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Wildlife Handling and Chemical Immobilization for Wildlife Professionals

A 3-day Wildlife Handling and Chemical Immobilization for Wildlife Professionals course, taught by Dr. Mark Johnson of Global Wildlife Resources, is held annually at Wolf Haven during the month of October.  This year’s course took place October 24-26, and there was an optional free Monday workshop with guest speakers on October 23. Their topics ranged from the humane handling of bears and cougars to the dynamics of black bear population dynamics in the North Cascades.

Classroom lecture and hands-on labs focus on the needs of researchers and managers to understand the skills and equipment associated with wildlife capture, physical restraint, and chemical immobilization. The course also covers each aspect of animal handling such a radio-collaring, weighing, sample collection and patient monitoring.

It is intended for wildlife agency personnel and other wildlife professionals, federal, state and tribal wildlife personnel; zoo and sanctuary employees and volunteers; animal control officers; and university students. Course includes course notebook and labs each day. Participants  receive a Certificate of Training upon course completion.

Register / More Information:
For information about the 2018 Wildlife Handling course, contact Linda Saunders, Director of Conservation, 360.264.4695 x216.

Course content includes:

  • Five-step preparation for field operations
  • Legal responsibilities
  • Professionalism
  • Drug delivery systems
  • Immobilizing drugs
  • Patient monitoring
  • Marking sampling
  • Veterinary emergencies
  • Euthanasia
  • Human safety
  • Ethical issues
  • Honoring each animal through equipment and techniques

About Global Wildlife Resources, Inc.
Global Wildlife Resources, Inc. (GWR) is a progressive organization dedicated to supporting wildlife professionals and bringing honor, care, and respect to those animals affected by research and management by:

  1. Promoting and improving animal welfare (in a non-prescriptive manner) in programs and activities relating to wildlife research and management.
  2. Teaching the highest quality courses in wildlife capture, chemical immobilization and handling.
  3. Providing professional preparation and field assistance with wildlife captures, transport, and disease investigations.

 

Thurston Talks – Wolf Haven Volunteer Traci Main Shares her Passion for Conservation

“I do have a favorite. His name is London, and he is considered a victim of the film industry. People tried training him to be vicious, but he wasn’t a very good actor.”

Saving the red wolf

One of the critically endangered red wolves housed at the Endangered Wolf Center

One of the critically endangered red wolves housed at Endangered Wolf Center.                              Photo c/o Endangered Wolf Center.

 

Unique species nearly exterminated

What makes the red wolf so special? For one thing, the red wolf is one of only two wolf species indigenous to North America. Second, the red wolf can be found ONLY in the U.S. – no other country in the world has a native population of red wolves. Third, at its lowest point in the 1970s, the wild red wolf population had dwindled to a mere 14 wolves in the world.

This beautiful representative of our country is smaller than his gray wolf cousin, and typically weigh between 50-80 pounds. Wolf Haven International participates in a special program that is contributing to the recovery of the red wolf. The Red Wolf Species Survival Plan (SSP) program is headquartered at Point Defiance Zoo in Washington State.

What happened to the red wolf?

Red wolves were victims of predator extermination programs and habitat loss. The original red wolf range extended throughout the southeast portion of the United States. As gray wolves were eradicated, coyotes experienced a population explosion and radically expanded their range east. Simultaneously, as the red wolf population fell, coyotes and red wolves began to interbreed.

Red wolf SSP Coordinator and studbook keeper, Will Waddell, opens the meeting by welcoming the institutional representatives who traveled to MO. for the meeting.

Red wolf SSP Coordinator and studbook keeper, Will Waddell, opens the meeting by welcoming the institutional representatives who traveled to MO. for the meeting. Photo c/o Endangered Wolf Center.

How do you save a red wolf?

A red wolf Species Survival Plan (SSP) was developed to manage and oversee the captive population of this endangered species, in consort with the United States Fish and Wildlife Service.  Although the Service is currently not releasing captive red wolves into the wild, the SSP maintains a genetically diverse captive population as a safety net, should something happen to the wolves in the wild. Today there are approximately 75 free ranging (wild) red wolves  roaming their native habitat in northeastern North Carolina in the Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge, and a captive population of just under 200 red wolves among 45 facilities in the U.S. As is the case with the Mexican wolf SSP program, annual conferences are held during which representatives of participating facilities meet to discuss the status of the red wolf, and make critical transfer and breeding recommendations for the coming year. The 2015 red wolf SSP conference was held July 22-24 at Endangered Wolf Center in Eureka, MO, outside of St. Louis.

Becky Harrison, assistant recovery coordinator for the red wolf, provides an update on the status of the wild population.

Becky Harrison, assistant recovery coordinator for the red wolf, provides an update on the status of the wild population. Photo c/o Endangered Wolf Center.

Wolf Haven’s role in red wolf recovery efforts

In 2003, Wolf Haven was approved to participate in the Red Wolf SSP program as a captive breeding facility. The red wolves living here are essentially on loan to us from the US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), and we follow very strict rules and guidelines for the care and maintenance of these animals. Interaction with humans is kept to a minimum and most observations are done by remote camera. Specialized enclosures have been built that meet the size, space and privacy requirements of the Red wolf SSP program.

Our red wolf residents – meet Jacob, Tamaska, Tala & Nash

There are currently four red wolves in residence in the sanctuary, though they are not on the visitor route. Jacob, Tamaska and Tala are all available for symbolic adoption, and Nash will be in the near future, once she has settled in at her new home.

by Wendy Spencer, Director of Animal Care and Kim Young, Director of Communications/ Wolf Haven International