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Old 03-18-2018, 11:51 AM   #1
mphilli2
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The "rewilding" of carnivores

Not specific to the Adirondacks, but here is the link to an article (NY Times) about the "rewilding" of wolves and other carnivores. Effects, where it can succeed, where not.


https://www.nytimes.com/2018/03/16/s...av=bottom-well
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Old 03-20-2018, 02:53 PM   #2
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Not specific to the Adirondacks, but here is the link to an article (NY Times) about the "rewilding" of wolves and other carnivores. Effects, where it can succeed, where not.





https://www.nytimes.com/2018/03/16/s...av=bottom-well


Interesting read. Ive heard hunting advocates talk about this subject as well, specifically the biological carrying capacity that exists, or doesnít exist, in many areas where predators use to roam.

I saw similar article in the ADK explorer with a yes versus no opinion piece about reintroducing the cougar to NY. The yes person stated that NY (including the ADKís) has ample space and prey base for the cats, even suggesting that NY needs a predator like the cougar to control the deer #ís. The no person pointed out that the higher density of deer exists outside of ADKís in western and central NY, which the cats would inevitably drift towards, causing problems.

I agree with the no person on that issue: the ADKís, and similar mature forests in the northeast, just donít have the same prey populations in the same way that places like Montana, Wyoming and Idaho do.


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Old 03-20-2018, 03:37 PM   #3
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I agree with you, Bounder.

The abject failure of the Lynx "rewilding" 30 years ago is instructional.

The Cougar needs a larger, wilder territory than the Lynx. There is zero chance that a Cougar "rewilding" would work here. The "advocates" are just romantics. And it's fine to be a romantic, as long as they don't want to spend my money on it...
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Old 03-20-2018, 06:22 PM   #4
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I'm a romantic. The quest to make the existing environment conducive to a large predator is the direction that would benefit the ecosystem. Rather than say "it won't work" it would be better to say, "how can we make this work". Failure in said quest will still leave a much healthier ecosystem than which exist at present.
"We must recognize our role as partners with the environment, rather than dominators, to maintain functioning ecosystems".
Methinks maintaining is not enough, we need to revert what we have (think Boreas as wilderness) to a more holistic time. We have an opportunity of amelioration , every year it will only become harder to gain ground, wild ground.
Listen to the howl of the wolf and heal thy spirit.
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Old 03-20-2018, 08:18 PM   #5
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I hate to say it, but I agree it's a bad idea as well (to reintroduce large predators in this area).

One really only does need to look at the west to see that it's caused a number of issues with ranchers and they have much larger territories to roam. Adding them here would be an exercise in futility in how we keep them "where we want them" and have them "eat what we want them to eat". Household pets, small children, livestock... large cats and wolves will not care when it's an easier meal than trying to run down deer in big woods.

There's a reason humans eradicated those species here. It may not be a good reason, but our population hasn't gotten any smaller and our wild lands just aren't big and remote enough for them to coexist.
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Old 03-21-2018, 09:08 AM   #6
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To make the ,” exsisiting environment conducive to large predators,”.

When wolves and eastern Mtn. Lions did roam NY, ( and never in large numbers), there were NO coyotes east of the Mississippi. So for the romantic purists , you would have to eliminate the coyote population first. Good luck with that.
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Old 03-21-2018, 10:07 AM   #7
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Although invasive, I don't see the coyote as a problem. If anything they are filling a good niche. They aren't large and aggressive enough to be much of a bother for the things I mentioned, although I'm sure they'd get a small dog or cat if you left them out. They can't really take down healthy deer, they are omnivorous, and they adapt very well to suburban settings.

The only issue I see for them is being another vector for rabies. I know others think they are a scurge and a pest, but I don't see it at all.
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Old 03-21-2018, 12:51 PM   #8
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I am what I am and thats all that I am. I may be a romantic but have enough realism not be labeled a purist. We will never eliminate all the invasives but our aim should stay true.
I know wolf re-introduction is a long shot due to many obstacles. Cougars stand a better chance, slim but better.
However, striving to make the environment conducive to large predators isn't so far fetched. Large predators need a healthy and robust environment. How can we go wrong achieving that end?
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Old 03-21-2018, 01:13 PM   #9
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Large predators need a healthy and robust environment. How can we go wrong achieving that end?
I don't thing there is anything wrong with striving towards a "healthy environment." We've certainly made a lot of progress in that regard.

A robust environment is a different story. You either have a robust enough ecosystem and prey base to support apex predators, or you don't. Short of abandoning much of NY's farm country and letting reintroduced predators have at it, I don't think that issue is something we can directly affect with a simple policy or law.
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Old 03-22-2018, 08:23 AM   #10
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Anyone who thinks coyotes cannot take down a adult healthy deer is delusional. A 45 lb- 50 lb coyote not being able to kill a 120 lb deer ? 120 lb wolves kill 600 lb - 1500 lb , elk, moose and bison.

Yes, like my dog , they are omnivores , but given a choice between fruits and berries , they will choose red meat when available.
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Old 03-22-2018, 09:08 AM   #11
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Anyone who thinks coyotes cannot take down a adult healthy deer is delusional. A 45 lb- 50 lb coyote not being able to kill a 120 lb deer ? 120 lb wolves kill 600 lb - 1500 lb , elk, moose and bison.

Yes, like my dog , they are omnivores , but given a choice between fruits and berries , they will choose red meat when available.
There's no real evidence, and a single wolf cannot take down anything that large unless it's completely spent.

Most coyote I have seen in the Adirondacks are small, like 20-30 lbs. A large coyote is probably a coywolf, and unless they are in a strong pack and running that deer to exhaustion, they aren't going to be able to take it.

You also know that wolf hunts (and coyote hunts) are highly unsuccessful? They are lucky to get something 1/10 chases. It's probably less in heavily wooded areas.
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Old 03-23-2018, 09:05 AM   #12
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Well friend, you need to pass your theory on to the coyotes on the Tug Hill Plateau.
I manage 30,000 acres of timberland in the core of the plateau, have seen many coyote killed adult deer , summer - winter. It doesn’t take much to run a deer to exhaustion in deep snow pack, especially when the crust of the snow will hold a coyote but not a deer.
But coyotes real impact is on fawns in spring. Couple that with a now healthy B Bear population on the plateau, and the fawn recruitment level is less than 1 .

If you are right about our coyotes actually being coy- wolves,( and they are much heavier than20-30 lbs) then we already have a large predators here, no need to re-introduce grey wolves ?
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Old 03-23-2018, 10:06 AM   #13
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Well friend, you need to pass your theory on to the coyotes on the Tug Hill Plateau.
I manage 30,000 acres of timberland in the core of the plateau, have seen many coyote killed adult deer , summer - winter. It doesnít take much to run a deer to exhaustion in deep snow pack, especially when the crust of the snow will hold a coyote but not a deer.
But coyotes real impact is on fawns in spring. Couple that with a now healthy B Bear population on the plateau, and the fawn recruitment level is less than 1 .

If you are right about our coyotes actually being coy- wolves,( and they are much heavier than20-30 lbs) then we already have a large predators here, no need to re-introduce grey wolves ?
Sounds good to me. Our deer population is already rampant. Maybe the coyotes will help control them more downstate where they are really over populated (I don't know much about Tug Hill). And FWIW those coyotes are selecting the weakest deer - the strongest will be able to outlast them. And of course they will go after fawns. Wolves and cats would do the same. That's how it works. I think it is highly possible that the coyotes in TH are coywolves though - they are migrating from Canada and that seems like a likely habitat for them.

And I do agree, and that's why I said coyotes are filling a good niche. It just so happens that hunters don't agree because they are in direct competition for the same food sources. But we have to realize that the deer population is not livestock, they are wild animals, and if it comes to the point where coyotes take a significant portion of that resource, we'll have to limit the number of deer taken by humans.
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Old 03-23-2018, 01:35 PM   #14
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Sounds good to me. Our deer population is already rampant. Maybe the coyotes will help control them more downstate where they are really over populated (I don't know much about Tug Hill). And FWIW those coyotes are selecting the weakest deer - the strongest will be able to outlast them. And of course they will go after fawns. Wolves and cats would do the same. That's how it works. I think it is highly possible that the coyotes in TH are coywolves though - they are migrating from Canada and that seems like a likely habitat for them.

And I do agree, and that's why I said coyotes are filling a good niche. It just so happens that hunters don't agree because they are in direct competition for the same food sources. But we have to realize that the deer population is not livestock, they are wild animals, and if it comes to the point where coyotes take a significant portion of that resource, we'll have to limit the number of deer taken by humans.
Come to the Adirondacks and see just how abundant the deer aren't The number of deer taken by humans already are limited.
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Old 03-25-2018, 09:02 PM   #15
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I'm a romantic. The quest to make the existing environment conducive to a large predator is the direction that would benefit the ecosystem.
Romance and alpha predator recovery/viability in the ADKs are utterly compatible. The NYS DEC's updated wolf and puma assessments for the 2015 state wildlife actions plans cite plenty of good big predator habitat not just in the ADKs, but throughout NY state.

MN, WI, and the MI UP have supported as many as 3,700 wolves in habitats, prey and human densities comparable to the ADKs. Italy, the same size as CA with twice as many people, supports 700 wolves down the entire peninsula (as well as a small population of European grizzlies two hours from Rome). Spain hosts between 2,000-3,000 wolves, more than the entire western US wolf population. I've tracked wolves in the Maritime Alps thirty miles from 6 million people in Nice/Monaco.

There are 70 adult pumas and roughly 100 kittens living in the San Francisco peninsula between the cities of San Francisco, San Jose, and Santa Cruz, some with home ranges I've tracked in San Francisco and Silicon Valley suburbs. The habitat and human densities are similar to Rockland/Orange Counties down-state. At least 6 peer-reviewed puma habitat studies for the East (one for the ADKs) and Midwest have been published, not to mention the dozen reintroduction locations in the Southeast/Florida cited in the panther recovery plan. Public attitude studies for panther reintroductions including hunters, anglers and residents within the proposed reintroduction areas averaged 80% in favor.

20 Texas pumas were test-released in southern GA for two years twenty years ago. They did fine. We've learned much since the lynx failure.

Proximity to humans and human development is not the limiting issue with respect to alpha predator recovery --- persecution is.

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Old 03-26-2018, 09:08 AM   #16
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https://www.nytimes.com/1989/08/29/s...to-deaths.html

1989: Most "rewilded" Lynx were hit by cars. All eventually died out. For these first 6 deaths, persecution was not an issue. 4 by car, 1 natural causes, 1 shot raiding a farmer's livestock.
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Old 03-26-2018, 10:22 AM   #17
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As I said, we have learned much since then. The lynx were "hard released," dropped in from the Yukon without any time to "acclimate" to the region. A soft release would pen them in large enclosures for several months before release. A couple of males, and female family members would be recruited, older females with several adult female daughters - 3 or 4 females to 1 male - whose home ranges tend to overlap, and will even rendezvous at times. The family bond would make them less likely to disperse.

A couple of the Texas cats were hit/shot, but the rest roamed GA successfully for 2 years before recapture.

Part of why wolves have been unable to recolonize NY from Ontario/Quebec is they get hammered as soon as they leave protected parks/reserves like Algonquin, Gatineau, and Papineau Labelle.
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Old 03-26-2018, 11:56 AM   #18
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Romance and alpha predator recovery/viability in the ADKs are utterly compatible. The NYS DEC's updated wolf and puma assessments for the 2015 state wildlife actions plans cite plenty of good big predator habitat not just in the ADKs, but throughout NY state.
Where is this "good predator habitat" outside of the ADK's? Tug Hill perhaps, but that puts any apex predator in close proximity to farming country, which they generally don't do well in. I'd also like to know the DEC's actual (not paraphrased) assessment of the NY prey base. Any re-introduced apex predators, like wolves, are not going to stay in the ADK's and Tug Hill; they're going to move to where the high deer #'s are in western and central NY.

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MN, WI, and the MI UP have supported as many as 3,700 wolves in habitats, prey and human densities comparable to the ADKs. Italy, the same size as CA with twice as many people, supports 700 wolves down the entire peninsula (as well as a small population of European grizzlies two hours from Rome). Spain hosts between 2,000-3,000 wolves, more than the entire western US wolf population. I've tracked wolves in the Maritime Alps thirty miles from 6 million people in Nice/Monaco.
The wolves in Italy and Spain thrive in remote, mountainous country which has a lower human footprint, relative to other parts of Europe. The same applies for the Great Lakes and Rocky wolf populations in the lower 48. There is extensive backcountry, with large prey bases, for those wolves to live and hunt in. There is also a lot of farm and ranch land in the west and Great Lakes where those wolves wouldn't be able to cohabit with humans. Many states in those areas are in the process of formulating management (hunting) plans to help control the thriving wolf populations, if they haven't done so already.

The closest comparison you offer is the Great Lakes example; the prey bases and terrain are similar to that of the ADK's. The ADK's, and Tug Hill, while extensive in size offer a very limited prey base; management would have to be on the table for any potential wolf-reintroduction to deal with wolves that eventually spill over into NY's agrarian areas, which would be inevitable.

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There are 70 adult pumas and roughly 100 kittens living in the San Francisco peninsula between the cities of San Francisco, San Jose, and Santa Cruz, some with home ranges I've tracked in San Francisco and Silicon Valley suburbs. The habitat and human densities are similar to Rockland/Orange Counties down-state. At least 6 peer-reviewed puma habitat studies for the East (one for the ADKs) and Midwest have been published, not to mention the dozen reintroduction locations in the Southeast/Florida cited in the panther recovery plan. Public attitude studies for panther reintroductions including hunters, anglers and residents within the proposed reintroduction areas averaged 80% in favor.
I'm not sure where that 80% is coming from. I'm sure a lot of people want to see predators re-introduced. But there are a lot of ecological and practical considerations that those proponents don't take into account. The one study pertaining to the ADK's did note that there was enough physical territory for cougars; I'm not sure that it adequately addressed the issue of adequate prey base, which is something the DEC biologists would heavily consider for such a policy debate. The hard winters, coyote and bear are already quite effective at keeping the deer #'s in check in the ADK's and big woods of the North.

Cougar thrive in places like Idaho, California, and the Pacific Northwest because there are tremendous prey populations to support them, even after accounting for climate and other predator losses (to include human hunting).

I'll also point out that even California, which is politically against predator management, does acknowledge that they need to be managed; wildlife officials there have historically culled 100-200 individual cougars annually over the last few years due to increasing conflict with human activity.


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Part of why wolves have been unable to recolonize NY from Ontario/Quebec is they get hammered as soon as they leave protected parks/reserves like Algonquin, Gatineau, and Papineau Labelle.
That's a baseless argument. Wolves are hunted in many parts of North America; their populations have continually expanded and increased because the hunting is regulated and, in some cases, targeted against specific packs that have had repeat run-in's with local livestock. The Algonquin wolf, which is really an amalgamation of gray wolf and coyote, is actually protected in the Algonquin Provincial Park and surrounding areas. The hunting that takes place outside those areas is regulated in a similar manner to other parts of Canada and the US where wolf hunting is allowed.

There is plenty of remote country outside of those protected areas where wolves can and in fact do roam with little to no hunting pressure. The reason they don't come closer to NY isn't because of some evil hunter waiting to "hammer" them outside of the protected areas; it's because the wolves have no real incentive to travel closer to human presence in southeastern Ontario and NY when they have nearly unlimited wilderness to roam and hunt in to the north.

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Old 03-26-2018, 05:47 PM   #19
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Gosh, I thought we already had cougars in NY. :-) :-) :-)
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Old 04-06-2018, 11:25 AM   #20
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Gosh, I thought we already had cougars in NY. :-) :-) :-)
Lol...it wouldn't be a mountain lion thread without someone introducing that play-on-words. Even on the hunting forums, people make that same joke.

And to be fair, the ADK's isn't really ideal habitat for those cougars either...you're more likely to find them in a city or town.
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