated land cover was the 
most important variable for predicting potential habitat for black bears and cougars; human
density was the most influential variable for wolves. Large, contiguous areas of suitable habitat 
comprised 35%, 21%, and 13% of the study region for wolves, bears, and cougars, respectively. 
About 12% of the region was considered suitable for all 3 species. Arkansas, Minnesota, Texas, 
and Wisconsin had the highest proportions (>40%) of suitable habitat for black bears; Arkansas, 
Michigan, Missouri, Texas, and Wisconsin had the most (≥20%) suitable cougar habitat; and 
only 4 states in the study region contained <29% suitable wolf habitat. Models were validated by 
comparing suitability values of independent sets of known carnivore locations to those of 
random locations, and models appeared accurate. More than 70% of survey respondents (n = 
791) were male and their average age was 60; 55% were hunters. Approximately 40% were ii
unsure about the population status of large carnivores in Illinois; of the remaining respondents, 
most (ranging from 20% for black bears to 41% for cougars) believed the presence of all 3 
species had increased over the past decade.

More residents supported protection (43%) and 
increasing numbers of large carnivores (39%) than opposed them (26%), although support for 
black bears was slightly higher than for cougars and wolves. Rural residents and livestock 
owners were the most likely to want carnivore numbers to decrease and least likely to support 
their protection; higher levels of education corresponded to positive attitudes toward large 
carnivores. My research provides the foundation for well-informed management plans, policy 
decisions, and educational initiatives for large carnivores in midwestern states where large 
carnivore populations have been absent for decades.