You Win Some, You Lose Some
by Ryan Nordsven
: Getting Started
It was a Sunday night in early October, 2007, and I was once again on the road and headed for St. Vincent Island National Wildlife Refuge off the Gulf coast of Florida to capture red wolves. St. Vincent Island, as part of the red wolf island propagation program, is home to a single pack of red wolves consisting of an adult breeding pair and their offspring. Each year in late April or early May, the adult pair has a litter of puppies. Those pups are raised by their parents for about 18 months, during which time they learn the skills they will need to survive at their ultimate destination, Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge (ARNWR) in northeastern North Carolina, home of the Red Wolf Recovery Program. My job for the next couple of weeks would be to capture the three yearlings (those pups born in 2006, who were now 18 months old) that roamed the island and to transport them to their new home at ARNWR, where they will be used to fortify the existing wild population of wolves with a greater diversity of genes.
Also inhabiting the island, in addition to the three yearlings, were their parents (the adult breeding pair) and a litter of 6-month old puppies born in 2007. It had not yet been determined exactly how many puppies belonged to this litter, but if I could capture them along with the yearlings during my trapping effort, I could possibly confirm this number as well.
Early Monday morning I met up with Thom Lewis, the biologist at St. Vincent NWR, who transported me from the mainland to the island across the quarter-mile channel at Indian Pass. I brought enough food and supplies with me to last a few days, as I intended to stay at the island bunkhouse, but I didn't really anticipate that this trapping effort would take much longer than a few days. All three of the yearlings had been previously captured and radio collared, meaning I could easily locate them with my telemetry gear, and then place traps around them—I guessed that it wouldn't be long before they stepped in one. I wanted to thoroughly enjoy my time on St. Vincent, but having just returned from a couple of lengthy fire details, I was also ready to wrap up this job as quickly as possible and return home. With this in mind, I began setting traps.
: The Beauty and Value of St. Vincent's
Pages: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6
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