Cristina Eisenberg is a conservation biologist who wants to understand how wolves affect ecosystems and habitat for other animals. This fall, while basing her field studies out of the Conservancy-owned cabin know affectionately as the "Polebridge Palace" she got a first hand demonstration. She witnessed the interplay of the Crown of the Continent's top predators, from the front porch of the "palace". Needless to say, she just had to write to us.
"While we were there in September, we had an encounter with a cougar who came within 5 feet of the house. We saw a wolf run by, and then heard the sounds of a cougar making a kill, followed by the sounds of her being pushed off the kill. I specialize in large carnivore ecology, so I was able to reconstruct what happened. We waited until the next day to check out the kill site, which turned out to be 100 feet from the house. Tracks and sign showed that the cougar had killed a white-tailed deer, and then a wolf and a grizzly sow with a cub had showed up on the scene. The sow stole the carcass, dragging it off. When her carcass was stolen, the cougar ran toward the house, where we were sitting on the front porch. She was very upset, but did not behave aggressively toward us. We went indoors and observed her as she circled the house for ten minutes. She was a beautiful, large female in superb physical condition. This goes to show that the North Fork is one of the wildest places in North America, and The Nature Conservancy’s presence there is part of what’s helping keep this place so wild—both by maintaining habitat for large carnivores and other animals and by helping facilitate research such as mine."
We hope to post more field notes as Cristina continues her study of wolves on the Crown, so stay tuned. By the way, the Polebridge Palace is for sale through our Conservation Buyers program. It clearly offers some unusual amenities!
January 26, 2011