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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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Monday, June 30, 2014

As many of you know, Dave Mech is one of the most esteemed Wolf experts in the world, a Senior Research Scientist with the U.S. Geological Survey’s Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center, Adjunct Professor at the University of Minnesota-St. Paul, and Founder of the International Wolf Center in Ely, Minnesota...................Mech's position on Wolf Recovery in the Northern Rocky Mountains is that it was "science based".............With the austere Wolf killing paradigms put into place by Montana, Wyoming and Idaho since Federal Delisting, Professor of Biology, Bradley Bergtrom at Valdosta State University(Valdosta, Georgia) challenges this premise in the current issue of THE WILDLIFE SOCIETY......................His point, detailed below is that the 1994 ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT STATEMENT on Northern Rocky Mountain Wolf recovery stated "that an effective population of 500--which would equate to a total population in the low thousands"-was required for long-term viability.............Researcher Brook(2008) went further and is on the record saying: " Buffering against environmental stochasticity and climate change requires even higher thresholds"................Read both Bergstom's and Mech's perspectives on Wolf recovery below

Wolf Recovery: A Response to Mech
David Mech’s claim in “The Challenge of Wolf Recovery” (Spring 2013) that original recovery goals for wolves reintroduced to the Northern Rocky Mountain (NRM) region were “science-based” is unsubstantiated. “Ten packs and 100 individuals” in each of three recovery areas sustained for three consecutive years represents not population viability analysis (PVA) but the “opinions of recovery team members” (USFWS 1987, 2009), later codified by 16 “Yes” responses to 43 questionnaires sent to biologists during preparation of the environmental impact statement (EIS 1994). The EIS acknowledged, then ignored, that an effective population size (Ne) of 500—which “would equate to a total population in the low thousands”—was required for long-term viability. Buffering against environmental stochasticity and climate change requires even higher thresholds (Brook 2008).

A PVA of the 2009 NRM wolf metapopulation showed it to be unsustainable with harvest levels anticipated post-delisting (Bergstrom et al. 2009). The 37 percent human-caused mortality in the year after initial delisting of wolves in Idaho and Montana is well beyond the rate at which wolf populations will begin long-term declines, because human offtake is strongly additive to total mortality (Creel and Rotella 2010). Human-caused mortality of NRM wolves in 2012 was 34 percent (USFWS 2013), a level unprecedented among species recently removed from the endangered species list.

Mech dismisses concerns about Wyoming’s plan to kill wolves over most of the state because “very few wolves inhabit” the “Predator Zone” (which is most of the state) and thus “biologically nearly all of that portion of Wyoming is inconsequential to Wyoming’s wolf population.” But even the rare disperser may be important. Moreover, of 33 wolf packs outside Yellowstone National Park as of December 2012 (USFWS 2013), Wyoming has committed to sustaining 10, and only in a Trophy Game Management Area between the national parks and the Wind River Reservation. Vague promises in the management plan about “encouraging effective migrants into the population” will likely fail under an aggressive harvest unregulated with respect to breeding or dispersal status (WGFD 2013). Dramatically reducing the pool of potential immigrants and emigrants in dispersal corridors bordering the core reserves in the Greater Yellowstone Area (GYA; vonHoldt et al. 2008, 2010) will reduce gene flow among NRM wolf populations, further reducing Ne, and increasing inbreeding and thus extinction risk of isolated populations. Wolf populations of fewer than 200 are especially vulnerable to mortality of greater than 25 percent and reduced dispersal (Carroll et al. 2014).

The government acknowledged three times that these dispersal corridors were vital to maintaining demographic and genetic connectivity among the three subpopulations of NRM wolves. They did so in the 1994 EIS, in the NRM delisting rule (USFWS 2009; which raised the relisting threshold to 15 packs, 150 animals in each of the three populations), and particularly strongly in 2010 court briefs defending their rejection of Wyoming’s proposed management plan (State of Wyoming v. Salazar 2010). Because GYA is the most isolated of the three NRM wolf populations (vonHoldt et al. 2010), reducing it by half—killing all wolves in Wyoming’s Predator Zone, and most wolves in the Trophy Zone—could be biologically consequential long-term to the entire metapopulation. Suppressing this population near the relisting threshold, reducing interchange with other NRM populations, and annually subjecting it (and the others) to high mortality will heighten extinction risk. In addition, disallowing wolf dispersal south of the Wind River Range will likely prevent recolonization of substantial areas of unoccupied suitable habitat in Colorado (Carroll et al. 2006). Consequently, in my view, Wyoming’s “dispersal sink” management plan will certainly stall, and possibly erode, wolf recovery in prime habitats of the West.

Bradley J. Bergstrom, Professor of Biology, Valdosta State University
Valdosta, Georgia

 Department of Biology          
       Valdosta State University         
       Valdosta, GA 31698-0015           
       TEL 912-333-5770 /-5759
       FAX 912-333-7389


An Ongoing Dilemma for State Managers: The Challenge of Wolf Recovery
As part of an intensive study of wolf predation, biologists with Yellowstone National Park track radio-collared wolves of the Slough Creek Pack in Lamar Valley. Research has revealed that area wolves kill an average of 1.8 elk per wolf each month in winter (with kill rates higher in late winter than in early winter) — data that informs elk herd management. (Courtesy of NPS)

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Dr. Dan Bogan studied eastern coyote ecology and management at Cornell University................... He is currently a Lecturer of Environmental Science at Siena College and works for the New York Dept. of Environmental Conservation(DEC), assisting with coyote and other wildlife management issues.........His recent article in the NEW YORK CONSERVATIONIST MAGAZINE is an excellent overview of the status of the Eastern Coyote(Coywolf) in New York State............. In less than 100 years, "Americas Songdog" now has a foothold in every county in the Empire State, just having recently been spotted on Long Island last year...........The 20-45 pound NY Eastern Coyotes are larger than their 20-25 pound western cousins but still significantly smaller than the Eastern Wolves found in Algonquin Park and the barrier islands of North Carolina(50-100 pounders they are)............As a result, the Eastern Coyote in NY is a scavenger of adult deer, unlike the Wolf which preys directly on adult Whitetails.............Eastern Coyotes do kill fawns in the Spring but recent SUNY College research is showing that Beavers in the Adirondack Mountains of NY are consumed more so than fawns..................Bogan also emphasizes coexistence rather than extermination as the key for long term management of the species..........Enjoy his easy-to-read article below

Coyote range map
Eastern coyotes spread throughout
most of New York in less than six
decades and are now showing up in
New York City and on Long Island.
(Map reprinted from October 1974

Rise of the Eastern Coyote

Understanding coyote ecology will allow us to coexist

By Dan Bogan, Ph.D.

A coyote walked unhurriedly into a field. Pacing slowly, it moved forward, turned, and took two more steps. It focused its attention downward, seemingly seeking something shielded from observation, then moved on. The coyote, a female, squatted and marked a particular tuft of unmown grass with urine. She continued back and forth through the field of green grass tipped with golden seed heads of late summer. Twice the coyote sat and remained relatively motionless, directing her ears, eyes and nose to the ground before moving on. At times she lifted her head, looked around, and seemed unaffected by vehicles motoring along the county route. Drivers failed to notice, too; at least none seemed to brake and watch as the coyote hunted for mice and voles inhabiting the open field along the suburban road.
Pouncing coyote(Photo: Roy Breslawski)
Suddenly, the coyote pounced, arching into the air, reaching out with her front feet extended and striking the ground repeatedly. That mouse or vole got away, but others were not so fortunate. Pinning one to the ground, the coyote bit, then chomped three times before swallowing it whole. After consuming three unidentified rodents in mid afternoon, the coyote moved out of sight, back into the cover of the forest...
In recent years, coyotes have become more conspicuous; at times they are seen hunting in full view during daytime, or crisscrossing roads and neighborhoods, or observed near people and pets. This is partly due to coyotes' increasing populations during the past few decades, and also because of their ability to adapt to their environment, including areas of human development.
Coyotes are explorers and opportunists. They are also survivors, having overcome decades of persecution at the hands of ranchers, landowners, farmers and government agents. Learning more about the natural history of coyotes can help people understand their ecological role and the likely outcome of encounters with them. But first, it is important to consider how coyotes became New York's "top dog."

Coyotes in NY

Historically, wolves inhabited the heavily forested lands of New York. However, as increased logging and farming claimed more habitat, and unregulated hunting and trapping took more wolves (bounties were paid for wolves into the early 1800s), wolf numbers dropped until they were no longer found in the Northeast. Such drastic changes to the state's habitat and wildlife community primed the stage for an unexpected animal-the coyote-to fill the niche left vacant by wolves.
Coyotes were once limited to Midwestern prairies and the arid southwest. However, today, they can be found from the boreal forests of North America to nearly the Panama Canal and from coast to coast. Throughout their range, they inhabit numerous biomes (or ecological communities), including deserts, grasslands and forests-no small feat for any animal. This remarkable range expansion is an increase of 40% from their historic range, and is primarily in response to anthropogenic (manmade) changes. No other carnivore has experienced as large a range expansion.
While coyotes are now widespread in New York, they only recently became established here. Interestingly, they did not enter from the west as one might expect, but instead passed through Canada north of the Great Lakes before turning south into northern New York. By the late 1930s and '40s, coyotes were established in Franklin County, and by the 1980s, coyotes were found throughout the state except in New York City and on Long Island (see map).

In the 1990s, coyotes continued spreading, quietly backfilling suburban areas passed over during their initial surge. Today, sightings of coyotes make headlines in many cities and suburbs. Coyotes even inhabit the Bronx; the only New York City borough attached to upstate and the mainland. On occasion, these stealthy explorers permeate other island boroughs, and when detected in places such as Central Park or the campus of Columbia University, their presence garners a hail of media and police attention. In 2011, someone photographed a coyote in Queens, and in 2013, black-and-white photographic evidence showed a solitary coyote as far east as Bridgehampton, Long Island. Hustling to keep pace with this elusive canid, biologists are preparing to study the implications of a new carnivore on Long Island: the last frontier for coyotes in New York, and the last large landmass unoccupied by coyotes in the east.

Coyote Behavior

While coyotes are classified as carnivores, they actually eat omnivorous diets including a wide variety of animal and plant materials. They are also opportunistic, feeding on whatever food sources are abundant and easily consumed (see "Evolving Ecology of Eastern Coyotes" sidebar below).
Eastern coyote
Eastern coyotes are medium-size
canines that average 24 to 45 pounds
in weight. (Photo: Eric Dresser)
Eastern coyotes mate for life. While they do not form highly organized packs like wolves, adult coyotes display similar behavior by forming family units of closely related individuals. Adult males and females are the core of the family group. Often, the family group will include young of the year, and may occasionally include yearling coyotes from previous litters. Other coyotes live outside of packs as solitary transients and float between resident coyote families, biding their time until a vacant territory opens.
Coyotes communicate by scent-marking and group-howling. Scat (feces) and urine are deposited in prominent spots along trails to mark territories. When coyotes howl, it often sounds like many individuals, but it is really just a few. Perhaps this is due to echoes off hillsides or the reverberation of the resonant voices through the woods, or simply the hyperactive chorus of yips, yip-howls and yee-haws. It is not uncommon for residents in suburban neighborhoods to awaken to the sound of coyotes howling in a nearby woodlot-a sound formerly associated only with faraway wilderness. For some, this sound is invigorating and a pleasant reminder of nearby wildlife, while others find it eerie and nerve-wracking.

Coexisting with Coyotes

Coyotes inhabiting residential and suburban areas occasionally slink through backyards and across streets, moving from one natural area to another. Most observations of coyotes are simply sightings, providing the observer an opportunity to watch and enjoy the state's largest wild dog. However, when coyotes live near people, there is the potential for problems, and occasionally issues do arise. Being aware of nearby coyotes and taking appropriate action can reduce the likelihood of problems (see "Reduce Risks" sidebar).
Eastern coyote with white-tailed deer
While coyotes do kill white-tailed deer, as witnessed by this photographer, many of the deer coyotes feed on were killed by other causes or had previous injuries. (Photo: Jim Yates)
The best approach to keep people and pets safe from coyotes is to avoid contact and not attract them to an area. If possible, people should avoid areas known to have coyotes, especially at times when coyotes are most active (from dusk until dawn). Do not leave food outside, including pet food and birdseed, and keep compost and trash in secure containers. Fortunately, studies conducted in New York showed that nearly all food items of coyotes in suburban habitats were of natural origins; white-tailed deer, small mammals, plant materials, and cottontail rabbits were among the most common. Few traces of birdseed, trash, or pets were detected.
Catching a glimpse of a coyote can be exciting and memorable. However, beware of coyotes that are reluctant to flee from you, and chase away coyotes if they are near you, particularly in neighborhoods or developed areas. Clap your hands, wave your arms, and make some noise to keep them moving away. This encourages coyotes to avoid people. Also, watch out for coyotes that focus on or follow people or pets, as the coyote may approach or attack.
If you encounter a nuisance coyote that you feel may cause property damage, or is perceived to threaten human health or safety, contact your regional DEC biologist who can provide technical assistance and issue any necessary permits. Coyotes actually observed causing property damage, threatening people or pets can be taken without a permit if done in accordance with local rules or ordinances. In New York, liberal hunting and trapping seasons provide ample opportunities for sportsmen to go afield and take coyotes when pelts are valued.
It is important that we keep coyotes wild and prevent them from seeking human food sources or becoming accustomed to people. Loved or loathed, this incredibly adaptable animal is here to stay.

Dan Bogan, Ph.D. studied eastern coyote ecology and management at Cornell University. He is currently a Lecturer of Environmental Science at Siena College and works for DEC, assisting with coyote and other wildlife management issues.

For further reading:
Coyotes: How Close is Too Close? by Mike Cavanaugh in the April 2005Conservationist
A Howling Success: The eastern coyote by Robert E. Chambers in the August 2000 Conservationist

Photo: Eric Dresser

So our good friend Rachel Tilseth at WOLVES OF DOUGLAS COUNTY shared with me yesterday how pro Wolf hunting politics strips peer reviewed science from the decision making process at the Wisconsin Dept. of Natural Resources..........Cathy Stepp, Govenor, Walker's DNR Secretary and hand-picked, "chamber-of commerce" anti-conservation tool, has unapologetically confirmed to the news media on Wednesday June 25 that the agency kicked wolf advocates off a broadly-based citizen advisory committee................. The reconstituted group now stacked with wolf-hunt proponents will play a key role in the development of a long-term wolf management (killing plan) now under development in Wisconsin

From: Rachel Tilseth <>
Date: June 28, 2014, 12:12:12 PM PDT
To: "Meril, Rick" <>
Subject: DNR hunt club exposed even admits they booted pro wolf advocates off

DNR Secretary Confirms That Wolf Hunt Opponents Were Removed From Advisory Committee

Cathy Stepp Says Staunch Hunting Opponents Weren't Being Productive Members Of Advisory Body
By Chuck Quirmbach
Department of Natural Resources Secretary Cathy Stepp revealed at a DNR Board meeting on Wednesday that the agency removed people who were staunchly opposed to wolf hunting from the state’s Wolf Advisory Committee.
While a lot of the public discussion during the meeting was about a new wolf hunting quota, some of it was also about a change over the last two years in the makeup of the DNR’s advisory committee on wolves.
Stepp confirmed what her critics have alleged: that wolf hunting opponents were by and large kicked off the committee.
“When we’re charged to manage and to implement a hunt, coming in and telling us, ‘Don’t hunt wolves,’ is not a productive way to run a committee, frankly,” said Stepp. “That’s just the candid way to lay it out. We had to have people who were willing to work with us in partnership, and be willing to help us and advise us along the way in implementing state law.”
Rachel Tilseth of Wolves of Douglas County Wisconsin was a volunteer DNR tracker of wolves for about a dozen winters, and attended a few meetings of what used to be called the Wisconsin Wolf Stakeholders Group. Tilseth testified about the wolf hunt proposal during Wednesday’s meeting.
She later said she didn't care for Stepp's remarks.
“I was just appalled that somebody like Cathy Stepp, who’s in charge of this important issue, is saying something like that,” said Tilseth. “It sounds to me like it’s a committee that they want made up of wolf-killers.”
Several DNR staff are on the recently created Wolf Advisory Committee, as are representatives of several pro-hunting groups. A smaller number of wolf hunting skeptics also remain on the committee, including a representative of the Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission.  
This is serious: Cathy Stepp, Walker's DNR Secretary and hand-picked, "chamber-of commerce" anti-conservation tool,  has unapologetically confirmed to news media that the agency kicked wolf advocates off a broadly-based citizen advisory committee; the reconstituted group now stacked with wolf-hunt proponents will play a key role in the development of a long-term wolf management  killing plan now under development.
Wisconsin is killing its wolves
No wonder that dispirited career DNR employees with science backgrounds are leaving the agency, and those remaining are being kept in line with your classic bureaucratic iron fist in the velvet glove: patronizing, top-down/follow-your-orders directives dressed up in team-building mumbo-jumbo and cheer-leading slogans.

Stepp is admitting what the wolf hunt opponents had charged - - publicly in the Journal Sentinel and in a first-person guest posting on this blog:

Turning state policy-making over to special-interest, pro-hunter-and-gun-lobby politicking that literally will spill blood.

And further narrow and damage an outdoors experience for Wisconsinites who prefer taking a camera or their children into the woods for a peaceful hike without a rifle, leg traps or GPS-driven baying hunting hounds.

In a state where hunters have recently been given the right to shoot and trap in state parks.

Where cruelty to wildlife, and in some cases to hunting dogs, is sanctioned by various permissible 'training' practices.

And where big business interests will be permitted to remove unsustainable quantities of groundwater, pollute the air and water near big dairies with airborne and piped manure, fill wetlands with debris at a proposed and gargantuan open-pit iron mine site up North, and fill the air near dozens of new sand mines near the Mississippi River with dust.

Stepp is admitting to an intentional and politicized manipulation and giveaway of wildlife and land rights that are under state trust management for all the people of Wisconsin.

She is capitulating to powerful hunting and gun lobbies often aligned with conservative politicians - - about which the public got a peek a few months ago when Walker, DNR Secretary Stepp and their partisan cronies were all caught trying to funnel public money and program management to a so-called sportsman's group that had helped Walker win his recall election.

Friday, June 27, 2014

The NORTHWEST HERALD newspaper is published in Mchenry County, one of the counties that comprise the Chicago Metropolitan Area..........A historically agricultural region of Illinois that is rapidly suburbanizing, it is good to know that there is some open mindedness by the people living there toward the possibility of Wolves, Pumas and Black Bears recolonizing the state...........The caveat put forth by the Editors of the NORTHWEST HERALD is that the carnivores can return as long as people can kill them if they feel they or their property is threatened...............There is the rub,,,,,,,,,,,,,,Anyone can get a permit to kill one of these animals based on their subjective perception of "being threatened".................Can we call on the Illinois State Legislature to tighten up this aspect of the endangered law as these big carnivores join the state endangered list?

For more of this story, click on or type the URL below:

Our View: Bears, wolves, cougars could return to Illinois

Published: Tuesday, June 24, 2014 5:30 a.m. CDT

The day might come when black bear sightings such as this month’s go from being a novelty to a fact of life in northern Illinois.

State lawmakers and wildlife officials seem to be planning on it. As there’s little to stop these top-of-the-food-chain predators from making their way here, it makes sense to take steps to protect them – and us.

Managing these populations means protecting them from unregulated hunting, but it also means keeping them away from people and teaching people ways to keep them from feeling too welcome in the neighborhood.

About a week before a black bear made its way from the Rockford area into DeKalb County and then off to the west, lawmakerspassed a measure that would add bears, along with mountain lions and gray wolves, to the list of protected species in Illinois.

The measure, which has been sent to Gov. Pat Quinn for his signature, would make it illegal to hunt these animals unless a landowner feels their life is in jeopardy. If they are posing a nuisance that damages property, a landowner would be able to apply for a permit from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources to kill them.

All three of these predators have made a comeback in other parts of the Midwest, and all three lived around the state before hunters drove them off in the 19th century.

Gray wolves number in the thousands in their range of the timber forests of Wisconsin, Minnesota and Michigan.

Mountain lions, also known as cougars, have a thriving population in South Dakota and have been known to roam into Illinois. In November, a state wildlife official killed a cougar on a Whiteside County farm.

As these predators grow in number in other states, their visits to Illinois are likely to grow more frequent as younger animals search for unclaimed territory. We can coexist with these animals, which in the wild almost always show fear of humans and rarely attack unless cornered.

Northeastern Illinois might be more densely populated than other Midwestern states, but bears and people inhabit the same territory in populous areas such as New Jersey, where black bears have been sighted in all of that state’s counties.
All of these predators can pose a nuisance to farmers, however. Bears in particular can do significant damage, carving out huge “bear rolls” in cornfields. Hence, it makes sense that farmers have the ability to secure a permit to kill an animal that is stealing livestock or damaging crops.

These predator animals are part of our ecosystem, but many people never have lived alongside them, and we’d rather they not be stalking our neighborhoods threatening pets, livestock, bird feeders and trash bins.

Allowing bears, wolves and mountain lions to return is fine, so long as the public can be educated on how to live with them and their population can be kept to a level that is acceptable and safe.
  • McHenry County ----a county located in the U.S. state of Illinois. According to the 2010 census, it had a population of 308,760, which is an increase of 18.7% from 260,077 in 2000. McHenry County is one of the five collar counties and is part of the Chicago metropolitan area. It is the sixth largest county, in terms of population, in the state of Illinois. Long known as a center of agriculture and recreation, it has more recently experienced rapid rates of suburbanization and urbanization.

“Grizzly bears live on only 4 percent of the lands they once roamed in the lower 48 states,” said Brett Hartl, endangered species policy director at the Center for Biological Diversity............... “If the Service moves to delist the Yellowstone bear population — one of the few populations the agency has made any effort to recover — it’ll declare the job done and close the door on recovering these magnificent animals across other parts of their historic range, just as it’s trying to do with gray wolves".................."Extensive areas of suitable habitat for grizzly bears exist across the western United States". ................"A legal petition filed by the Center last week identified more than 110,000 square miles of potential grizzly habitat in places like the Gila/Mogollon complex in Arizona and New Mexico, Utah’s Uinta Mountains, California’s Sierra Nevada and the Grand Canyon in Arizona".............. "If additional recovery efforts are initiated in this area, grizzly bear populations could expand from roughly 1,500 today to as many as 6,000 bears"............. "But none of this will happen if the Service ends protections in Yellowstone"

Grizzly Bears Need Continued Endangered Species Act Protection to Survive, Conservation Groups Say

Grizzly bear

Thursday, June 26, 2014

The WILDLIFE CONSERVATION SOCIETY(WCS) has developed a paradigm through it's accomplishing it's PATH OF THE PRONGHORN success in the Tetons for how conservation groups should approach protecting America's wildlife legacy

How to protect an American wildlife legacy

No one blueprint is guaranteed toachieve conservation success in all cases, the POP(PATH OF THE PRONGHORN)  revealed several key elements that contributed to success. These included:
1. the development of ecological insights and publications to frame issues and establish credibility;
2. a collaboration between WCS and the National Park Service that enabled opportunities and access to other agencies and NGOs;
3. support from energy producers that facilitated meetings with elected officials; and
4. targeted communications and outreach, and engaging county commissioners, ranchers, local and national NGOs, politicians and state and federal agencies.
Berger and Cain also note that a "thick skin" and calm demeanor are invaluable assets and that while science was a critical part of the discovery and ultimate designation of the POP, "human dimensions played a larger role."

Read more at:

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

We need the Obama Administration to put as much focus on species reintroduction and restoration as they are putting on EPA protections for Clean Air.............Time to get Grizzlies back into peer reviewed designated wilderness areas which harbored the Griz in the 19th century such as the Grand Canyon, Gila/Mogollon and other areas across the Rocky Mountains, both north and south..............Huge admiration for the CENTER FOR BIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY and their tireless pursuit of restoration of all of our native species, and not just in zoo-like patches, but rather large interconnected core wild areas

Conservationalists push to reintroduce grizzly bears to Grand Canyon
A grizzly bear in Yellowstone National Park. A conservation group has petitioned the Fish and Wildlife Service to consider reintroducing grizzlies in Arizona and other parts of the Southwest. Photo/Zach Hyman
A grizzly bear in Yellowstone National Park. A conservation group has petitioned the Fish and Wildlife Service to consider reintroducing grizzlies in Arizona and other parts of the Southwest. Photo/Zach Hyman
Paulina Pineda
Cronkite News

WASHINGTON - The Center for Biological Diversity last week petitioned the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to work to return grizzly bears to the Grand Canyon, the Gila/Mogollon complex and other areas of the Southwest.

The petition cited 110,000 square miles of potential bear habitat - in Arizona, New Mexico, the Sierra Nevada in California and Utah's Uinta Mountains - that could allow the introduction of as many as 4,000 grizzly bears in the West.

"This animal is very much revered," said Noah Greenwald, the center's endangered species director. "They are an iconic symbol of wilderness and our past."

At least one critic called the plan a waste of taxpayer dollars for a proposal that is "playing God."

But Greenwald said the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service needs to revise its 1993 grizzly bear recovery plan, which he said is outdated.

Gavin Shire, a Fish and Wildlife Service spokesman, would only say that the agency has received the center's petition and is reviewing its content.

Greenwald said he expects to hear back from the agency within six months, but said that the overall process of reintroducing bears would be an ongoing one that could take years.

Greenwald said that fewer than than 2,000 grizzly bears exist today and they are confined to Montana, Idaho, Wyoming and Washington - about 4 percent of their historic range.

Reintroducing grizzlies to the greater Southwest would help increase the population of the threatened species. But it would also help regulate prey population and maintain the health of deer and elk herds, he said.

"By doing that they (grizzlies) benefit a lot of other species," Greenwald said.

He said the areas cited in the petition are mostly uninhabited, with few roads.

"I think the Gila/Mogollon area is one of the largest areas where there aren't currently bears, but could be," he said.

But Patrick Bray, executive vice president of the Arizona Cattle Growers' Association, does not see many positives to the center's petition.

Bray said reintroducing bears to Arizona would hurt the livestock industry, especially for ranchers near the Arizona and New Mexico border.

He also said the recovery plan would be a waste of taxpayer dollars, and called the center's action a "game" to "keep man off public lands."

"Humans should be really careful in playing God with these things," Bray said. "What is going to happen to the elk herd or other wildlife? Why is it that we need to play this game?"

The Great Dismal Swamp National Wildlife Refuge is the largest intact remnant of a vast habitat that once covered more than one million acres of southeastern Virginia and northeastern North Carolina............... Formal protection of this resource began in 1973, when the Union Camp Corporation (a local forest products company) donated 49,097acres to The Nature Conservancy................ The Nature Conservancy conveyed the donated land to the federal government, which, combined with additionally purchased land, was used to establish the Great Dismal Swamp National Wildlife Refuge in 1974...... The refuge currently encompasses over 112,000 acres of this environmentally and biologically important area, roughly 10% of it's original size........... Coyotes and perhaps Red Wolf/ Coyote hybrids occupy this expanse and you can watch a great video below of this carnivore passing right by a black bear without incident(click on COYOTE AND/OR RED WOLF IN THE GREAT DISMAL SWAMP to view video)

I was out birding on Hudnell Ditch, and I
scanned down the road with my spotting scope.
 There was a large canine loping down the road
 towards me. Coyote, I thought at first. Only as
 it got closer did I start wondering if it might be
fully or part (hybridized) Red Wolf. What you
don't see in this video clip is that I recorded
him coming closer and closer before he
detected me. This is only the last of the
series of clips that I shot. However, it's the
 best view and the most exciting.

Shot with a Canon PowerShot SD780 IS point-
and-shoot camera (3x zoom) hand-held up to
 the eyepiece of my Kowa TSN 883 Prominar
spotting scope with 30x wide-angle eyepiece.
 (Effective magnification: 30-power X 3-power
 = 90-power)

Also, watch until the end of the clip, there's
 a surprise!!
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Monday, June 23, 2014

Wolf Activist Patricia Randolph calling for a full spectrum of stakeholders, not just hunters to evaluate this coming Wednesdays Wisconsin proposed Wolf killing quota for 2014.................In Wisconsin 7 out of 8 residents are non hunters yet they are virtually shut out of the Wolf management decision making in this state................Hats off to Patricia for clearly pointing out that it is not just about "numbers" of wolves when deciding how many can be removed from the population in any given year.........."This type of approach may fail in social carnivore species," said Kathleen Alexander, an associate professor of fisheries and wildlife conservation in Virginia Tech’s College of Natural Resources and Environment".............. "Predator management is incredibly complex and we need to be extremely cautious in applying blanket approaches which rely on securing some target number or density of individuals in an ecosystem"..................."Highly cohesive social species, like African wild dogs(Wolves, Coyotes and Foxes), require strict participation from all group members … in all areas of life, including predator avoidance, reproductive success, hunting, and survivorship"............ "This life-history strategy can result in enhanced fitness benefits for the group, but also a higher critical threshold for extinction"............ … "Even in a large population, transmission of an infectious disease from only a few infected individuals can result in sufficient mortality to push groups below a critical threshold, ultimately threatening population persistence"......."In certain ecosystems, when packs are reduced to less than four individuals, the trade-off between pup-rearing and hunting may prevent successful reproduction".................Get your comments into the Wisconsin DNR and tell them to wise up and utilize science, not some arbitrary number in determining optimum ecosystem services rendering by wolves in their state

Patricia Randolph's Madravenspeak: Wolf execution 'quota' a measure of DNR’s ignorance

June 22, 2014 4:30 am  •  

“Carnivore management is not just a numbers game.” ~ Virginia Tech wildlife scientists 

On Wednesday, June 25, the Natural Resources Board, comprised predominantly of appointed hunter activists, will “consider” the hunter-controlled wolf committee’s quota of 156 wolves to be killed in the 2014-15 hunting/trapping/hounding season — the third season in Wisconsin.
The deadline to register for citizen appearances is past, but citizens can submit written comments before the board rubber stamps this quota Wednesday. Disenfranchised citizen outrage is appropriate. The hunting of wolves here is quickly destroying our natural ally, sacred brother to the Indian tribes.

Last year, a Mason-Dixon poll commissioned by the Humane Society showed that eight out of nine Wisconsin citizens want to protect our wolves. It is not surprising that this ratio is the same as the tally of eight non-hunting citizens to every one hunter.
Five wolf pups rescued from a wildfire are big stars at the Alaska Zoo. Wisconsin could have a tourism draw such as this. Instead, we are killing our wolves.
The DNR is playing an outdated numbers game that is proven inadequate for social pack animals. The DNR's arbitrary “350” number of wolves as “carrying capacity” is bogus non-science and only serves trophy wolf hunters and magical thinking. Arbitrarily contrived minimal populations of carnivores cannot fulfill their essential role of guarding the health of ecosystems (known as a trophic cascade).
Research–based science (which appears to be ignored by the DNR) has this response to treating the population of wolves as a numbers game:
"This type of approach may fail in social carnivore species," said Kathleen Alexander, an associate professor of fisheries and wildlife conservation in Virginia Tech’s College of Natural Resources and Environment. "Predator management is incredibly complex and we need to be extremely cautious in applying blanket approaches which rely on securing some target number or density of individuals in an ecosystem."

Research by Alexander and two other scientists reported in Science Daily and published in Population Ecology evaluated 45 carnivore species and population trends, and identified the presence of factors that increase the potential for extinction. Disturbingly, 73 percent of carnivore species were declining.
The research-based report concludes: "Social carnivores appeared to be particularly vulnerable with 45 percent threatened by infectious disease but only 3 percent of solitary carnivores similarly impacted. In this, increased contact between individuals, disease-related mortality, and loss of individuals below some critical threshold seems to be the issue, pushing social carnivores closer to the brink of extinction."
Wolves are the ultimate social pack animals. The report concludes that "highly cohesive social species, like African wild dog, require strict participation from all group members … in all areas of life, including predator avoidance, reproductive success, hunting, and survivorship. This life-history strategy can result in enhanced fitness benefits for the group, but also a higher critical threshold for extinction. … Even in a large population, transmission of an infectious disease from only a few infected individuals can result in sufficient mortality to push groups below a critical threshold, ultimately threatening population persistence.”
The report also documents that in certain ecosystems, when packs are reduced to less than four individuals, the trade-off between pup-rearing and hunting may prevent successful reproduction. From the DNR’s point of view, this would result in less of a wolf “crop” for the next season’s kill.
Extinction of species is occurring right before our eyes, with a 95 percent mortality rate of white-nosed bat fungus, rapidly spread throughout the East Coast, now entering Wisconsin. The threat of extinction is obvious in the massive worldwide bee colony collapse.

In a recent article, “Ten Species You Can Kiss Good-bye,” is the red wolf: “Smaller and more slender than its gray-wolf cousin, the red wolf (Canis lupus rufus) managed to survive the Late Pleistocene ice age but may not be able to slink by modern man. Once widespread throughout the southeastern United States, red wolf populations have been so devastated by predator-control programs and habitat loss that the dearth of breeding partners has led many of them to mate with coyotes instead, further reducing the number of genetically pure wolves. An estimated 100 wolves roam northeastern North Carolina today, while another 150 reside at captive breeding facilities across the United States.”
The gray wolf was the first and only species delisted from the endangered species list, not because they were recovered, but to strengthen Montana Democrat Jon Tester's political fortunes. There is no science in this political farce. Like the red wolf, the gray wolf cannot “slink by” modern man’s deadly agenda.
It is the human predator that needs to be controlled. Indian prophecies tie the fate of human beings to the fate of wolves. We are dependent on all that we are destroying.
Wolves in Greater Yellowstone need your help. Please comment on Montana's wolf hunting proposal for 2014-15.
Patricia Randolph of Portage is a longtime activist for wildlife. or

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