Wildlife field technician: Montana

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
UL Bend National Wildlife Refuge, Phillips County, Montana
Job Category
Volunteer Openings
$25/day per diem, lodging provided
Start Date
Last Date to Apply
In the past 100 years, North American prairie dogs (Cynomys spp.) and black-footed ferrets (Mustela nigripes) have been severely affected by plague, an exotic zoonotic disease caused by the bacterium Yersinia pestis. Plague has contributed to population declines of prairie dogs, near extinction of black-footed ferrets, and has caused human illness and fatalities in regions where prairie dogs reside. An oral sylvatic plague vaccine (SPV), developed and tested jointly by the USGS, National Wildlife Health Center and University of Wisconsin (Madison, WI), shows great promise as an effective pre-emptive method for controlling plague in prairie dogs. The use of SPV to prevent plague outbreaks in targeted prairie dog complexes, particularly where black-footed ferrets have been released or where prairie dog species conservation is a goal, could have both economic and environmental benefits. The incumbent for this position will perform a variety of duties associated with field trials designed to determine the efficacy of this vaccine.

Incumbents will conduct all activities in a safe and responsible manner so as not to endanger self, co-workers, equipment or other resources. Major duties will include, but are not limited to, using GPS equipment and appropriate computers and software to map prairie dog colonies and prairie dog burrows, measure burrow density. Prairie dog trapping will include setting and baiting traps, collecting prairie dogs and returning them for release at their trapping location. Prairie dog handling may include anesthesia, flea, hair, whisker and blood collection, body measurements and permanent marking with ear and PIT tags. Of utmost importance will be accurate recording of data, labeling and storage of specimens and error-free data entry and maintenance on computers.

Both office and strenuous, high risk field work is required. Much of the field work requires camping in remote areas (RV campers provided) with temperature extremes ranging over 100 degrees. Weather extremes, biting insects, rattlesnakes, exposure to plague, rabies and Lyme's disease while handling a variety of animals are encountered. Office setting work requires sitting for long periods of time and extensive computer work.
Enthusiasm for wildlife conservation. Desire to gain practical and valuable wildlife research experience. GPS operations, mapping and small mammal trapping experience desired, but not essential.
Contact Person
Randy Matchett
Contact Phone
(406) 535-2800 x-17
Contact eMail
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