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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, November 19, 2019

"Mountain lions use wildlife passages across highways"................" While researchers don’t have evidence that they use the underpasses to hunt, they found that mountain lions use the underpasses more often in the seasons when deer are crossing".............."Coyotes particularly appear to be using the underpasses to hunt"..........."They often use underpasses more often used by rodents, rabbits, squirrels and other small prey"............."While it’s just a hypothesis, coyotes may even be using these bottlenecks to ambush their prey"................I say keep building the wildlife crossings,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,While the probability of being eaten might rise for prey species, enough get through the connectors to help spread their genes and expand their populations,,,,,,,,,,,,,with carnivores of all types being helped in the process to eat well and also spread and multiply

Wild Cam: Do predators ambush at underpasses?

By Joshua Rapp Learn

 November 5, 2019

Predators like coyotes and bobcats may actively use underpasses to ambush prey species seeking safe passage under highways.

Preliminary camera research on wildlife populations in the Hallelujah Junction Wildlife Area in California has found that many wildlife species are using three underpasses below a highway cutting through the state wildlife refuge.

“The animals have become very accustomed to using them when they come there,” said TWS member Molly Caldwell, a scientific aide with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.

For our latest in the Wild Cam series, we take a look at some of the CDFW camera trap photos and the preliminary research results displayed recently on a poster by Caldwell and TWS member Mario Klip, an environmental scientist with CDWD, at the 2019 Joint Annual Conference of the American Fisheries Society and The Wildlife Society in October.
Underpasses were installed in Hallelujah Junction in the 1970s, but limited follow-up research was conducted to see whether wildlife used the structures until this recent study.

“We wanted to see how effective these underpasses had been at getting deer, and wildlife in general, from one side to the other,” said Klip. Fencing was installed along the highway to guide animals to the underpasses and to prevent animals from crossing the road, Klip said, but since some sections were only 4 feet tall, they may not be tall enough to keep agile wildlife from getting over them.
The researchers also have been studying seasonal migrations of the Loyalton-Truckee mule deer (Odocoileus hemionush) herd in the area, Caldwell said, and found that 1,000 to 2,000 animals use the underpasses during the spring, while only about 400 individuals use them in the fall.
The researchers aren’t sure where the others are crossing during the fall, but further research using GPS tracking collars may reveal what they already suspect — that many deer may be jumping the four-foot fences

Mountain lions (Puma concolor) also use the wildlife passages. While researchers don’t have evidence that they use the underpasses to hunt, Caldwell said, they found that mountain lions use the underpasses more often in the seasons when deer are crossing.
Klip hopes that as they gather more data, they will learn more about how the presence of some animals in the underpass may affect their use by others. It’s possible the fresh scent of cougars alone may be enough to ward off some of their prey, he said, especially when it’s as many as this photo captured.
“Four mountain lions using an underpass — that must give deer pause,” he said.
Coyotes (Canis latrans) particularly appear to be using the underpasses to hunt. Caldwell said the predators appear in underpasses more often used by rodents, lagomorphs, squirrels and other small prey.
While it’s just a hypothesis, Caldwell said coyotes may even be using these bottlenecks to ambush their prey

Bobcats (Lynx rufus) were also found with their mouths full on camera, such as in this shot. Other images show bobcats carrying hares and possibly other prey. Lagomorphs and other small prey may use the bushes as shelter, Caldwell said, though it doesn’t appear always to work out in their favor.

Aside from land-based predators, a barn owl (Tyto alba) apparently nested above one of the camera traps and is possibly hunting in this shot, although researchers say they don’t have enough data to show a trend of owls using the underpasses.

Quail (Callipepla californica) are also making seasonal dispersals through the underpasses, which was a unique discovery because previous studies have very little data on birds using crossings like these. Pronghorn (Antilocapra americana), like the one pictured above, were rarely seen in the underpasses, even though they are present in the area.
While the researchers are still gathering data, they hope this study provides baseline knowledge since taller fences are now in the works. Once these fences are built, the camera traps and other research can help reveal whether they helped funnel more wildlife toward the underpasses.
The data is important, Caldwell said, because it will help inform lawmakers about whether the money invested is resulting in fewer road accidents, which can be fatal for both wildlife and humans.

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