Wolf rescued from coyote trap at Fort McCoy, then fitted with collar for satellite tracking | Local News


Scott Sturkol Fort McCoy Public Affairs Office

Fort McCoy Natural Resources Division (NRB) Public Works Branch personnel were alerted Feb. 10 by Mike Borchers, a registered trapper, that a wolf had been caught in a coyote trap at Fort McCoy. Immediately the staff responded to where the wolf was.

NRB staff who responded included NRB chief Tim Wilder, natural resources specialist Kevin Luepke and endangered species biologist Jessup Weichelt. DeWayne Snobl, an employee of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Eau Claire Wildlife Services, which supports the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (WDNR), also responded.

“Having spent the past 16 years here at Fort McCoy, primarily as a cooperating partner employed by Colorado State University and now recently as an Army civilian, I was quite familiar with the process that needed to take place. “, said Luepke. “The trapper called the NRB to report that he had accidentally caught a wolf in one of his foothold sets that was targeting coyotes.”

Once coordination was established and people reacted, Wilder, who is also a wildlife biologist, said the decision was made to put a tracking collar on the wolf. Snobl “came down, tranquilized the wolf and placed a satellite collar on her,” he said.

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“We first verified that the captured animal was indeed a wolf when we arrived, Luepke said. “After the positive identification, we moved away from the animal more than 200 meters to give him space so that he remained calm and did not injure himself. When the USDA Wildlife Services biologist arrived, he gave everyone an outline of what they would like to see happen and who would perform certain tasks.

Those tasks included having someone be a decoy to keep the wolf focused on him while Snoble administered the tranquilizer, Luepke said. This also involved assisting with removing the foot trap, laying out blankets, checking for a clear airway, weighing the animal, monitoring respiration and temperature, taking notes and recording information , and to hand over the tools and equipment to the USDA biologist. necklace.

“After the collar was fitted and all biological data collected, the animal was given reversal medication to wake the wolf up,” Luepke said. “The 3-year-old, 73-pound wolf was then monitored remotely to ensure she was able to get back to her feet. Once the wolf was able to get up on its own and moved away a bit, all staff left the area to give the wolf a chance to lie down and fully recover. The collar that was used will provide valuable and interesting data to WDNR, USDA Wildlife Services, our staff at Fort McCoy and other agencies for approximately three years. This data will be used to identify the boundaries of her territory and the location of a future den site if/when additional wolves join her in that territory.

Like Luepke, Weichelt said he was proud to be part of the rescue effort.

“It was ironic that the very day it happened, wolves were put back on the endangered species list,” Weichelt said. “We would have had her tied up anyway, but now she will more than likely survive as there will be no hunting or trapping season in the near future. Also, when a wolf is trapped like this, I contact WDNR who then contacts USDA Wildlife Services. They complement all wolf collars for the WDNR. We then receive updates from WDNR on the location of the Collared Wolf.”

Although wolves being inadvertently captured in coyote traps is a fairly rare occurrence, it has happened at Fort McCoy for the past 20 years, Wilder said. In December 2011, a wolf captured in a coyote trap on South Post also had a telemetry collar fitted. This wolf eventually left Fort McCoy and headed south.

By December 2012, she had crossed the border from Wisconsin and was in northern Illinois. Unfortunately, in March 2013, she was hit by a vehicle and killed. At the time of her death, she was 108.5 miles south of where she was captured and stuck at Fort McCoy.

Fort McCoy NRB staff members are responsible for all wildlife management support and programs at the installation. The NRB team regularly works with numerous federal, state and civilian organizations and agencies to carry out this mission.

To learn more about the wildlife mission at Fort McCoy, visit the iSportsman post page at https://ftmccoy.isportsman.net.

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