coyotes tame lions on refuge

By Jim Stanford on March 31, 2013

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The juvenile lions take refuge on a fence. Click to enlarge.

A week after a family of mountain lions devoured an unfortunately named black Lab, canines have struck back.

A pack of five coyotes chased a pair of mountain lion kittens onto a buck-and-rail fence Thursday evening on the National Elk Refuge. Staff from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service photographed the standoff, which lasted more than an hour. One cat ran away with the coyotes in pursuit, while the other hid in the grass as darkness fell.

The photos, posted in an online gallery and widely shared, had been viewed nearly two million times as of this afternoon.

The kittens appeared to have survived the encounter, as refuge staff spotted both Saturday. The whereabouts of the mother reportedly were unknown.

(Photo by Lori Iverson/USFWS)

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mountain lion in John Dodge?

By Jim Stanford on April 5, 2011

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Seeking shelter from the storm, like the rest of us. Click to enlarge.

This time, the Cougar Fund says the photo is legit.

Liza Hoke, a resident of the John Dodge subdivision off Highway 390, reportedly shot this image today in her neighborhood near the Snake River. The photo made the rounds on Facebook and came to me via PAWS and Terra PR.

A friend described the mountain lion as hunting for “gourmet leftovers.” PAWS warned pet owners to be alert and keep pets close.

While it’s not surprising to find a cat stalking the river bottomlands, I was a little skeptical, given what happened last time such a photo came around. Allegedly a lion peering in a window in Rafter J, the image turned out to be a widely circulated hoax. The subsequent post debunking the myth, incidentally, is one of the all-time most viewed on this site.

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fattening up for winter

By Jim Stanford on September 12, 2009

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The young griz watches from the top of an old channel.

The young griz watches from the edge of an old channel.

The last two weeks of August provided some extraordinary wildlife sightings, particularly along the Snake in Grand Teton National Park.

These photos were shot by a client on one of my rafting trips, Rob Shore of Greenville, S.C. The young griz sat by an elk carcass on the edge of the river for two days, about a mile and a half upstream of Dornan’s. I was fortunate to observe it on four straight trips.

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Lords of Nature

By Jim Stanford on June 5, 2009

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Western Wolf Coalition ad. Photo by Mark Miller.

Western Wolf Coalition ad. Seven packs are active in the Jackson Hole area.

At Summit on the Snake last week, Steve Cain, chief biologist for Grand Teton National Park, alluded to recent research showing that restoration of wolves has had ancillary benefits for the Jackson Hole ecosystem, including increased numbers of pronghorn, small mammals and raptors.

The predators have reduced coyote populations, for example, which prey on varmints, which are now more numerous and so provide more food for eagles, hawks and other birds of prey. Similar studies have found a correlation between a reduction in elk populations and increased riparian habitat.

Tonight the Western Wolf Coalition presents a film about this balance wolves and cougars bring to the environment, “Lords of Nature: Life in a Land of Great Predators.” Showtime is 7 p.m. at Center for the Arts, and admission is free. Click here to watch a trailer.

The screening will be followed by a panel discussion featuring Mike Jimenez, wolf recovery coordinator for the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service; Dubois rancher Jon Robinett; Phil Cameron, outreach director for Western Wolf Coalition; and state Rep. Keith Gingery, R-Jackson, who has tried to broker a legislative solution to Wyoming’s wolf management issues.

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R.I.P., east Jackson moose

By Jim Stanford on March 13, 2008

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moose at the entrance to Thai Me Up — Mark Gocke photo

The young moose that had been grazing in yards and sleeping on porches in east Jackson has died.

Mark Gocke of Wyoming Game and Fish reports that his agency received a call of a dead moose near the intersection of Snow King and Cache last night. Wildlife officers picked up the animal this morning.

“I was hoping she could hold on until spring,” Gocke writes.

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