Friday, January 14, 2011

Management Techniques: Processing a Red Wolf

Once a red wolf has been captured, it is placed in a kennel and transported to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's Red Wolf Education and Health Care Facility, where it is “processed” before being released.

Wild red wolves are instinctively fearful of humans and are generally docile when handled. A wolf is typically restrained by placing a muzzle over its mouth, tying its hind legs together, and keeping a hand on its shoulder to hold it down. Occasionally a wolf may resist being muzzled to the extent that it must be sedated for the processing. Either way, all precautions are taken to maximize the safety of the wolf as well as the biologists handling the wolf.

Processing involves recording the wolf’s weight and body measurements, drawing a blood sample for future research, administering vaccines to prevent rabies and other common canid diseases, assessing the overall health of the wolf, and finally, fitting it with either a GPS or VHF radio telemetry collar so that it can be monitored upon release. After the processing is complete, the wolf is transported back to its home range and released.