Herding and Transport of Captive Wildlife in Deep Snow

Since the recent storm hit the west coast of the state, people have been particularly concerned about our animals — forgetting just how far we are from the western stretches of Alaska.

Storm or not, visitors do ask us how we move animals around if faced with deep snow.

We do get a lot of snow here in Southcentral Alaska along Turnagain Arm — a branch of Cook Inlet. But we are usually prepared.

Mike Miller and Matt Hertal corral bull elk (Courtesy D. Lindstrand)

Sometimes the white precipitate does nothing more than disguise layers of ice;  sometimes it alone creates challenging conditions.

Lately it seems we have gotten nothing, but that fluffy white stuff here at the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center (AWCC).

The snow really hasn’t been an impediment at all.  We simply switch from our fleet of trucks and all-terrain vehicles to snow machines and sleds.

Yesterday, staff from AWCC and ADF&G tranquilized “Shaguyik” and “Taquka” for a sterilizing procedure. These two year old Kodiak bears are headed to Sweden next Summer and needed to be neutered prior to being sent off to our partner facility — the Orsa Bearpark in Gronklitt.

We agreed to perform the sterilizing procedures as part of a  management program for these orphaned ambassadors.  “Shaguyik” and “Taquka” are not siblings, but they do represent a healthy population of bears.  In fact, there is a moratorium on breeding brown bears in captivity.

To permit captive breeding between this male and female would be irresponsible.  Orsa and AWCC agreed to neuter the young bears some time before they even reached our wildlife campus.

Today, we moved some bull elk from one enclosure to another as part of routine and seasonal management or the herd. There is always a lot going on here.

AWCC & ADF&G staff transport a bear to holding for recovery following a medical procedure (Courtesy AWCC)













Myself and fellow AWCC staff check on "Taquka" as he recovers from a surgical procedure (Courtesy AWCC)


Changing Planet

Meet the Author
With training in wildlife ecology, conservation medicine and comparative psychology, Dr. Schaul's contributions to Nat Geo Voices have covered a range of environmental and social topics. He draws particular attention to the plight of imperiled species highlighting issues at the juncture or nexus of sorta situ wildlife conservation and applied animal welfare. Sorta situ conservation practices are comprised of scientific management and stewardship of animal populations ex situ (in captivity / 'in human care') and in situ (free-ranging / 'in nature'). He also has a background in behavior management and training of companion animals and captive wildlife, as well as conservation marketing and digital publicity. Jordan has shared interviews with colleagues and public figures, as well as editorial news content. In addition, he has posted narratives describing his own work, which include the following examples: • Restoration of wood bison to the Interior of Alaska while (While Animal Curator at Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center and courtesy professor at the University of Alaska) • Rehabilitation of orphaned sloth bears exploited for tourists in South Asia (While executive consultant 'in-residence' at the Agra Bear Rescue Center managed by Wildlife SOS) • Censusing small wild cat (e.g. ocelot and margay) populations in the montane cloud forests of Costa Rica for popular publications with 'The Cat Whisperer' Mieshelle Nagelschneider • Evaluating the impact of ecotourism on marine mammal population stability and welfare off the coast of Mexico's Sea of Cortez (With Boston University's marine science program) Jordan was a director on boards of non-profit wildlife conservation organizations serving nations in Africa, North and South America and Southeast Asia. He is also a consultant to a human-wildlife conflict mitigation organization in the Pacific Northwest. Following animal curatorships in Alaska and California, he served as a charter board member of a zoo advocacy and outreach organization and later as its executive director. Jordan was a member of the Communication and Education Commission of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (CEC-IUCN) and the Bear Specialist Group of the IUCN Species Survival Commission (BSG-SSC-IUCN). He has served on the advisory council of the National Wildlife Humane Society and in service to the Bear Taxon Advisory Group of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA Bear TAG). In addition he was an ex officio member of council of the International Association for Bear Research and Management. Contact Email: jordan@jordanschaul.com http://www.facebook.com/jordan.schaul https://www.linkedin.com/in/jordanschaul/ www.jordanschaul.com www.bicoastalreputationmanagement.com