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View Diary: Two years after hunting was legalized half the wolves are gone (263 comments)

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  •  You know the coyote population in the east is (14+ / 0-)

    a direct result of the killing of the wolves there.

    "Til you're so fucking crazy you can't follow their rules" John Lennon - Working Class Hero

    by Horace Boothroyd III on Fri Feb 01, 2013 at 05:22:02 PM PST

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    •  Coyote are all over Chicagoland. (7+ / 0-)

      Just last week I saw two crossing NW Highway in Mount Prospect, which is a very busy road along the Metra tracks.  I was quite surprised to see them that close in, in such a developed area.  They probably use the tracks for travel, because further out they pass by several forest preserves. I've seen several there too on hikes. Only see them for a second though before they turn and vanish. I wonder how many there actually are, it must be a lot.

      •  They tenuously adapt to urban life. (6+ / 0-)

        Most close in become ill, usually from pet disease.

        "Til you're so fucking crazy you can't follow their rules" John Lennon - Working Class Hero

        by Horace Boothroyd III on Fri Feb 01, 2013 at 05:52:07 PM PST

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        •  Actually they are adapting pretty well (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Onomastic, Kevskos, kurt, OllieGarkey

          In the last 15 years I've lived in Chicago, the number of coyotes and their distribution has really expanded in the city.  They have displaced the red foxes that used to occupy that niche (rodent and rabbit hunting)
          except in small isolated places like the rocky shoreline in Evanston and some of the smaller parks and cemeteries.

          I see coyotes very frequently. They sure look healthy... I've read that the city actually supports a denser population of coyotes per sq km than the rural areas.  Makes sense - dense food sources such as geese, rabbits (everywhere), kitty cats, garbage, rats, pigeons. The city has multiple migration corridors - the rivers, a ring of forest reserves, the lakeshore, with lots and lots of public spaces.  "Urbs in Horta" - city in a garden is what they call Chicago, which is more appropriate than "The Windy City" IMO.  Of major US metropolises, Chicago is really designed for wildlife.  I was really pleasantly surprised by this.

          I think it might also just be a gradual process of adapting to new niches - a bunch of long-eared owls decided to roost in the south loop a couple years ago, a stable breeding population of peregrine falcons now lives in the city, and of course at 2AM the night-shift is busy: racoons, possums, skunks which make up the majority of non-human omnivores.

          “If the misery of the poor be caused not by the laws of nature, but by our institutions, great is our sin.” Charles Darwin

          by ivorybill on Fri Feb 01, 2013 at 11:45:09 PM PST

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      •  Recent study (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Onomastic

        estimated about 2000 in the metropolitan area.  Don't have the citation, but it was reported in the NYT about a year ago and can probably be googled.  Most of their diet is rabbits which proliferate in the city.  They take canada geese on occasion, a few deer fawns, but as you've probably noticed, deer overpopulate the forest reserves.  I think it's OK if they control the geese a little - we've certainly got a surplus.

        Problems occur when they eat people's pets.  They will kill cats, and coyotes can also kill smaller dogs.  

        On the whole, I think its a positive thing that coyotes are repopulating and recolonizing the city.  They do tend to displace red foxes, which also live in parts of the city.

        “If the misery of the poor be caused not by the laws of nature, but by our institutions, great is our sin.” Charles Darwin

        by ivorybill on Fri Feb 01, 2013 at 11:32:47 PM PST

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    •  In some respects, absolutely. (3+ / 0-)

      I hope we can revive the species here in the east.

      I wonder what affect wolves have on feral cat problems?

      Did you see the reporting on how feral cats kill billions of animals every year, making them the most dangerous invasive species we have?

      I wish people would focus on the cats, an actual problem, rather than the wolves, which need to grow in population, not shrink.

      An Fhirinn an aghaidh an t'Saoghail. (The truth against the world.) Is treasa tuath na tighearna. (The common people are mightier than the lords.)

      by OllieGarkey on Fri Feb 01, 2013 at 05:53:24 PM PST

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      •  Last week's NYT science section had the (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Nulwee, Oh Mary Oh, Onomastic, OllieGarkey

        article on the number of deaths of native birds, reptiles and rodents caused by domestic cats, feral or not.  Very disturbing.

      •  Increasingly (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Onomastic, Kevskos, OllieGarkey

        coyotes are controlling feral cats

        “If the misery of the poor be caused not by the laws of nature, but by our institutions, great is our sin.” Charles Darwin

        by ivorybill on Fri Feb 01, 2013 at 11:46:12 PM PST

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        •  Do you have some data on that, (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          ivorybill

          because the colloquial evidence I've got doesn't suggest that this is the case.

          If that's true, it will change my opinion on Coyotes forever.

          And I always value hard data over colloquial info.

          An Fhirinn an aghaidh an t'Saoghail. (The truth against the world.) Is treasa tuath na tighearna. (The common people are mightier than the lords.)

          by OllieGarkey on Sat Feb 02, 2013 at 06:42:35 AM PST

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          •  Data (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            OllieGarkey

            from a study of coyotes in Chicago - 42% rodents, 22% deer (overpopulated in Chicago and includes roadkill), 18% rabbits, 13% birds (canada geese mostly) 30% fruit and vegetable matter, 8% racoons, 2% human garbage, 1% house cats

            If house cats are only 1% of diet, they probably don't control them all that well. I'm perfectly OK with them eating rats and a deer or goose from time to time.

            I do know a lot of folks who have lost cats, and know of two cats that survived coyote attacks (witnessed).  They have been pretty good at forcing red foxes out of areas they have invaded.

            “If the misery of the poor be caused not by the laws of nature, but by our institutions, great is our sin.” Charles Darwin

            by ivorybill on Sat Feb 02, 2013 at 07:01:53 AM PST

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          •  And I'm rather surprised (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            OllieGarkey

            at how little human garbage they seem to eat.  I suppose that mostly feeds possums and racoons.  

            “If the misery of the poor be caused not by the laws of nature, but by our institutions, great is our sin.” Charles Darwin

            by ivorybill on Sat Feb 02, 2013 at 07:05:07 AM PST

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          •  Just a lifetime of lost cats. nt (0+ / 0-)

            "Til you're so fucking crazy you can't follow their rules" John Lennon - Working Class Hero

            by Horace Boothroyd III on Sat Feb 02, 2013 at 01:30:43 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

      •  Billions of those are mice, rats, pigeons and (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        OllieGarkey, Kevskos

        rabbits we'd otherwise be controlling ourselves, likely with poisons.

        Pigeons aren't native.  Neither are black or brown rats.  

        More importantly, anywhere the natural environment hasn't already been destroyed, cats simply can't compete with coyotes, foxes, and lynx/bobcat. Even raccoons constantly drive them off of feeding stations. You won't find them thriving anywhere native predators haven't already been driven out.

        If 7-16 lb cats where a great fit in an undisturbed North American habitat, you can bet a small species of Bobcat would have evolved to fill that niche.  

        I find it pretty weird that they've got such certainty when the range of estimates for the total number of feral cats is "30 to 80 million", but there's absolutely no denying that billions of critters every year are killed by Felis Catus.

        There's also no denying that in North America, unlike New Zeeland or Australia, the biggest threat to birds and small animals which are endangered is loss of habitat.

        "I have often seen people uncivil by too much civility, and tiresome in their courtesy." Michel de Montaigne

        by JesseCW on Sat Feb 02, 2013 at 04:47:05 AM PST

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        •  Not if the numbers on feral cats is correct. (0+ / 0-)

          I mean, I tend to trust Smithsonian-run studies, and those studies suggest that cats are a huge problem.

          And we don't need cats for rodent population control. Foxes and Coyotes are both species that will control the population of those rodents, and predatory birds eat pigeons.

          Pigeon populations aren't a problem in those areas where predatory birds flourish, they're only a problem in cities, where large birds get killed by buildings.

          Loss of habitat is a problem, and an important part of this discussion. Cats are also a problem.

          Both need to be dealt with.

          An Fhirinn an aghaidh an t'Saoghail. (The truth against the world.) Is treasa tuath na tighearna. (The common people are mightier than the lords.)

          by OllieGarkey on Sat Feb 02, 2013 at 06:51:28 AM PST

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          •  This is not new research. They compiled 75 years (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Kevskos, OllieGarkey

            of data.  I have no idea how or if they weighted it for quality or age.  It's not at all transparent if you're not subscribing to their journal.

            They're behind a 32 dollar pay wall.  I can't even get a look at their base assumptions.  

            I've read that they're assuming that 90% of "owned" cats spend at least part of their time outdoors - no study in the last 30 years has found greater than 50% of such cats being allowed out of homes.  However, thanks to their lack of transparency, I can't fact check that assertion.

            Where foxes and coyotes are actually in a position to control rodent vermin, you won't find more than a smattering of cats outdoors.  Coyotes and foxes eat them.

            What coyotes and foxes aren't going to do is slaughter rats and mice in urban cores, or inside barns.

            If you solve the problem of habitat, the introduced cat problem (whatever its size) is solved.  This isn't New Zeeland or Hawaii.

            All continents except Australia, North America, and Antarctica have either multiple species of Felis or a very similar small cat genus (South America is home to the Margay, Geoffrey's Cat, ect.  Convergent evolution).

            The reason you won't find them natively in North America isn't that small Bobcats couldn't have evolved easily.  It's that there's not really a niche for them here in most of the continent.  Clearly, there are not substantial populations of purely feral Felis Catus in remote parts of the US where humans are not at least scaring off predators and attracting prey.  

            I've spent a lot of time in our national parks and forests, in a wide variety of habitats.  You may well encounter feral dogs from time to time, but you won't find feral cats or signs of them.

            Based on credible recent research conducted by National Geographic, involving the same "critter cam" technique they've used to study the behavior of many other species, fully domestic cats are killing about half a Billion birds a year.  

            That's direct primary field observation, not just compiling aged data of unknown provenance.

            http://www.kittycams.uga.edu/...

            It's a pretty huge disparity in results.

            "I have often seen people uncivil by too much civility, and tiresome in their courtesy." Michel de Montaigne

            by JesseCW on Sat Feb 02, 2013 at 07:17:36 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  This is good info that you posted here. (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              JesseCW

              I accept that there are potential concerns about the way this data was assembled. I myself have criticized studies for the same reason you're criticizing this one.

              If you're able to get a hold of the cat study, and you do any writing about it, please, please, please send me a kosmail.

              I'd like to see your take on the cat study, in depth, with links and such, if you're ever able to get your hands on the full report.

              An Fhirinn an aghaidh an t'Saoghail. (The truth against the world.) Is treasa tuath na tighearna. (The common people are mightier than the lords.)

              by OllieGarkey on Sat Feb 02, 2013 at 11:02:11 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  I'd like to. The most important question is (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                OllieGarkey

                really what they're killing, rather than how much.

                If they're killing a million endangered shrews or voles every year, it matters a lot more than if they're killing 10 billion non-native rats and mice.

                I'm hoping that National Geographic will fund more studies, in different parts of the country and using ferals instead of just "owned" cats.  It would give us a much better picture of real predatory behavior.

                "I have often seen people uncivil by too much civility, and tiresome in their courtesy." Michel de Montaigne

                by JesseCW on Sun Feb 03, 2013 at 02:37:14 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

        •  Most (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          JesseCW

          of the kills are very young birds.  Most birds are lucky if 20% make it to adult no matter what.  Feral cats live in urban areas and hunt urban birds that were not common in the past such as grey cat birds and mockingbirds.

          •  They're also known to hit house sparrows pretty (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Kevskos

            hard - and house sparrows non-native and they're hell on bluebirds.

            A small percentage of cats are "good birders".  They master the technique. Most don't, and if they chance to get a bird it's one already injured by a raptor or a nestling that fell.

            That's one interesting result of the Georgia University/National Geographic study I cited elsewhere.

            A far bigger concern in North America is actually cats directly predating a variety of endangered lizards, but there is no American Lizard Conservancy.

            "I have often seen people uncivil by too much civility, and tiresome in their courtesy." Michel de Montaigne

            by JesseCW on Sat Feb 02, 2013 at 09:46:14 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

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