Wildlife conservation is the practice of protecting and managing habitats and populations of wildlife that are rare or imperiled. Many of our clients have a deep interest in conservation and to ensure that rare wildlife are identified and protected on land that they control and have stewardship over.
Ranch Resources is currently working with a client to document the use of his ranch by large and rare carnivores (wolverines, grizzly bears). Having an understanding of how these species use the ranch will help us in making management decisions on the ranch, as well as to contribute to a wider information base to be used by State and Federal Wildlife agencies.
We have established a large bait station in a remote portion of the ranch. A trail camera has been set up to capture photos of any carnivore that would come into the bait. We expect to see black bears and coyotes come into the bait, and perhaps turkey vultures. We are hopeful that if there are wolverines, wolves in grizzly bears in the area that they might come into the camera trap, as well.
In the event we get a rare carnivore come to the bait, we’ve put some barbed wire around the bait. The idea is that as the carnivore passes through the wire to get to the bait, some hair will snag on the barbs. We will collect the hair and have the DNA analyzed. This analysis confirms species but will also tell us which individual it is. Hair snares like this are used routinely by State and Federal agencies to document home ranges of large mammals. So, there is a good chance that if a wolverine comes to the trap and leaves behind a hair sample, we will be able to tie this to a known wolverine and add to the information about this individual.
Conservation of wildlife is not only important at large regional scales dominated by public lands, but also on private ranches. This information goes a long way to fill the gap in information for the management of these species across broad landscapes. No other ranch management company in Montana gives the ranch owner this level of comprehensive management.