VOICES Voices Icon Ideas and Insight From Explorers


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)



  1. […] link: Herding and Transport of Captive Wildlife with Snow Machines and … Comments […]