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The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (WDNR) leads a Volunteer Carnivore Tracking program. The program trains volunteers to perform tracking surveys.

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Presentation on theme: "The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (WDNR) leads a Volunteer Carnivore Tracking program. The program trains volunteers to perform tracking surveys."— Presentation transcript:

1 The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (WDNR) leads a Volunteer Carnivore Tracking program. The program trains volunteers to perform tracking surveys in WDNR-established blocks. The goals are multifaceted: to determine the number, distribution, breeding status, and territories of wolves in Wisconsin, to develop a sense of the abundance and distribution of other medium-sized and large carnivores in the state, and to determine the existence of rare carnivores such as Canada lynx, cougar, and possibly wolverine. Project Coordinated By: North Lakeland Discovery Center | Participants: Volunteer Trackers Support: Timber Wolf Alliance Council; Anna Cellar, Timber Wolf Alliance Coordinator; and Adrian Wydeven and Jane Wiedenhoeft, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. To provide one additional volunteer tracker training session, to support current WDNR training and tracking efforts, and to implement a mileage reimbursement program for volunteer Master Trackers aimed at building a strong and sustaining volunteer base. “With the continued spread of the state wolf population and reduced funding for surveys, the volunteer carnivore tracking program is critical for us to obtain accurate counts of the state wolf population.” ~ Adrian Wydeven, WDNR mammalian ecologist. 1. Timber Wolf Alliance (TWA) coordinated a weekend Wolf and Carnivore Tracker Training session in December of 2009, at Crex Meadows Visitor Center in Grantsburg, Wisconsin. The workshop was led by world renowned tracker, Dr. James Halfpenny. 26 Volunteer Carnivore Trackers attended, fulfilling one of the primary requirements for Master Tracker status. 2. TWA hosted a Wolf Tracking excursion in January 2010, designed to introduce participants and potential volunteers to basic wolf ecology, and to provide an introductory “how to” track for wolves. 12 potential Volunteer Carnivore Trackers participated. 3.TWA assisted WDNR with volunteer carnivore tracker recruitment, and assisted in the gathering and summary of data. 75 new or inactive volunteers were recruited and/or re- engaged in volunteer carnivore tracking efforts. 4. TWA developed a mileage reimbursement program to compensate dedicated volunteer trackers, and to encourage continued involvement and commitment to the program. 13 Volunteer Carnivore Master Trackers applied for mileage reimbursement, totaling 6067 miles, in coverage of 3151 block miles and 2841 miles to and from survey sites Volunteer Carnivore Trackers Volunteer Survey Blocks8878* Total Volunteer Miles Wolves Detected via Volunteer Carnivore Tracking Program Wisconsin Wolf Population** Gray Wolf Track Coyote Track Of the 78 survey blocks monitored by volunteers, 44 were combination efforts between WDNR and volunteers; 34 were solely monitored by volunteers. ** Wolf population counts are derived from radio-collared wolves, and from WDNR staff and volunteer trackers. Data from volunteer carnivore trackers is a vital part of the integrated approach to monitoring Wisconsin’s wolf population. Volunteers continue to be an important part of establishing statewide wolf population counts in Wisconsin. In most years, volunteers enable the WDNR to nearly double the amount of miles covered in snow track surveys. According to the WDNR’s website, “statistical analyses have shown… training and experience are important aspects in considering the usability of the volunteer data.” This project focused on introducing new volunteers to tracking, on training of active volunteers, and on keeping experienced volunteers (aka Master Trackers) motivated and engaged. The project was successful in introducing potential volunteers to the program, and in building Master Trackers likely to remain committed to continued involvement and most likely to produce useable, accurate data for the WDNR statewide wolf population count. Furthermore, those now identified as Master Trackers are now able to effectively and confidently mentor future and potential volunteer carnivore trackers. The North Lakeland Discovery Center Manitowish Waters, WI


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