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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, June 30, 2015

Highly urbanized and densely human, the "Garden State" of New Jersey is somehow having a renaissance of wildlife with some of the largest Black Bears breeding in the USA,,,,,,,,,Coyotes aplenty,,,,,,,,,,,,and now Fishers and Bobcats re-entering the oak/hickory and Pine/Maple woodlands of the state..................Bobcat restoration efforts began in the late 1970s, when state wildlife officials trapped cats in Maine and brought them back to New Jersey..................... From 1978 to 1982, 24 bobcats were released in sections of Warren, Sussex and Morris counties north of Interstate 80. In 1991, the bobcat was placed on the state’s endangered species list............The Endangered and Nongame Species Program is launching a new project called “Connecting Habitat across New Jersey,” which maps critical habitat for bobcats and other species and identifies connecting corridors......... The state Department of Transportation is part of the study group, and could use information from the mapping to create new safe crossings where roads have become barriers, and make existing passage areas safer in high-mortality spots.............Data collected on bobcats is now being analyzed by researchers at Rutgers University who will come up with a “conservative” population estimate and identify population trends over time........... Those numbers will be used to assist with the recovery of the species............Excellent news with the rare motivation of diversity and not hunting and trapping as the paradigm being put in play by the Jersey Wildlife folks FULL ARTICLE



rebounding in New 



Why does do much wildlife research revolve around hunting and killing?..............We celebrate a return of a species like Bobcats to West Virginia only to salivate when we are then told we can go kill them again..............Once again, the "bi-polar" label so applicable to us human animals

WVU Researching West Virginia's Bobcat Population

Posted: Nov 06, 2014 1:22 PM PSTUpdated: Nov 06, 2014 1:55 PM PST

A team of West Virginia University researchers is taking "DNA fingerprints" of the Mountain State's bobcat population.
The research is to evaluate whether there should be future increases or decreases in bag limits or if the season should be shortened or lengthened.
Funding for the bobcat research comes from the sale of hunting licenses and from Pittman-Robertson Funding, which must be used for wildlife management purposes.

"There's a 30 year gap between the last time we had a good idea on how the population is expanding. That models been used for population estimates, so how many animals a trapper could take during a year. We're using that based on estimates 20 years ago data. 
The bobcats now we're sure that the populations have grown but we don't know how much and we don't want to harvest too many,” said Thomas Rounsville Jr., WVU Graduate Research Assistant.
The researchers will also put out hair snares to capture DNA testing to see how healthy the animals are.

While President Obama is a champion of subsidizing health care and extending rights of all kinds to us human animals, he has never been heard from in 7 years regarding anything to do with the rights of the other creatures(biodiversity) who call Earth home.............He lets the USFW Service run amuck without any type roadmap from his Office,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,How about the rights of the Red Wolf to continue to find it's footing in the southeast?..............Do we just allow private landowners to shoot 64 of these wolves because supposedly they were released from captivity onto private rather than public lands?..............Jeez,I really sometimes think that we as a species have gone mad and bipolar..........."Right to life" except when it comes to other sentient creatures like wolves...............

Release of red wolves suspended as program is re-evaluated

By  on June 30, 2015
A study cited lack of communication with landowners. (USFWS)
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is suspending new releases of red wolves bred in captivity until a full re-evaluation is done on the program that brought back the endangered predators to eastern North Carolina.
Estimates are that there are 50 to 100 red wolves living in portions of mainland Dare, Hyde, Tyrrell, Washington and Beaufort counties.
Red wolves were declared an endangered species in 1967, then extinct in the wild in 1980. Red wolves bred in captivity were released into Alligator National Wildlife Refuge starting in 1987.
Some 200 red wolves are currently held in captive breeding facilities across the United States, including one at the refuge.
While listed as an endangered species, the wolves that have been released are classified as a “non-essential, experimental population” by the USFWS.
An independent review by the Wildlife Management Institute released in November gave a scathing review of how the Fish and Wildlife Service interacted with residents and property owners surrounding the refuge in the five-county area after the program got under way.
“WMI believes that the lack of public awareness and support efforts has led to an atmosphere of distrust within some segments of the community,” the report said. “This level of distrust has intensified as a result of the recent court injunction on coyote hunting.”
Coyote hunting in the five counties was suspended last year after a lawsuit brought against the state by the Southern Environmental Law Center claimed red wolves and coyotes look too similar to allow unrestricted hunting of coyotes, day or night.
The lawsuit was spurred in part by the illegal, unreported deaths of at least eight red wolves by gunshot in the span of two years.
A settlement of that lawsuit now allows coyote hunting under tight conditions in the five counties.
The same report praised USFWS for the science behind the program and noted that it proved to some degree that the red wolf could survive in coastal eastern North Carolina.
“The Wildlife Management Institute’s review identified a number of areas where we have been successful, a number of areas that need improvement, and highlighted a number of uncertainties and serious challenges for the ultimate recovery of the red wolf,” said Cindy Dohner, USFWS Southeast Regional Director.
“(W)e recognize too that there were misunderstandings, particularly about the non-essential, experimental population, and we did not always meet the expectations we set. Now, we need to do a thorough and deliberate evaluation of the red wolf recovery program,” Dohner said.
State wildlife regulators called on the Fish and Wildlife Service earlier this year to end the reintroduction of the red wolf in the region and to remove all wolves that were released on private lands.
The N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission adopted two resolutions in January that cited interbreeding with coyotes, encroachment onto private lands and a failure to meet project goals as reasons to end the program in North Carolina.
The Wildlife Commission also said that 64 releases of red wolves by the Fish and Wildlife Service were intended to be done on federal land but actually took place on private land and therefore were unauthorized. The commission said the wolves and their pups should be recaptured.
“There will likely be some who will suggest we are walking away from recovery efforts for the red wolf and simultaneously there will be others who might say we’re holding on too tight,” Dohner said.
No wolves have been released into the wild at Alligator River for at least a year.
While the release program is being suspended, the existing wolves will be allowed to continue roaming over an area covering 1.7 million acres of Dare, Hyde, Tyrrell, Washington and Beaufort counties.
“These actions are the next steps in our commitment to get the science right, rebuild trust with our neighbors in those communities, our state partners and many stakeholders as we address issues regarding the overall recovery of the red wolf,” Dohner added.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Large Core reservess interconnected by significant "greenways" is once again identified as the key for the perpetuation of carnivores, in this case the Lynx............Radio tracking showed lynx regularly travel hundreds of miles to hunt and breed, often across glaciers and other forbidding natural barriers.............. They tend to roam even more than bears, wolves or coyotes..............Genetic evidence analyzed at the University of Montana suggests that every 10 years or so, lynx from as far away as northern Alaska tend to breed throughout the Canadian Rockies and into the northwestern United States.

Genetic lynx: North American lynx make one huge family

8:09AM, JANUARY 30, 2002
A new study of lynx in North America suggests the animals interbreed widely, sometimes with populations thousands of kilometers away. This genetic finding could be a boon for conservationists hoping to secure the cats future.
FACING THE FUTURE. New data indicating how lynx populations fit together may guide conservation efforts.
The Canada lynx has recently been officially designated as a threatened species in the United States, spurring studies of the animals distribution and behavior. Researchers have been squabbling over one thorny issue for decades: Do lynx populations live in isolated pockets or travel long distances to mix with other groups? Lots of long-distance interaction might point toward policies that maintain connections between known lynx habitats.

Genetic study shows isolated lynx are similar

February 05, 2002 12:00 am  •  
A new study of lynx shows that isolated populations of the tuft-eared wildcat are genetically very similar despite being separated by thousands of miles.
The finding suggests that because the threatened species wanders thousands of miles to breed, government-sponsored programs to reintroduce it in western states do not have to rely on capturing animals with specific bloodlines to successfully repopulate an area.
Genetic evidence analyzed at the University of Montana suggests that every 10 years or so, lynx from as far away as northern Alaska tend to breed throughout the Canadian Rockies and into the northwestern United States.
Previously, scientists were split over the belief that lynx populations did not widely mix and were highly adapted to local environments.

The lynx study appears in the Jan. 31 issue of the journal Nature.
"A lynx is a lynx is a lynx," said University of Wyoming biologist Steven Buskirk, who did not participate in the study. "They are very similar across their geographical range."
In the study, the Montana researchers mapped lynx populations from northern Alaska through western Canada and into Montana and Washington state.
Genetic analysis of lynx from 17 collection sites showed the animals did not vary significantly over distances up to 1,860 miles apart.
Radio tracking showed lynx regularly travel hundreds of miles to hunt and breed, often across glaciers and other forbidding natural barriers. They tend to roam even more than bears, wolves or coyotes, they said.
The researchers recommend that conservation efforts focus on preventing roads and development from pinching off the wild corridors that the lynx use to wander.
"Gene flow for the lynx is the highest yet found for any carnivore," said the study's lead author, Michael Schwartz. "Joint international efforts should be initiated to ensure that connectivity between northern and southern lynx populations is sustained."
However, the finding doesn't mean that lynx populations will recover after decades of trapping and poisoning programs.
In distant locations, such as Alaska's Kenai peninsula, genetic testing showed only four lynx in a generation had managed to arrive from elsewhere to breed.
"The study clearly shows the importance of maintaining dispersal corridors that these wide-ranging carnivores can use," Buskirk said. "If you assume a new generation of lynx every three or four years, those four animals that arrived will leave their genetic signature. But it doesn't mean they will make a big impact on the population size in the area."
For the past three years, government agencies have been releasing captured Canadian lynx in the Colorado Rockies, the southernmost reaches of the wildcat's historic range.
In 1999, four of the first five lynx released in the San Juan Mountains starved to death. Since then, biologists have been more successful by fattening dozens of the animals for several weeks in captivity before releasing them in the winter when prey is more available.
The federal reintroduction program has been criticized by some Western lawmakers.
In 2000, seven biologists planted samples of lynx fur in two national forests to test whether laboratories could properly identify it. The lawmakers charged the biologists might have been trying to skew the study in favor of reintroduction and limiting commercial activities in the area. The biologists have since been reassigned or retired.

The Gannett owned Florida News-Press accurately depicts what many of us feel is the norm rather than the exception as it relates to State Game Commissions instituting carnivore hunts without really understanding the population dynamics of the species in question............In this case, the Florida Fish and Game folks initiating a week long Black Bear hunt starting October 24 of this year.........Almost 80% of the 40,000 comments directed to the Commission urged NO HUNT as the bruin population has shrunk from an estimated 11,000 bears 21 years ago to what most believe are about 3000 today...........The human population has jumped 17% in the same period of time and with roads, housing, shopping malls, etc, etc, the Bears are getting squeezed and thus there is more contact between them and us................"On the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission's website is the message: "preventing access to food is the most important thing you can do to keep bears wild and out of your neighborhood".............. "The commission needs to heed its own message and continue to teach Floridians the importance of leaving the animal alone"............. "This should be about cleaning up after ourselves and a better understanding of wildlife, not about yet another way to kill an animal"

Check out this story on

More research, fewer

 killings, better for bears

Sunday, June 28, 2015

“We’re almost maxed out in Pennsylvania as far as coyote density and range..... "They’re everywhere,” said Tom Hardisky, chief furbearer biologist for the Pennsylvania Game Commission................. “We’re at the point where there’s nothing we can do to change the number of coyotes out there"............... "Take some out of the population and they’ll be replenished in a year or two"............ "Our strategy is to live with them — do things differently so we can coexist"---Tom Hardisky, chief furbearer biologist for the Pennsylvania Game Commission..................My friend Camilla Fox who heads up PROJECT COYOTE may want to send Mr. Hardisy a kind note...........The folks up in Northern NJ and Westecher, County, NY----take note ------COEXISTENCE, NOT EXTERMINATION is the strategy of choice by those who are studied and who understand the science behind LIVING WITH COYOTES

Coyotes are 'everywhere' in Pennsylvania, but they pose little threat to humans

In the distance, eyes are watching. Unseen, unheard, leaving no trace, southwestern Pennsylvania’s most successful predator virtually is everywhere, encroaching close to, and even within, human population centers.
But, no worries. Coyotes are a problem only when they’re seen, and even then the coyote myth is more dangerous than the actual animal.
“We’re almost maxed out in Pennsylvania as far as coyote density and range. They’re everywhere,” said Tom Hardisky, chief furbearer biologist for the Pennsylvania Game Commission. “We’re at the point where there’s nothing we can do to change the number of coyotes out there. Take some out of the population and they’ll be replenished in a year or two. Our strategy is to live with them — do things differently so we can coexist.”
Bigger than its purebred western cousin, the eastern coyote is a hybrid wolf-coyote mix believed to have originated in southeastern Canada when the wolf population there was being eradicated. Highly adaptable and prolific, the coyote range quickly expanded into New England in the 1930s. By the 1940s, they had spread to New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania.
“But their spread didn’t involve the suburbs until later on in the 1980s and 1990s,” Mr. Hardisky said. “Food is pretty easy to get in urban and suburban areas, and shelter is no problem, either. They’ve adapted to the hustle and bustle of human activity. They’re very tolerant of humans.”
For the record, the subspecies was created after human habitation. It spread across the state within a current human lifetime and has virtually saturated suitable habitat, including suburbs and even cities. Humans didn’t sprawl into their space, coyotes entered ours.

“At the beginning, they moved into our area right up through the ’80s, and by the ’90s coyotes were documented in every county in the state,” Mr. Hardisky said. “There have been sightings in cities. And if you see one, you can be sure there are a dozen or more.”
Coyotes are highly adaptable, extremely secretive and work together, displaying remarkable intelligence. They can live in plain sight without being seen — dens can be dug under a shed or shrub, in uncut grassy fields or between rocky outcroppings. Suburban coyotes eat domestic and wild fruits, rodents, rabbits, newborn fawns —  just about anything they can catch, including small pets romping around their own backyards. In cement and steel cities, particularly in older or rundown neighborhoods, coyotes can den under abandoned buildings and cement structures and provide a public service by eating rats.
Sightings of the wily animal are rare, and no one knows how many coyotes live in the state. The game commission’s estimate of near-maximum population saturation is based on habitat analysis. But even that is difficult. Coyote scat is extremely hard to find, and footprints are practically indistinguishable from those of small dogs.
Research in other cities suggests there could be more coyotes in Allegheny County than meet the eye.
Last fall, Illinois media were abuzz following the release of a comprehensive study of coyotes in the Chicago metropolitan areas. The joint Cook County Coyote Project/Urban Coyote Research Program videotaped some 400 coyotes living in Cook County and the city of Chicago and estimated that the total number is closer to 2,000.
Other research confirmed expanding coyote populations in several U.S. metropolitan areas, including New York City and Washington, D.C.
In Pittsburgh, unconfirmed anecdotal glimpses have been reported near Frick Park in the East End, the South Side Slopes and the West End Elliot Overlook Park. For decades, it has been suspected, but never verified, that coyotes thrive in the wild spaces around South Park and the ravines dropping from Plum and Penn Hills to the Allegheny River. Some Monroeville residents swear there are coyotes in Boyce Park, and coyote rumors abound from Trafford to Murrysville, Moon to McKees Rocks and Harmony to Economy.
In 2008, a woman walking her dog off-trail in North Park was terrified when a pack of coyotes chased the dog, surrounded the pair and nipped at the frightened, shaking pet. In 2010, a man shot a coyote on Mount Washington — a legal kill by game commission standards but of dubious legality in the eyes of Pittsburgh police.
Wildlife Conservation Officer Tom Kline, newly installed in western Allegheny County, was on the job barely three weeks when calls about problem coyotes in Ross led to a town meeting on how to contain the animals.
“I organized the meeting with township members in March. About 50 people voiced concerns,” Mr. Kline said. “People were seeing them in suburban areas where they didn’t think they’d seen coyotes before. We got some good feedback from people genuinely interested in what we can do.”
Despite the hype and eerie distant howls in the night, injuries from coyotes are rarer than sightings. The Chicago study reported not a single coyote-related injury in Cook County, despite growth of the urban coyote enclave. Coyotes don’t carry rabies as readily as skunks, bats and raccoons, and while pets are in perpetual danger of becoming lunch, humans — even young children — have little to worry about.
“There’s a perception given off from the news media, movies and comic books that coyotes are somehow dangerous,” Mr. Kline said. “We get people calling in afraid that coyotes would be chasing after them in their yards. They’re getting bad information about these animals.”
Although coyotes may be cohabitating in your neighborhood, you’re unlikely to see one, Mr. Hardisky said. And that’s how it should be.
The experts’ advice: Tightly close garbage cans, don’t leave pet food out overnight, don’t trust that unwatched pets will be OK even in a fenced yard, and care for feral animals with the knowledge that someday “Kitty” may never come back.
If you see a coyote, Mr. Kline said, treat the animal the same way you would respond to other wildlife.
“Don’t try to feed them or stand around long to take a picture. Just back away,” he said. “If you feel threatened, get big — spread your jacket so you look bigger — shout and get loud. That will scare them away.”

Jack Ma, the Chinese billionaire and co-founder of e-commerce giant Alibaba, has bought 28,100-acres in New York's Adirondacks and plans to place a conservation easement on the property................Like Billionaire Media magnet Ted Turner here in the USA, Ma has championed cleaning up the environment in his own country...........He has been the chairman of the China board of the Nature Conservancy since 2013, and sits on its global board.......Putting his $$ where his mouth is, he has his Alibaba Group donating 0.3% of its annual operating revenue to a foundation for environmental protection..............A Sunday morning "tip of the hat" to Mr. Ma,,,,,,,,,,,,,acting globally while thinking locally


Alibaba’s Jack Ma

 Buys $23 Million 

Property in New

 York’s Adirondacks

The Chinese billionaire has conservation

 plans for the 28,100-acre property.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Greater Toronto area resident and writer, Colleen Bain put forth a comprehensive history and human/coyote current paradigm in the December 2014 HUMANITIES FOR THE ENVIRONMENT WEB SITE.......Reinforcing information on why killing Coyotes only "amps up the population" and why co-existence is the only sound course of action to follow going forward across Canada and the USA,d.b2w

Coyote Control: Culls and Coexistence

Predators in the American West were first hunted for their pelts in the 1850s shortly following the introduction of strychnine, and persecution of predators began in earnest in the 1860s-80s around the Great Plains commercial buffalo harvest. The Hinterland Who’s Who page on coyotes offers the following as a brief history of coyote control:
From the time of European settlement, the coyote has been persecuted, because people have blamed it for preying on livestock. It is amazing that the coyote has thrived despite the organized attempts that were made to eradicate it in the first half of the twentieth century. Many governments offered bounties and funded extensive coyote control programs. Farmers often poisoned the carcasses of dead livestock with strychnine and left them in the back pasture for the “brush wolves” to find. A variety of devices and traps were also used to kill coyotes.
Coywolf, Photo by Mike Drew
Coywolf, Photo by Mike Drew
While predator control programs succeeded at extensively reducing wolf numbers and eradicating them from many areas, the coyote has prevailed. It has been found that to have a significant impact in reducing coyote population sizes, over 70% of the population must be removed on a sustained basis, and “even with intensive control efforts, this level is rarely, if ever, achieved.” According to the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources, bounties and culls have been mostly ineffective in reducing conflicts:
Most coyotes removed under these programs are the easy-to-catch juveniles or transient animals passing through an area, not the breeding adults that are most often the problem. In addition, programs such as “bounties” don’t target the specific animals causing the conflict or problem in specific areas, but rather indiscriminately target all coyotes across a broad region. Bounties – financial incentives to hunt and trap – have been illegal in Ontario since 1972…Research also demonstrates that relocating coyotes is not a solution. Coyotes are highly mobile and territorial animals. A relocated coyote usually ends up in a conflict with an older adult, as most areas are already occupied by a dominant pair. Coyotes can also travel hundreds of kilometres to return to their original capture location. As well, relocation increases the potential for spreading disease.
Additionally, studies have found that hunting coyotes can result in increased population numbers. A temporary population size reduction creates a food surplus, which is “biologically transformed into higher litter sizes and higher litter survival rates…[because] the increase in food availability improves the nutritional condition of breeding females which translates in higher pup birth weights and higher pup survival.”Other effects of a temporary reduction in population size and food surplus is lone coyotes moving into the territory, and young coyotes breeding sooner. This process is explained in the following infographic from The Humane Society of the United States:
The Humane Society of the United States
The Humane Society of the United States
These effects can increase the likelihood of conflicts, as adult coyotes end up with more healthy pups to feed. When packs are stable, there are more adult pack members that “provide more den-guarding time and more food brought to pups…, [so] packs may be able to subsist on larger numbers of smaller prey (e.g., rabbits and small rodents) rather than going for livestock,” which they are more likely to do when they are under pressure to maximize efficiency in hunting for food for pups when there are less adults, and/or more pups.[42] Research has shown that “the primary motivation to kill domestic sheep is to provide food for fast-growing pups.”[42] Coyotes learn what food is appropriate when they are pups, and “are reluctant to try ‘new’ food sources unless under stress (such as having to feed a large litter of pups), [so] reduction programs, in effect, may be forcing coyotes to try new behaviours (eating domestic livestock) which they would otherwise avoid.” These behaviours get passed down to the pups, and conflicts persist. Therefore, not only are coyote culls ineffective at producing a long-term reduction in coyote populations, they also create conditions for increased conflicts.
Human-coyote coexistence programs have been set up by Coyote Watch Canada (CWC) in Niagara Falls, Oakville, and Whitby; the Stanley Park Ecology Society in Vancouver; and Project Coyote’s work has successfully reduced conflicts between sheep owners and coyotes in Marin County, California, and has just set up a program in Superior, Colorado. The CWC strategy includes: non-lethal goals, long term solutions, community scientists, wildlife feeding by-laws, promotion of proper hazing techniques, education and awareness, seasonal alerts, posting coyote awareness signs, and coyote response teams.[43] CWC offers two pamphlets on living with coyotes and coyote hazing, as well as the following the following general awareness sheet:
CWC Coyote Awareness
As discussed earlier, the coyote is a keystone species in the GTA, and have a very important role in balancing ecosystems. Coyotes help farmers through rodent control, and when coexistence measures are in place coyotes will also become territorial, and “will keep other predators and problem coyotes away from livestock areas.”
In summation, coyote populations are thriving across North America despite almost two hundred years of persecution; human-coyote coexistence programs have successfully reduced conflicts; and coyotes are beneficial to both urban and rural ecosystems. However, rhetoric backed by fear and misinformation has allowed the argument that coyotes must be killed prevail more times than not.

Artist - St. George Jackson Mivart, Image courtesy of Biodiversity Heritage Library

Progression of coyote range expansion throughout North America and Mexico, from Urban coyote ecology and management, Cook County, Illinois
Huehuecoyotl in the Codex Borgia.
mark twain cayote
Chuck Jones 1945 original model sheet for Wile E. Coyote and the Road Runner