Wildlife Coexistence is the key to ecosystem recovery
A new Wisconsin publication produced by the Friends of the Wisconsin Wolf & Wildlife nonprofit organization. Topics include:
by John Laundre
Cougar biologist "considers the public cost of wildlife mismanagement, and the consequences of bureaucratic decisions that fail to consider the public good and the intrinsic value of wild
predators." Also, October '14,
The North American Beaver is considered a keystone species, building habitat for birds and mammals literally from the ground up. They reduce stream incision, slowing water and creating a soil base for plant life that wildlife feeds on; Their engineering has the ability to store water and off-set some of the problems we face with a warming climate and declining water sources; They restore fish populations including salmon and trout; create habitat for declining species populations such as moose, songbirds and other wildlife; Mitigate the damage presented by a warmer climate as well. A recent study by Pollack et al., "…the cumulative loss of millions of beaver dams has dramatically affected the hydrology and sediment dynamics of stream systems…" Link here for intriguing Beaver ecology projects in Yellowstone from 1984 to 2007.
Much like wolves, there is myth and ignorance associated with Beavers. If flooding and tree loss is a concern, there are many ways to mitigate these challenges to living with Beavers. A few examples:
Flooding - Installation of flow devices, pipes, exclosures and beaver fences
Tree cutting - Cages, fences, "paint with sand"... (note: dead trees in water are becoming increasingly accepted by state agencies as excellent habitat for fish and all aquatic wildlife).
"Beaver Fever" (giardiasis) - recent research shows that it is usually human fecal matter that first contaminates the water, thus infecting the mammals living in the habitat, rather than vice versa.
WI's DNR is currently updating their Beaver Management Plan (2015-2025).
Link here for a present-day example to a story of a community in Martinez, California that is committed to coexisting with beavers and celebrates their existence in an annual Beaver Festival.
Reformed trapper, naturalist
Conservationist "…they seemed to be almost like little folk from some other planet, whose language we could not yet quite understand. To kill such creatures seemed monstrous…"
Grey Owl, a backcountry Canadian reformed trapper turned writer and speaker. Gray Owl spoke out on behalf of the plight of the declining beaver population and the inhumane nature of trapping such a sentient, social and endearing creature. Numerous unique films (silent, audio, documentary and contemporary) exist of Grey Owl's story and work. (Link here for a brief biography of Grey Owl). Meet Grey Owl's contemporary, Sherri Tippie, professional beaver trapper/promoter of beaver coexistence.
Dr. Lynn Rogers, PhD, Founder, North American Bear Center
"It's me, Bear."
Dr. Rogers has worked for decades researching bears to promote coexistence; replacing myths with facts. "Bears have been unfairly demonized for centuries. Exaggerated perceptions of danger historically led to eradication campaigns using bounties, poison, trapping, and shooting. All eight bear species around the world are now listed as vulnerable, threatened or endangered in all or portions of their ranges." Visit North American Bear Center website.
Slagle et al.; Building tolerance for bears: A communication experiment revealed that people became much more tolerant of bears on the landscape if they were educated to the benefits of bears. Link here for Pdf
Joe Hutto, Naturalist
Joe Hutto challenges humans to imagine a life from a sentient beings perspective by living intimately with the creatures he strives to understand and crafts a new definition of coexistence.
"... an interest in imprinting young animals, incubated the eggs and waited for them to hatch. As the chicks emerged from their shells, they locked eyes with an unusual but dedicated mother." Enjoy PBS' Nature production "My Life as a Turkey" featuring Joe Hutto. Wild Turkeys were extirpated from Wisconsin by the 1800's due to hunting. Reintroduction began in the 1970's and was complete by the 2000's - turkeys in all 72 counties. Link here for a complete DNR primer on our Wild Turkeys in Wisconsin: "Ecology of Wild Turkeys in Wisconsin"
Europe's large carnivores are experiencing a resurgence in numbers in nonprotected areas and living alongside humans. Even with half the land area and double the population density, Europe
coexists with twice as many wolves as the U.S. The
Habitats Directive, Europe's equivalent to the Endangered Species Act, uniquely protects species across national borders. "…the overall success can be attributed to
cross-border cooperation, strong regulations and positive public attitude that brings wildlife into the fold with human society, rather than banishing it to the wilderness…"
Heroes who promote coexistence and safeguard our public trust
Governor Pat Quinn (IL)
vetoed legislation that would have allowed Bobcat hunting."We all have a responsibility to protect and maintain Illinois' wildlife... allowing people to hunt Bobcats in Illinois violates that responsibility…"
(As of July 14, 2015, the new Illinois Gov. Rauner has signed into legislation a legalized bobcat trophy hunting season.)
Senator Ernie Chambers (NE) understands the value of coexisting with wildlife. On 01/01/2015 he introduced a bill to eliminate hunting of Mountain Lions and will
attempt to repeal a bill to kill prairie dogs which allows the use of poison...
Wildlife artist & naturalist
7 years of his life spent studying and living with a herd of Mule Deer. He shares his knowledge, observations and passion for these highly sentient, intelligent animals through a PBS Video, Nature: "Touching the Wild - Living with Mule Deer and a book titled, "Touching the Wild: Living with the Mule Deer of Deadman Gulch".
HSUS' Wildlife Services
HSUS demonstrates a model of coexisting with wild animals not often seen by other wildlife services. Link here for a 2-min. video. Also, see Predator Defense's new award-winning documentary, "EXPOSED: USDA's Secret War on Wildlife".
50 European wildlife biologists suggest that positive public attitude and support along with strong protections illustrate that "...large carnivores can coexist with large numbers of people…"
"I love coyotes" said no sheep farmer ever...except, maybe me. I actually do. I know they are smart and adaptable, wily, and crafty...The dog's keep the sheep safe and define their territory. Both understand the rules, and by respecting these rules, the sheep are safe, and the coyote can live another day. And, perhaps I can continue to marvel at her beauty in this frozen landscape." ~Louise Liebenberg, The Grazerie
More perspective: "There's much to admire about Coyotes"
The Grazerie ranch is the first in Canada to be certified Predator Friendly and Wildlife Friendly. Link here for their blog or website. Their blog has invaluble information and is simply a beautiful, literary & photographic journal; I highly recommend it.
American Mountain Lions & their habitat
American Mountain Lions have had numerous confirmed sightings in Wisconsin and are a protected species in our state. One Lion's journey thru Wisconsin was documented (below) but ended sadly on the East coast. Link to learn more at Mountain Lion Foundation about "Lion behavior & biology"; "Protecting people, pets and livestock"; Active threats to the species; Audio interview by Cougar biologist. Enjoy a video about Mountain Lion biology. See WDNR website for information on Mountain Lions in Wisconsin.
While making light of bear cubs' predicament, DNR blog fails to highlight tragedy that will likely occur for these cubs as mother bear was apparently killed. According to WDNR 2014 bear hunting regulations, it is illegal to kill any adult bear accompanied by cub or cubs. Another lost opportunity by WDNR. See video to to hilite age of cubs.
October 1, 2014
Prairie Dog's Best Friend
September 24, 2014
Intrepid Minnesota livestock farmer models coexistence and all too rare land ethic.
"Janet McNally didn't let anything stop her from pursuing her dreams of becoming a sheep farmer. But then the wolves moved in and devoured her flock. She had to do something. But what?"
August 25, 2014
New York Times - Science
A story of hope as native tribes work to reintroduce rare species including Black-footed Ferrets and native migratory Bison to their tribal lands.
Excellent information on carnivores: wolves, bears, tigers, pumas and lions. The Carnivore Coexistence Lab (University of Wisconsin-Madison) creates, applies and shares knowledge and promotes a "...balance between human needs and carnivore conservation worldwide."
How important is the beaver anyway?
"Beavers are a keystone species - that is, their presence and activities are so important to an ecosystem that their removal leads to a loss of habitat for other species and a breakdown of ecological integrity” Dave Foreman, Rewilding North America.
Do you know that there are nonlethal methods to address conflicts with beaver such as tree wraps, beaver deceivers, and the use of cage traps to relocate them?
Benefits of Beaver/Travesty of Trapping (link to Exposing the Big Game by Jim
Robertson taken from Trap Free Montana Public Lands)
Recommended literature on wildlife coexistence
"Who Owns the Wildlife?"; John Laundre; State University of New York Otswego
06/23/2014 - "Compassion in Conservation: Don't be cruel to be kind"; Marc Bekoff; Daniel Ramp
Coyote Coexistence - "Coyotes as Neighbors: Focus on Facts"
Coyote Watch Canada - "Living with Coyotes"
United States Humane Society - "Living with Wild Neighbors in Urban and Suburban Communities: A Guide for Local
02/08/2014 - Ranchers learn ways to coexist (link to audio)
Promoting Coexistence with Predators