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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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Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Chris Spatz and John Laundre of COUGAR REWILDING have just published their part 2(of a 3 part series) on the urgent need and rightful implementation of a NATIONAL COUGAR RECOVERY PLAN .................Citing compelling statistics revealing California with the highest human population of any state,,,,,,,,,,,,,,how the 5000 Pumas that reside in California are not allowed to be hunted by state law,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,how there are relatively few human/puma conflicts in this state,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,how Pumas find a way to persist in both the greater LA and San Francisco urban corridors without causing havoc,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,the case is made for states like NY, Maine, Georgia(and others) to be able to effectively house 1000 Pumas each,,,,,,,,,,,,,with the forests in those states to gain tremendously through the reduction of deer( lyme disease reduction as well as a recovery of the myriad plant species that have been nubbed to ground by deer proliferation)...............As Spatz and Laundre point out, a change in how state game agencies are funded has to also take place so that hunters, farmers and ranchers(who represent perhaps 10% of the USA population) are just one small voice governing wildlife management decisions and that the rest of us "civilians" also are heard loud and clear on the subject......................And all signs point to us civilians wanting Pumas(and wolves) back in our woodlands!------A good read below as you click on the link

Click here to read COUGAR REWILDINGS Part 2; Federal Jurisdiction, Broad Public Support, and the Ecological Imperative for a National Cougar Recovery Plan

A couple of years ago, our friend Roland Kays created a slide show documenting and discussing how and when the Coyote first migrated into New York State............When he first sent it to me. I found the pictures, historical accounts and scientific theory that he espoused to be informative and vivid in it's pictorial analysis..............I always meant to Post it but somehow it got lost amidst other papers and such.....................So, finding it yesterday was a treat for me,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,and I hope also for you as we vault into the New Year.



Director, Biodiversity and

 Earth Observation Lab

B.S. (Biology) Cornell University, 1993
Ph.D. (Zoology) University of Tennessee, 1999

Roland Kays

Other Appointments

Research Associate Professor, Fisheries, Wildlife & Conservation
 Program, NC State University
Research Associate, Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History
Research Associate, Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute

Research Interests

Roland Kays is a zoologist with a broad interest in ecology and
conservation, especially of mammals. He seeks out questions that
 are scientifically interesting but also have real-world relevance
 through educational or conservation value. He is an expert in
 using new technologies to study free-ranging animals, especially
to track their movement with telemetry, GPS, and remote camera
traps. He combines this high-tech work with traditional methods,
 collecting data through new field work and studies of museum collections.
For more on Roland's Research please visit these links:
Movebank animal tracking page (
eMammal camera trapping page (
Agouti Enterprise research blog (

Selected Publications

Kays, R., Curtis, A., & Kirchman, J. J. (2009). Rapid adaptive
evolution of northeastern coyotes via hybridization with wolves.
 Biol Lett, 6, 89–93. doi:10.1098/rsbl.2009.0575

Kays, R. W., & Wilson, D. E. (2011). Mammals of North
America — Smart Phone App. Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton
 University Press.

Monday, December 30, 2013

I am guessing that most of us who read this blog are focused on the charismatic and trophic top carnivores that sit at the top of the chain in our natural systems...........Professor Etienne Benson at the U. of Penn was of similar mind over his career that has focused on the history of these large and dominant animals.............A few weeks back, Benson took a different course publishing a peer reviewed article on the ubiquitous Eastern Gray Squirrel whose existence is known by all who live east of the Mississippi regardless of whether they be city, suburban or rural dweller..........Benson informs us that "by the mid-19th century, squirrels had been eradicated from cities"............. "In order to end up with squirrels in the middle of cities, you had to transform the urban landscape by planting trees and building parks and changing the way that people behave"............"People had to stop shooting squirrels and start feeding them"............... "The first documented introduction occurred in Philadelphia's Franklin Square in 1847"............"Other introductions followed in Boston and New Haven in the 1850s". ................"These early releases were small in scale, and intended to "beautify and add interest to the parks"..................."Releases began anew in the 1870s, this time on a larger scale as expansive parks were built in New York, Boston, Washington, D.C., Chicago and other cities, providing welcoming habitat for squirrels to live and thrive". ..................."By the mid-1880s, the squirrel population in Central Park was estimated at 1,500"........................"By the time the environmental movement took hold in the 1960s and 1970s, squirrels in the urban environment were no longer widely seen as morally significant members of the community and instead began to be viewed with a more ecological mindset". .............."Ideas of letting them live out life "as nature intended" took a stronger hold".

History of American urban squirrel

History of American Urban Squirrel

 — Until recently, Etienne Benson, an assistant professor in the University of Pennsylvania's Department of History and Sociology of Science, has trained his academic eye on the history of conservation of large, charismatic wildlife, such as tigers, grizzly bears and orcas.

With his latest publication, however, he consciously chose to investigate a creature that may be considered less exotic, and is certainly smaller.
"I wanted to write about something a bit closer to home, about things we see and encounter every day," Benson said. "I wanted to shift the focus to the urban and the quotidian and, in some sense, the trivial, to see what we can learn by looking at trivial nature, or nature that is at risk of being interpreted as trivial."
So he turned his attention to the squirrel

A cartoon from the Harvard Lampoon from 1903 speaks to the ubiquity of gray squirrels in Boston, as well as many other American cities, around the turn of the 20th century. (Credit: L.F. Peck, "Hi, Mister! Scramble a Nut?" Harvard Lampoon, Vol. 46, No. 6 (Dec. 17, 1903), 121. Harvard University Archives, HUK 510.)
His paper, "The Urbanization of the Eastern Gray Squirrel in the United States," published in the December issue of the Journal of American History, examines how the now-ubiquitous bushy-tailed critters found homes in American cities, and how their presence there altered people's conceptions of nature and community.
Benson explains that though many people may think that squirrels have simply persisted in urban landscapes since Europeans arrived in the U.S., their presence is actually the result of intentional introductions.
"By the mid-19th century, squirrels had been eradicated from cities," he said. "In order to end up with squirrels in the middle of cities, you had to transform the urban landscape by planting trees and building parks and changing the way that people behave. People had to stop shooting squirrels and start feeding them."
In researching the history of squirrels in American cities, Benson found the first documented introduction occurred in Philadelphia's Franklin Square in 1847. Other introductions followed in Boston and New Haven in the 1850s. These early releases were small in scale, and intended to "beautify and add interest to the parks," Benson says.

These "squirrel experiments" ended by the 1860s, when many of the cities' squirrel populations had died out or were killed amid concern that they would disturb birds and consequently lead to insect problems. But releases began anew in the 1870s, this time on a larger scale as expansive parks were built in New York, Boston, Washington, D.C., Chicago and other cities, providing welcoming habitat for squirrels to live and thrive. By the mid-1880s, the squirrel population in Central Park was estimated at 1,500.
The presence of squirrels in cities at this time "started getting tied up with the parks movement led by Frederick Law Olmstead," Benson said. "It was related to the idea that you want to have things of beauty in the city, but it was also part of a much broader ideology that says that nature in the city is essential to maintaining people's health and sanity, and to providing leisure opportunities for workers who cannot travel outside the city."
Benson also found signs in his research that squirrels played another important role for city residents, particularly children: as moral educators.
"Feeding squirrels becomes adopted as a way of encouraging humane behavior," Benson said.
He found several sources, from children's literature to writings of Ernest Thompson Seton, the cofounder of the Boy Scouts, that indicated that feeding squirrels was seen as a way to teach children how to be kind, both to human and nonhuman animals, and "cure them of their tendency toward cruelty."
Though people also fed other urban animals, such as pigeons, at the time, Benson suspected that squirrels might have occupied a unique position, perhaps in part because humans connect more easily with mammals. He wrote that "squirrels' readiness to trust humans and their ability to flourish in the heart of the city seemed to make them living proof of the rewards of extending charity and community beyond the bounds of humanity."

By the first couple of decades of the 20th century, some of the rosy glow toward squirrels had faded, Benson noted. Booming populations began to annoy some city residents, as the animals took up residence in attics, bit people trying to feed them, dug up gardens and scared away songbirds from feeders.
By the time the environmental movement took hold in the 1960s and 1970s, Benson argued, squirrels in the urban environment were no longer widely seen as morally significant members of the community and instead began to be viewed with a more ecological mindset. Ideas of letting them live out life "as nature intended" took a stronger hold.
"There is a shift at the end of the 20th century, where it becomes almost a crime or a sin to feed animals, which is entirely the opposite of where it was earlier," he said.
Next, Benson plans to explore how wildlife has been impacted by human-built infrastructure, an idea spurred on by a scene he routinely observes from his Philadelphia home.
"From my back porch I can see two or three squirrels that regularly use a wire to get across the road," he says. "I want to look at how the systems we build get appropriated by other organisms, and think about how nonhumans are cobbling together their own infrastructure systems to live in human-dominated landscapes.

With very little research on the habits of the Wolverine in Northern Alberta, Canada, the U. of Ablerta is currently undertaking a project to determine their population, distribution, favored habitat and how they are faring with oil and gas exploration projects.............Always rare and widely distributed, the researchers have already caught and tagged 5 of the creatures,,,,,,,,,,,,,,something that USA Wolverine scientists must be licking their chops about(only about 100 or so of the animals in the lower 48)................With the goal of tagging an unprecedented 13 Wolverines prior to this coming April, we will keep our eye on what these Canadian researchers discover over the months ahead

Researchers catch and collar elusive wolverines in northern Alberta

Researchers catch and collar elusive wolverines in northern Alberta

Matthew Scrafford, left, and Mike Jokinen are part of a team of researchers working in northern Alberta to catch wolverines and putting GPS collars on them in order to learn more about the “data deficient” animal.

EDMONTON - This winter, researchers in northern Alberta are getting closer than they’ve ever been to an elusive and notoriously ferocious animal.“It’s pretty surreal to be looking into the trap and have this creature inside that’s so reclusive,” said Matthew Scrafford, a University of Alberta PhD student.

Scrafford is heading an ambitious project that involves catching wolverines and fitting them with GPS tracking collars to learn more about wolverine distribution, habitat, behaviour, and the effects of the oil, gas and forestry industries on the animals.

“The northern boreal forest is supposed to be a stronghold for them, but because there is so little research, we don’t actually know,” Scrafford said.

Mike Jokinen, a biologist with the Alberta Conservation Association, is creating a series of short videos on the project. The association is helping fund the work through a $20,000 research grant and is fundraising for the collars, which cost $3,100 apiece.
“We know very little about wolverines in the province,” Jokinen said. “They’re considered data-deficient.”

Fourteen hand-built log traps were placed in the wilderness west of High Level in late November. Scrafford and his team caught and collared five wolverines — two male and three female — in the first 12 days, an impressive feat for an animal rarely seen.The goal is to collar 13 wolverines before next April, a time frame concurrent with when bears in the area hibernate.“Getting 13 collars on would be amazing, it would be unprecedented for wolverine studies,” Scrafford said.

Jokinen has been involved with the wolverine project since it began about two years ago, when the Alberta Trappers’ Association approached the conservation association about studying wolverines.
“We wanted it to be trapper-based, to use our bush skills, our wildlife knowledge, and our ability to get into remote areas, good wolverine habitat,” said Bill Abercrombie, a board member with the Alberta Trappers’ Association.

The organizations developed a project that saw wolverines lured to platforms where remote trail cameras were set up, along with clips that could collect hair samples for DNA analysis.“The knowledge the trappers have is incredible,” Jokinen said. Last winter, about 25 trappers participated in the project.

Advancements in technology, including GPS tracking collars and trail cameras, have helped researchers in other parts of the world learn more about wolverines, and now it’s Alberta’s turn.

This year’s live trapping project with the University of Alberta builds on the earlier work, and continues the goal of collecting data that will inform how Alberta’s wolverine population is managed.Scrafford said trapping wolverines, sedating them and fitting them with collars requires “a really good routine.”“The capture goes so quickly because everyone is so focused on their jobs,” Scrafford said. “When we put the animal back into the trap and step back, that’s when I start thinking about it. To have this wild animal, a wolverine, right there, it’s been a pretty amazing experience.”

So even the Federal Judge who "greenlighted" Idaho's Wolf killing derby was not able to(thankfully)give a leg up to those participants whose goal was to shoot as many wolves as they could------Those 200 Derby entrants in Idaho came up empty over the recent two day hunt but did succeed in massacring(that is a just adjective to describe this type behaviour) 21 Coyotes................The fact that Idaho continues to liberalize it's wolf hunting season in an attempt to have only the bare Federally mandated minimum population,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,The fact that there are still folks like Steve Alder(Director for Idaho wildlife) who feel that we cannot seem to kill enough wolves-----even with "Predator Derbys", makes me wonder if our elementary, middle and High Schools should require all of us to learn about the the circle of life and why all species including carnivores have a role to play in keeping our planet functioning in an optimum way----and yes, not detract from our economic pursuits...........The "Predator Derby" folks do not seem to understand that while sheer number of carnivores might not get reduced over a hunting season, the disruption of Pack behavior through our persecution often leads to increased conflicts with both us and our livestock.........Many of you will find this Posting disheartening but it is important to understand that a deeply ingrained "we have a right to kill wolves, bears, coyotes, pumas, et al.exists not only in the Rocky Mountain States,,,,,,,,,,,,,,but everywhere in our great land(Coyote killing derbys in NY, etc).............For many people, it is their literal interpretation of many bible passages that infer that all living things are here for us................For others, it is about economics and business and anything that gets in the way of those pursuits must be eliminated.................And for untold millions, it is ignorance and fear regarding having to co-exist with creatures who could kill us and our pets.....................Let us re-double our efforts of educating the public about wildlife and natural systems in 2014 and not just point fingers at those that we deem "off the grid"-------If we really want to succeed at rewilding and not just talk about It, then all the enviro Organizations need to mobilize and utilize every type medium to reshape the discussion from the current carnivores are in the way of progress to there can only be real progress when carnivores are back fulfilling their intended ecological functions---------------Education is the only way to wear down the prejudices and misconceptions that only seem to be growing in the first 13 years of the new Century

Steve Alder
Idaho For Wildlife

 Idaho For Wildlife Predator Derby results

By  Steve Alder, Director for  Idaho for Wildlife
December 29. 2013 5:05 PM

ZERO wolves were harvested during this predator derby!  21 Coyotes were taken.

We had over 200 hunters in the field for two days. Let this be an educational moment for the radical anti-hunter environmental groups. Sport hunting for wolves is not a very effective tool to manage wolves. This is why IDFG has implemented trapping and other control methods to better manage wolves. World renowned wolf expert Dr. David Mech has admitted, "That to hold a wolf population stationary it requires an annual take of 28-50% per year." Dr. Mech also stated that "Normal regulated public harvest such as is contemplated in the NRM is usually unable to reduce wolf populations. IDFG's own 2011 Idaho IDFG Predation management Plan for the Lolo and Selway Elk Zones that isn't being followed claims, "Wolf removal rates of 30-35% or less typically do not cause any long-term changes in wolf abundance, while sustained removals of 40% or more may cause long-term reductions."

 I can assure you that in the last two days while  this derby was taking place, more wolves and wolf pups died in Idaho's back country due to starvation and or cannibalism from other wolves due to the depleted prey base. Since the well being of wolves is predicated on the ungulate prey base, once that prey base is eliminated, the wolves will kill themselves off or starve. They do not self regulate.  The urbanites and wolf advocates need to understand the ungulate prey base controls wolves. Wolves do not control the prey. This is why wolves must be controlled and yes killed!

 A picture that disheartens----kill as many Wolves as you can(not from this Derby, another hunt)

Attached are elk hunter harvest graphs in the vicinity of where the Salmon wolf derby took place. These graphs contain elk harvest numbers from  1989-2012. This data reveals why Salmon Sportsmen are frustrated with the damages caused by wolves.  The average Salmon medium household income is approximately $12,000 below the average Idaho income. In 2009, the income of Salmon residents was 35.5% below the national poverty level                 

Elk are very important to rural  Idahoans. Sustenance hunting is still very crucial to those who are financially strapped.  The Attached PDF, (Wolves) contains a 2009 study that suggests wolves are costing  Idaho approximately  7-24 million per year in revenue.  Idaho Fish and game revenues are down considerably for this reason. It is estimated that each elk provides an average of $750.00 in value to Idahoans.

We want to apologize in advance to the radical anti-hunting enviro's. We will not be publishing or flaunting  any photos of dead animals so you can exploit this opportunity to play upon the emotions of the naïve for your next fund raising campaign.

Best Regards,


Sunday, December 29, 2013

Many of you might have already seen the wildlife cam video of the Bears in Alberta, Canada scratching away on a "bear tree"......Glenn Naylor, an Alberta, Canada Parks Officer who edited the video calls it---- "What goes on when you are not there.''..............The clip that was made in July was featured on multiple TV shows in the U.S., including "The Colbert Report"...............It sparked interest from news outlets as far as Japan and has even drawn the interest of BBC producers who are now considering featuring Alberta's grizzlies on a new show....... The video was reposted on the official Alberta Parks page, where it has currently been viewed more than 2.5 million times.............It is this type of exposure through social media that has to become a constant tool of environmental organizations if they(we) are to win the hearts and minds of the American public as it relates to rewilding and carnivore restoration

Alberta bear video fuels conservation talk

Naylor's video can be found at:

Alberta bear video fuels conservation talk

It started as a simple project a parks officer worked on in his spare time, ballooned into an Internet sensation and now a viral video of Alberta's grizzlies is drawing international attention to the province's wildlife and conservation efforts.
For the 58-year-old Alberta Parks officer behind the flick, the reaction has been hard to believe.
"It means a lot to me," said Glenn Naylor, who called his video "What goes on when you are not there.''
"We need to keep bears on the landscape, we need to find ways to ensure that we can live with them, interact with them, recreate with them safely, and this video is really helping."
The clip that was made in July was featured on multiple TV shows in the U.S., including "The Colbert Report," sparked interest from news outlets as far as Japan and has even drawn the interest of BBC producers who are now considering featuring Alberta's grizzlies on a new show.
"They were going to go somewhere else but then they saw the video and they thought they'd like to come here," he said of the British producers, one of whom will be travelling to Alberta in January to see if the province's bruins can be featured on their series.
Naylor made his video using a sequence of still images from motion-sensor cameras placed in the wild. More than 100 such cameras that are checked every month are spread out over Alberta's Kananaskis region for research and monitoring purposes.

When going through the images, Naylor realized certain sequences provided incredible insight into animal activity when humans weren't around. The conservation officer decided to string together a few of those sequences using video editing software at home and first came up with a short clip of a black bear in the wild.
After getting a positive reaction from his peers, Naylor decided to make a longer video that was focused on a "rubbing tree" visited by a variety of wildlife through day and night.
A group of grizzlies were undoubtedly the stars of that clip as they froclicked in the foliage, revelled in rubbing their backs on the bark and contorted themselves into a variety of positions as they left their scent on the tree.
"It just gives a glimpse into one of the things that they do and how they use these rub trees to communicate," Naylor said of the video. "What I'm hoping it will do is prompt more investigation into bears and how bears behave. And hopefully even more so about how to interact with bears safely, how can I go hiking safely, how can I live in bear country safely."
After setting the video to music from Toronto guitarist Ewan Dobson, Naylor wanted to share his completed project with a wildlife program but the file was too big to email. To get around the problem he decided to post the clip on YouTube.
"I didn't really think about it much and then a couple of days later, I just happened to go on there to do something and there were 375,000 views. And I go wow, something's going on here," said Naylor.

Initially, Naylor panicked, because the video had images that belonged to the government and had been posted onto his personal YouTube account. After telling his workplace about the situation, the video was reposted on the official Alberta Parks page, where it has currently been viewed more than 2.5 million times.
"It's giving exposure to bear behaviour. It's giving huge exposure to Alberta Parks all over the world," said Naylor. "It's also given a lot of awareness to our bear research or wildlife research and wildlife conservation programs we are involved in here, because a lot of people ask about that."
The video has also led Alberta Parks to task a group of employees, including Naylor, to look at better ways to market their initiatives through social media.
Meanwhile, Naylor still plans on doing more videos.
His next project will be called "Rabbit with a death wish" — he just has to find time to put it together.
Naylor's video can be found at:
By Diana Mehta, The Canadian Press

Back in 2006, a Science Teacher in Connecticut named Tom Pepe finished up an 8 year research project evaluating the Eastern Coyote population of Central Connecticut............He discovered that the Coyotes average life span varies between 2 and 5 years,,,,,,,,,,,, that annual litters of pups averages 7,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,that Eastern Coyotes(or Coywolves as Massachusetts biologist Jon Way refers to them) average 35 to 60 pounds,,,,,,,,,,,,,,that these Coyotes contain 15 to 20% Eastern Wolf DNA(which accounts for their larger size versus the 15 to 30 pound Coyotes found in our mid western, south eastern and western states and that they are truly omnivorous, lovers of fuits as wel as turkeys, rabbits, deer and insects

Thesis shows coyotes living comfortably in local area 

By Dan Champagne 
Record-Journal staff  October 14, 2006 

It took Tom Pepe a year and a half to capture his first coyote. Day after day he baited traps with meat from road kill and played a tape of coyote sounds through a weatherproof speaker near the trap. When he finally caught one in the spring of 2001, his hands-on research officially began. 

  Pepe, a 32-year-old Meriden resident, recently finished about eight years of research on the ecology of coyotes in Connecticut. He wrote a thesis paper for his master's degree in wildlife biology from Southern Connecticut State University and was awarded a fellowship grant for $10,000 to continue his work "This is just a lot of fun for me," said Pepe, a 1992 Platt High School graduate. "I love being out in the wilderness and doing some research on these fascinating animals that people around here don't know too much about. It's amazing to watch how they live and survive, and think about if we as humans would be able to do the same thing."

  Pepe, a chemistry, biology and general science teacher at E.O. Smith High School in Storrs, began his research in 1998 by talking to hunters and farm owners about their experiences with coyotes before he set out to capture them in 2001. He said his fascination with wildlife dates back to his childhood, when he would visit family in Vermont nearly every weekend and during his summer vacations. 

  From the spring of 2001 to the spring of 2002, Pepe captured seven coyotes using various trapping methods and equipped four of them with radio collars, which allowed him to track their movement. He had permits through the state Department of Environmental Protection to capture the coyotes. He found the coyotes at places such as the Meriden-Markham Airport, the woods next to Hubbard Park and near North Farms Reservoir in Wallingford. 

  His father has his pilot's license and the pair would take a plane equipped with a tracking device from Meriden-Markham Airport to survey the coyotes' movement. His study area encompassed 1,217.3 square kilometers around Central Connecticut, including Meriden, Wallingford, Cheshire and Southington. 

  "These things are everywhere around here," he said. "It's really a great environment for them here because of the food availability with lots of deer, as well as the terrain they are comfortable with."

  Pepe found that coyotes in Central Connecticut typically occupy small territories and said he believed there are more coyotes per square mile in Connecticut than in northern New England, although he was unable to guess how many are now living in Connecticut.
  "He's done an awful lot of work on his own, with a focus on their behavior and activities," said Dwight Smith, Pepe's advisor and chairman of the biology department at Southern Connecticut State University. "He's basically very good at self-starting and has been very good on this coyote project. I think everyone knew they were here, but nobody knew exactly where they were and what they were doing." 

  Before collaring the coyotes with a tracking device, Pepe anesthetized them and took blood samples to check their DNA for wolf hybridization and ran tests for heartworm and Lyme Disease. The samples were run through the East Side Veterinary Clinic in Meriden. 

  He also learned through his research that a typical litter is about seven pups, although only four usually survive the first year. The coyotes usually eat rabbits, deer and wild turkeys, but could survive on fruits and insects. 
 Some of the pups survive that first difficult year by raiding trash cans or eating cats, he said. 

  "They're very common throughout Connecticut because they're very adaptable animals," said Paul Rego, a wildlife biologist for the state Department of Environmental Protection. "They use all types of habitats, from forest to wetlands, and they'll eat a variety of foods. They're growing more adaptable every year." 

  Pepe hopes his thesis paper will get published and plans to submit it to local universities and the Department of Environmental Protection. He said he would love to continue researching coyotes and has helped form a group at his high school—the E.O. Smith Wildlife Society—to help with that research. Three of the four collared coyotes were still in the area as of late August and he wants students in the school group to help gather information on them. 

  "I absolutely love doing this and I like to share that with other people," Pepe said. "I'd do this my whole life if people keep letting me."Facts about coyotes 
  Some findings from Tom Pepe's thesis on the ecology of coyotes in Connecticut:

  - Coyotes came to the state from Canada because of the abundance of food, including a large deer population.
  - Average weight of coyotes in Connecticut is about 35 pounds and could go up to around 60 pounds.
  - Average life span of coyotes in Connecticut is 2 to 5 years.
  - Average litter is seven pups, although only four typically make it through the first year.
  - The DNA makeup of coyotes in Connecticut is 15 to 20 percent gray wolf.
  - When a female coyote is pregnant, she and her mate will often build a den in the spring six to eight feet underground.

Our friend and Puma Wikepedia author Rick Lanman sent me a peer reviewed article entitlted DO BEAVER DAMS IMPEDE THE MOVEMENT OF TROUT?....................Not only are Beavers natures natural engineers as it relates to creating biodiverse wetlands and ponds, they apparently also aid our native trout in their battle to survive against invasions of non-native European Brown Trout..................In the West, Beaver Dams do not stop Cutthroat Trout in their river travels and likely are not impediments to Brook Trout in the east........The Dams do stop the Brown Trout from passing through them.........Our fishermen readers now have new found respect for the animal that pitted England, Spain, France and Holland in a 200 year struggle for domination over North America



Dams created by North American beavers Castor canadensis (hereafter, “beavers”) have numerous effects on stream habitat use by trout. Many of these changes to the stream are seen as positive, and many stream restoration projects seek either to reintroduce beavers or to mimic the habitat that they create.

 The extent to which beaver dams act as movement barriers to salmonids and whether successful dam passage differs among species are topics of frequent speculation and warrant further research. We investigated beaver dam passage by three trout species in two northern Utah streams. We captured 1,375 trout above and below 21 beaver dams and fitted them with PIT tags to establish whether fish passed the dams and to identify downstream and upstream passage; 187 individual trout were observed to make 481 passes of the 21 beaver dams. Native Bonneville Cutthroat Trout Oncorhynchus clarkii utah passed dams more frequently than nonnative Brown Trout Salmo trutta and nonnative Brook Trout Salvelinus fontinalis.

European Brown Trout

Cutthroat Trout in western usa

Brook Trout in eastern usa

Beaver creating their dam

We determined that spawn timing affected seasonal changes in dam passage for each species. Physical characteristics of dams, such as height and upstream location, affected the passage of each species. Movement behaviors of each trout species were also evaluated to help explain the observed patterns of dam passage.

 Our results suggest that beaver dams are not acting as movement barriers for Bonneville Cutthroat Trout or Brook Trout but may be impeding the movements of invasive Brown Trout.
Received November 26, 2012; accepted April 15, 2013


Saturday, December 28, 2013

It is not often in the LONE STAR STATE of Texas that you hear a scientifically sound tenet being voiced regarding wildlife management,,,,,,,,,,,Gov. Rick Perry seems to be of the "shoot it and shovel it" mentality as evidenced by his bragging about killing a Coyote while out with his dog a few years back.................The fact that Lynsey Dasher of the Humane Society had the "cajones" to speak about Coyote co-existence this past week in Austin is to her credit considering that Austin Mayon Dave Claunch is of the opinion that killing the alpha male in a given territory will relieve human and pet conflicts for a period of time..................Even the Mayor acknowledges that another pack will "reconfigure" the region so therefore constant killing is his answer to Coyotes in his midst.............Unfortunately, his paradigm not only brings on "Pack reconfigurement", it also likely increases the density of Coyotes in a particular region as often two family units will split up a given region where historically one family group lived after we humans kill the exisitng pack members..............Wake up Mr. Mayor!!!!!!!

Coyotes can be trained to fear, avoid humans, experts say

Coyotes can be trained to fear, avoid humans, experts say

Coyotes can be trained to fear, avoid humans, experts say photo
A coyote wanders on Black Beauty Ranch in Murchison, Texas. Experts say that coyote attacks on humans are extremely rare, though they have been known to attack cats and dogs.
Austin Community Newspapers Staff
Coyotes are always testing the humans around them, experts say.
The small canine is testing humans when they wander into someone’s yard. They’re testing them when they nibble on pet food on a porch. They’re testing them when they see a human let a cat or dog out unattended.
“If they come to eat the fruit on the ground and nothing happens, the next time they might come onto the porch and eat the pet food, and nothing happens,” said Lynsey Dasher, director of the U.S. Humane Society’s wildlife conflict resolution department.
Coyotes are not a danger to humans, including small children, and they will keep away from humans if humans teach coyotes to be scared of them, according to Dasher, who gave a joint presentation with the city of Austin Dec. 19 at the Austin City Hall.
Every time anyone sees a coyote, they should wave their arms and be noisy to chase the coyote away, Dasher said. She also encourages people to charge at coyotes. Don’t stop reacting to the coyote until it is gone.
This will teach coyotes to be afraid of humans and reduce the chances of coyotes encroaching in areas where humans are, she said. Coyote families typically learn from this behavior after witnessing it two to three times.
Yelling at a coyote from inside a car or house or behind something is not effective, she said.
“No one, including the police, are going to haze a coyote for you,” Dasher said. “You’re going to have to do it yourself.”
Children can also learn to do this, though if parents aren’t comfortable with that tactic, then they can teach children to back away slowly from coyotes while keeping eye contact, Dasher said. Don’t run away from a coyote because it triggers an instinct to chase.
There are exceptions to this rule, she said. If the coyote is cornered, obviously injured or ill to the point of lying down, or if it has pups with it, you don’t want to charge a coyote.
Dasher also encouraged people to get rid of things that attract coyotes: fruit on the ground, unsecured trash and outdoor pet food.
Gardens will also draw coyotes into yards, she said.
While attacks on humans are extremely rare, it’s fairly common for coyotes to attack unattended pets. Coyotes will attack roaming cats and off-leash small dogs for food; they may attack off-leash large dogs because they feel threatened, Dasher said.
If you encounter a coyote while with a pet, eliminating the risk is fairly easy, she said. If your pet is small, pick it up; if your dog is large, put yourself between the coyote and the dog.
The city of West Lake Hills has hired a trapper to kill the alpha male of a pack after hearing from concerned citizens who live on or near Las Brisas Drive. Some of those lost a pet to a coyote, according to residents.
Dasher said she doesn’t believe that’s an effective way of addressing the problem.
“Other coyotes aren’t going to know that coyote was killed because it killed a pet, so it doesn’t teach anything,” she said.
Mayor Dave Claunch said other experts say otherwise.
“Our stance has been that when you trap and remove the alpha male from a pack, as we did a few years ago, it does result in an immediate change of behavior for the rest of the pack that reduces the risk to our community,” he said. “It may be true that that benefit wears off overtime as the pack reconfigures and a new alpha male rises to lead the group, but our constituents were very clear about what they expect from the city about this particular coyote problem in this particular neighborhood.”
The trapper is affiliated with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Claunch said. City officials have met with him and have given him the names of some residents in the Las Brisas area where he plans to set traps. Claunch did not know if traps had yet been set or if any coyotes had been caught.
“My personal preference would not be to trap and kill coyotes, but if there were a large coyote in my immediate neighborhood, threatening people and pets the way this coyote has been reportedly threatening these resident, I would want that coyote removed as well,” Claunch said.
West Lake Hills resident Melody Lytle, a retired biologist who used to work for Austin’s Protected and Endangered Species Department, attended Dasher’s seminar. She does not believe in trapping coyotes, she said.
“I’ve participated in the control of animals,” Lytle said. “I’m realistic about it. This is a situation in which lethal means are ineffective.”
Other coyote facts from Dasher’s presentation:
  • “It’s actually pretty rare for coyotes to attack a deer, but deer die for other reasons, and coyotes will prey on them,” Dasher said.
  • Coyotes can distort their voices to sound like several, “so one coyote can often sound like 20 coyotes,” she said.
  • Those near fire or police stations may notice that they howl at sirens. “We don’t know why,” she said.
  • Rabies in coyotes is rare, she said.
“If they get it, they usually just die right away,” she said.

Despite warming temperatures and faster snowmelts, Lynx have been migrating out of their core Maine breeding range and taking up residence in northern Vermont and New Hampshire...............The "Big Pawed" Cats are being seen with more frequency by Wildlife Experts with perhaps 6 of the animals now at home in the Nulhegan Basin Wildlife Refuge in Vermont's Northeast Kingdom..............Historically associated with deep and long lasting into early Spring snow cover, Lynx likely existed as far south as Northern NJ and Pennsylvania during the colder "Little Ice Age" weather paradigm that existed in the Northeast up into the mid 1800's(significantly colder weather patterns existed in North Americas Northeast from the Middle Ages up and through the mid 19th Century before gradual warming began to take place in the region)...................Just as Moose somehow are somehow bucking the warm weather obstacles and moving south into NY and Massachusetts, we welcome the Lynx back and hope that conditions allow their continuance


Canada lynx may be on rise in northeast Vermont

Dec 28, 2013 12:02pm
MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) — Although rarely seen, the Canada lynx appears to be increasing in number in Vermont's Northeast Kingdom, an encouraging sign for a species the state considers endangered.

Refuge Manager Mark Maghini (mah-GIN'-ee) of the Nulhegan Basin wildlife refuge says as many as six or more of the snow-loving cats may live in the area. The 20-inch tall animal is known for its large feet, which act as snowshoes.

In the last century, the elusive animals were pushed out of the state — and many other parts of the country — largely because of the destruction of their forest habitat.

The federal government lists Canada lynx as threatened, while Vermont gives the species the more critical designation of endangered.


Our friend Helen Mcginnis followed up with me regarding this weeks Post on Washington State Puma hunting------As the Large Carnivore Lab Researchers at Washington State University have discovered and documented,,,,,, "(Puma)Complaints and depredations were most strongly associated with cougars harvested the previous year............... "The odds of increased complaints and livestock depredations increased dramatically (36 to 240%) with increased cougar harvest"........... "We suggest that increased young male immigration, social disruption of cougar populations, and associated changes in space use by cougars - caused by increased hunting resulted in the increased complaints and livestock depredations"............ "Widespread indiscriminate hunting does not appear to be an effective preventative and remedial method for reducing predator complaints and livestock depredations".................It is more and more recognized by Wildlife Professionals that human hunting and killing of Carnivores (Pumas, Wolves, Bears, Coyotes) seems to result in increased livestock depredations and human conflicts rather than less conflicts!

Read the open-access, full-text article here:

Effects of Remedial Sport Hunting on Cougar Complaints and Livestock Depredations(11/19/13 PLOS ONE Open Access

Remedial sport hunting of predators is often used to reduce predator populations and associated complaints and livestock depredations. We assessed the effects of remedial sport hunting on reducing cougar complaints and livestock depredations in Washington from 2005 to 2010 (6 years). The number of complaints, livestock depredations, cougars harvested, estimated cougar populations, human population and livestock populations were calculated for all 39 counties and 136 GMUs (game management units) in Washington. 

The data was then analyzed using a negative binomial generalized linear model to test for the expected negative relationship between the number of complaints and depredations in the current year with the number of cougars harvested the previous year. As expected, we found that complaints and depredations were positively associated with human population, livestock population, and cougar population. 

However, contrary to expectations we found that complaints and depredations were most strongly associated with cougars harvested the previous year. The odds of increased complaints and livestock depredations increased dramatically (36 to 240%) with increased cougar harvest. We suggest that increased young male immigration, social disruption of cougar populations, and associated changes in space use by cougars - caused by increased hunting resulted in the increased complaints and livestock depredations. Widespread indiscriminate hunting does not appear to be an effective preventative and remedial method for reducing predator complaints and livestock depredations.

Jay Ellis, a former Morgan Stanley Money Fund Equity Manager has created a new end-marketplace for recreational ranch buyers that has land restoration and rewilding solidly in it's business plan.............. This is a new concept for an investment fund............Up until now, no one has created high end ranches for the market.............. The idea is to develop the ultimate wildlife property, hospitable for a menagerie of wildlife and miles of rehabilitated river teeming with trout.................... . The ranches are within 40 minutes of an airfield, town and ski resorts.............. And all have lots of water............. The more water, the more valuable the property............... This concept is working very well in the Rocky Mountain West with many Land Easement Organizations actually working side by side with this Equity Fund to locate such properties with the hope that the new owners will consider putting their land under a Conservation Easement.................Would this type "farmland for Profit" type fund work in our Eastern, southern and Midwestern States??????????????????

Sent by

Restoring Ranch Land

 for a Profit, and a ?

Trout Dividend? -

Sporting Ranch Capital
 Management, a private
 equity firm, raises money
 from investors to buy ranches
 that it can fix up and resell.
Or, copy and paste this URL into your browser:

Equity firm creates new model for sporting ranches in Western states - By Jason Blevins
e Denver Post



Restoring Ranch Land for a Profit, and a ‘Trout Dividend’

Jeffrey D. Allred for The New York Times“We’re not trying to play God, just trying to help things out,” said Mr. Skelton.
Jay Ellis, right, with Shannon Skelton, at a Utah ranch.Jeffrey D. Allred for The New York TimesJay Ellis, right, with Shannon Skelton, at a Utah ranch.
Matt Eastman, a consultant for Freestone River Ranch, a private fishing retreat being developed near Park City, Utah, does some fly fishing.Jeffrey D. Allred for The New York TimesMatt Eastman, a consultant for Freestone River Ranch, a private fishing retreat being developed near Park City, Utah, does some fly fishing.

From the road skirting its property line, Freestone River Ranch looks like a flat, cattle-trodden pasture flanked by rolling hills. But Jay Ellis, founder of the private equityfirm Sporting Ranch Capital Management, sees something sparkling in the distance. He slams on the brakes and jumps out of his rented sport utility vehicle to get a closer look at one of the dozens of natural springs spilling out from small aqueducts. “You could fill up your water bottle and drink it,” he says excitedly. “It’s that pure.”
Mr. Ellis isn’t particularly interested in drinking this water. The real value he saw when he bought this 204-acre ranch a year ago was as a premier private fishing retreat 20 minutes from Park City.
“Lots of people own expensive houses in Park City, but I guarantee you nobody owns a ranch like this one,” Mr. Ellis said. Before he bought the property, he called local real estate agents to find out what it would cost to buy a couple of hundred acres near town with a few miles of riverfront. “They told me it doesn’t exist,” he said.

When Mr. Ellis, a fellow Oklahoman who ranMorgan Stanley’s institutional sales office in Dallas, pitched the idea, “it was a natural fit,” said Mr. Pickens, who is a prolific landowner himself. His 68,000-acre Texas Panhandle ranch sits atop one of largest aquifers in the country.This logic — that sporting ranches near desirable destinations are a rare commodity — is the basis of an investment fund that Mr. Ellis started in 2012. The idea is novel, but it has also attracted attention for its association with T. Boone Pickens, the billionaire oilman.
“Over the years, I’ve bought and sold ranches and improved them every time,” said Mr. Pickens, who favors quail hunting to fishing. Preservation is “a much better use of the land,” he said. And the timing for such a fund was right, Mr. Pickens added, thanks to a recovering economy and a natural gas boom that is bankrolling new buyers.
Mr. Pickens agreed to invest in the fund, sit on the board and make some introductions, with the stipulation that Mr. Ellis quit his job to work on the fund full time. “I gave my notice that day,” said Mr. Ellis, who now wears Carhartt pants and work boots in his new role.
While roughly half of the fund’s investors own their own ranch property and are investing because they understand the space, Mr. Ellis said, many are motivated by what he calls a “trout dividend,” the opportunity to fish and hunt on these private parcels before they are sold. The fund is “conservatively targeting returns in the high teens,” he said.
The first fund raised $30 million among a dozen limited partners and is now fully invested with five properties in Colorado, Idaho, New Mexico and Utah. Over the last year, the fund has also restored nearly three miles of river on a 760-acre parcel outside Pagosa Springs, Colo.; enhanced roughly two miles of river, added four lakes and skeet shooting on 518 acres in New Mexico; and started work on a private Yellowstone cutthroat trout fishery near Driggs, Idaho. Mr. Ellis is planning to put all five ranches on the market in 2014 and is confident that these “pristine trophy properties” will sell quickly. Mr. Ellis is now raising a second fund, for $50 million.
Sporting Ranch Capital is not the first private equity fund to pursue this model. Beartooth Capital closed the first of its two funds in 2006 and has roughly $70 million under management. The fund, which is based in Bozeman, Mont., also places great emphasis on river restoration — it has restored 37 miles of river and creek — but its business plan does not hinge exclusively on selling trophy ranches to private buyers. Of the roughly 25,000 acres Beartooth has acquired, 53 percent is either under conservation easement or has been sold to conservation buyers.
“This is an asset everyone wants, but either the price is ridiculous or the property needs too much work,” Mr. Ellis said, adding that his focus is on improving the fishing habitat to lure private buyers willing to pay a premium. “Buyers typically don’t have the time or patience to do the work themselves.”
Those landowners who do try to improve the fishing on their creeks and rivers often do so in a way that’s “unnatural and contrived,” said Shannon Skelton, a former fly-fishing guide and aquatic biologist who runs CFI Global Fisheries Management in Fort Collins, Colo., which has managed the restoration of the ranches in Colorado and Utah. “If a section of river is functioning hydraulically and biologically, we find out why and try to duplicate that,” he said. “We’re not trying to play God, just trying to help things out.”
Water rights are a critical component, and each property comes with its own caveats, Mr. Ellis said. Different states have rules about stocking fish. It’s an option in some, but in others, like Utah, owners need to wait for nature to take its course.
Every property has its nuances, but Freestone River Ranch in Utah is a textbook example of how Mr. Ellis sees his strategy playing out. When he received a call about the ranch late last year, he was intrigued by the property’s 8,400 feet of Upper Provo River frontage. On closer inspection, though, he realized that the biggest return would come from restoring the nearly 12,000 feet of spring creek that ran parallel to the river and intersected it at the bottom of the property. It is fed by dozens of cold springs that keep the water at a near-constant 58 degrees year round.
Mr. Ellis bought the property from the Mormon Church last December for an undisclosed amount. “They saw it as a denigrated cattle ranch that couldn’t be developed,” he said. “I saw unlimited water resources.”
A year ago, the creek had no fish. It had been sliced, diced and diverted for irrigation and reduced to a two-foot ditch void of any vegetation. “Livestock were left to graze all along that corridor,” Mr. Skelton said. There was “tremendous bank degradation, erosion and the water quality was suffering.”
“I started poking around on that spring creek and found aquatic insects that are indicators of super productive environments,” Mr. Skelton said. “The fact they were present in that system that had been utilized as agricultural property was very encouraging.”
Working with a small crew wielding heavy equipment, Mr. Skelton spent the summer making small changes along the river — adding riffles and fishing holes — and reshaping the spring creek by closing the irrigation channels, building log drops, adding woody debris and replanting vegetation — all vital to the insects that fish feed on. The crew added eight oxbows — off-channel ponds that are ideal habitat for young fish and casting. Finally, they widened the channel connecting the creek and the river and added terraced pools. “Before, it was basically a fish barrier,” Mr. Skelton said. Brown trout were already finding their way up into the creek in November, when Mr. Skelton and his crew were wrapping up work for the season. “I can’t tell you the amount of times I’ve built something and, as I’m sitting there watching the water clear, I’ll see fish flop right into what I just built,” Mr. Skelton said. “For that moment, the world is perfect.”
All told, Mr. Ellis invested about $1 million in the property, with most of it going to improving the spring creek and making small improvements on the river. Other than replacing the barbed-wire fence with buck and rail, he’ll do little else to the property. Future buyers, he said, will want to make their own decisions about the size and style of home they want to build. While the goal is to develop the property in as natural a way as possible, the strategy isn’t without risks or complications. It requires extensive permitting — a task that Mr. Ellis assigns to a local in each region. Water flows are also a critical component because they can fluctuate greatly from season to season. Mr. Skelton, for his part, spends time tracking down and studying historic patterns. “One thing we can’t change is water temperatures and historic flow regimes,” he said.
There’s always the risk of local opposition, though environmental groups are generally supportive of such restoration projects. Mr. Ellis said he frequently receives leads on properties from land trusts and conservation alliances. He doesn’t put conservation easements on the property — doing so, he said, can cut its value by 40 percent — but “we will strongly encourage our buyers to be land stewards,” he said. “Once you buy one of these beautiful places, it would be silly to start cutting it up.”
A version of this article appears in print on 12/27/2013, on page B1 of the NewYork edition with

 the headline: Restoring Ranch Land for a Profit, and a ‘Trout Dividend’.
In order to be considered for acquisition properties must have stunning beauty, live water (the more water a property has, the more value it creates) and proximity to amenities including:
  • Airport
  • Ski Resort
  • Hunting & Fishing
  • Medical Facilities
  • Retail, Restaurants & Entertainment
Properties must also have characteristics that can be enhanced including:
  • Access Issues
  • Lack of Utilities
  • Neglected Fishing Habitat
  • Poor Aesthetics
  • Low Quality Fencing
  • Unsightly Structures and Equipment
  • Overlooked Income Generation Components
  • Lack of Conservation Programs
SRCM has sources that provide investigation and legal services for:
  • Restrictions
  • Floodplain
  • Mineral Rights
  • Environmental Investigation
  • Porperty Surveys
  • Divisibility Issues
  • Project Estimates
  • Conservation Easements
  • Access
  • UCC Searches
  • Septic Feasibility
  • Habitat Enhancements
  • Water Rights
  • Title Matters
  • Local Zoning
  • Building Inspections