August 6, 2020

Behavioral correlates of supplementary feeding of wildlife: can general conclusions be drawn?


Supplementary feeding is a common, but controversial, tool in wildlife management, because it can benefit both humans and wildlife (e.g., increased wildlife densities), but has certain downsides (e.g., increased disease transmission). For species that are often involved in human-wildlife conflicts, two opposing paradigms with respect to supplementary feeding exist, i.e., (i) that supplementary feeding is efficient to lure animals away from undesired places (i.e., diversionary feeding; hypothesis 1), and (ii) that supplementary feeding stimulates ‘nuisance’ behavior (i.e., increased tolerance for humans and selection for human facilities; hypothesis 2). We formulated an alternative hypothesis (hypothesis 3); i.e., that behavioral variation among individuals dilutes population-wide, general patterns with respect to supplementary feeding. Based on GPS relocation data and resource selection functions, we show that neither of the two opposing management paradigms (hypothesis 1 and 2) hold in a particularly ‘conflict rich’ species, the brown bear (Ursus arctos), because individual variation in selection behavior with respect to supplementary feeding diluted population-wide patterns (hypothesis 3), even under very different environmental contexts (Sweden vs. Slovenia; i.e., different human and bear population density, history and intensity of supplementary feeding, topography, etc.). Our results emphasize that individual variation is an important component of behavioral ecology and should be considered in wildlife management and conservation.<<<Read More>>>


Maine Official Says Moose Population Holding Steady, BUT……..

According to a report found on WCSH-TV website, Lee Kantar, Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife moose biologist, says he believes the moose population is holding steady in Maine, even though 13 of the 60 cow and calf moose collared this year for a moose study have died.

Personally, I would have a difficult time being so optimistic as I believe that to be an unusually high mortality rate. However, Kantar seems to pass it off as the result of a severe winter and winter ticks.

However, I find one statement in this report disturbing.

Biologist Lee Kanter is heading up the program in Maine. His study is ongoing, but he suspects it will reveal a higher than average mortality rate among calves. Adult moose will continue to reproduce so Kanter believes we’ll see just a blip in the population.

The problem with this statement is it fails to state the not so obvious to most people; that even though adult moose will continue to reproduce, there will be fewer of them to do that. Recruitment is a term used to describe the number or percentage of new-born moose that survive their first winter. For a herd to “hold steady” it means that recruitment must at least equal the loss of adult reproducing moose.

If a recruitment rate is smaller than adult moose loss over a sustained period of time, the herd will continue to be decimated. It appears Kantar is betting on an easing of severe winters and his claim that ticks will fall off moose into deep snow and die, will lessen the effects of ticks next winter.

It would have been helpful if Mr. Kantar, or the person filing the report, had been more forthcoming on why Kantar suspects the mortality on calves to be “higher than average.”


Gene Flow Between Wolf and Shepherd Dog Populations in Georgia (Caucasus)

Gene Flow Between Wolf and Shepherd Dog Populations in Georgia (Caucasus)
Natia Kopaliani, Maia Shakarashvili, Zurab Gurielidze, Tamar Qurkhuli and David Tarkhnishvili


We studied the distribution of the mitochondrial DNA haplotypes and microsatellite genotypes at 8 loci in 102 gray wolves, 57 livestock guarding dogs, and 9 mongrel dogs from Georgia (Caucasus). Most of the studied dogs had mitochondrial haplotypes clustered with presumably East Asian dog lineages, and most of the studied wolves had the haplotypes clustered with European wolves, but 20% of wolves and 37% of dogs shared the same mitochondrial haplotypes. Bayesian inference with STRUCTURE software suggested that more than 13% of the studied wolves had detectable dog ancestry and more than 10% of the dogs had detectable wolf ancestry. About 2–3% of the sampled wolves and dogs were identified, with a high probability, as first-generation hybrids. These results were supported by the relatedness analysis, which showed that 10% of wolves and 20% of dogs had closest relatives from an opposite group. The results of the study suggest that wolf–dog hybridization is a common event in the areas where large livestock guarding dogs are held in a traditional way, and that gene flow between dogs and gray wolves was an important force influencing gene pool of dogs for millennia since early domestication events. This process may have been terminated 1) in areas outside the natural range of gray wolves and 2) since very recent time, when humans started to more tightly control contacts of purebred dogs.

*Note* – The full copy of this study can be obtained through a purchase.


Update on New Hampshire Moose Study

Through the study, researchers hope to find out if natural mortality has increased among New Hampshire’s moose since a similar study was conducted here ten years ago (from 2001-2006). The current research effort is a more directed study focused primarily on mortality. “It’s clear that we need to learn more about the causes of moose mortality and how our changing weather patterns may be affecting both the causes and rates of mortality in our moose herd,” Rines said.<<<Read More>>>


Study: Coyotes in Areas of High Deer Density are Genetically More Wolf-Like


The evolutionary importance of hybridization as a source of new adaptive genetic variation is rapidly gaining recognition. Hybridization between coyotes and wolves may have introduced adaptive alleles into the coyote gene pool that facilitated an expansion in their geographic range and dietary niche. Furthermore, hybridization between coyotes and domestic dogs may facilitate adaptation to human-dominated environments. We genotyped 63 ancestry-informative single nucleotide polymorphisms in 427 canids in order to examine the prevalence, spatial distribution, and ecology of admixture in eastern coyotes. Using multivariate methods and Bayesian clustering analyses, we estimated the relative contributions of western coyotes, western and eastern wolves, and domestic dogs to the admixed ancestry of Ohio and eastern coyotes. We found that eastern coyotes form an extensive hybrid swarm, with all our samples having varying levels of admixture. Ohio coyotes, previously thought to be free of admixture, are also highly admixed with wolves and dogs. Coyotes in areas of high deer density are genetically more wolf-like, suggesting that natural selection for wolf-like traits may result in local adaptation at a fine geographic scale. Our results, in light of other previously published studies of admixture in Canis, reveal a pattern of sex-biased hybridization, presumably generated by male wolves and dogs mating with female coyotes. This study is the most comprehensive genetic survey of admixture in eastern coyotes and demonstrates that the frequency and scope of hybridization can be quantified with relatively few ancestry-informative markers.

<<<Read the Entire Study at Wiley Online Library>>>


Study Shows Coyotes Kill Moose

coyoteattackonbuck - CopyThis study should blow a bunch of cold air up the shorts of wild dog protectors who are ignorant enough to say that coyotes don’t even bother deer. This new study shows that eastern coyotes and coyote/wolf hybrids found in Eastern Canada and Northern New England efficiently bring down adult moose, some weighing in excess of 400 pounds. In one instance just 2 coyotes brought down a 440-pound adult female moose.

Find the report here.

Here’s the Abstract of the study.

It has been widely assumed that coyotes (Canis latrans Say, 1823) are incapable of killing adult moose (Alces alces (L., 1758)) and previous studies of coyote predation support this assumption. However, eastern coyotes and eastern coyote × eastern wolf (Canis lycaon Schreber, 1775) are larger than western coyotes and appear to rely on larger prey in some areas. We used a combination of GPS telemetry, genetic analysis, and field investigation to test the hypothesis that eastern coyotes and coyote × wolf hybrids are capable of preying on adult moose in central Ontario. Our hypothesis was supported, as we documented four definitive cases of eastern coyotes and (or) eastern coyote × eastern wolf hybrids killing moose ?1.5 years old. Predation by coyotes and coyote × wolf hybrids probably does not represent a threat to moose population viability in central Ontario, but our results suggest that researchers and managers in other areas with declining moose populations that are sympatric with eastern coyotes and (or) coyote × wolf hybrids should consider coyote predation as a potential source of mortality.


Study Shows E.G. Eggs That Cause Human Hydatidosis Readily Found in E.G. Endemic Soil


Institute of Parasitology, University of Zu?rich, Zu?rich, Switzerland; Institute of Zoology, Kazakh Academy of Sciences, Academogorodok, Almaty, Kazakhstan


Cystic echinococcosis is a re-emerging disease in central Asia. A total of 120 soil samples taken from 30
gardens of rural homesteads in southern Kazakhstan were analyzed for the presence of taeniid eggs using a concentration technique. Of these, 21 (17.5%) were shown to be contaminated with taeniid eggs. These isolated taeniid eggs were further analyzed using a polymerase chain reaction specific for the G1 (sheep) strain of the tapeworm Echinococcus granulosus, and five samples were shown to be positive. This study demonstrates the widespread contamination of the environment with E. granulosus eggs in an Echinococcus
-endemic area and thus the potential for indirect transmission of E. granulosus to humans from such sources.

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Evolution of a Hunter

Ok! I just got this email and decided I would go ahead and post it and see how readers respond. Personally, I’m not sure if this is at all serious or not. It looks and sounds more like a project of stereotyping with little good to say about hunting. But maybe I’m too sensitive. What do you think?

Evolution of a Hunter


In “Big Woods” of Wisconsin Deer Fawn Survival Rate Only 20%

A recent study, according to a Field and Stream report, says that in northern Wisconsin deer fawn mortality rate runs about 80%, the most deaths caused by predators.