Wolves Home / Rescuing the Red Wolf
 
Meet the Red Wolf Team

* Barron Crawford, Wildlife Biologist
* Jonathan Weller, Biological Technician
* William Waddell, Red Wolf Species Coordinator
* V. Gary Henry, Red Wolf Species Coordinator
* Christopher Lucash, Radio-Tracking Specialist
Meet the Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge Team
* Michael L. Morse, Wildlife Biologist
* Art Beyer, Biologist
* Jennifer Gilbreath, Field Biologist
* Jonathan Windley, Refuge Technician

William Waddell Picture William Waddell
Red Wolf Species Coordinator
American Zoo Association

Will Waddell has a Bachelor of Science degree from Southwest Missouri University in Springfield. As the American Zoo Association's Red Wolf Species coordinator he is responsible for all the activities related to the red wolf captive breeding program throughout the United States. This includes deciding which wolves to put together at the 36 captive breeding facilities and helping the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service release wolves back into the wild. He is based at the Point Defiance Zoo in Tacoma, Washington.

When Will isn't taking care of red wolves, he's at home taking care of his two children with his wife Marla. His daughters' names are Nora (age 9) and Mary (20 months).

Q: Can you give us an idea of what a Species Coordinator does?

We have a large off-site breeding compound near the zoo with 60 red wolves in it. When I'm not at my desk, I'm at the compound working with the wolves, or at one of the red wolf release projects in the southeast U. S. helping with the reintroductions.

Q: What kind of advice would you give to someone who wants to work with wildlife or at a zoo?

You need to get a science degree. It's also important to get as much experience working with animals as possible, even if it means doing volunteer work at a zoo or on a field project.

Q: What's your favorite part of the job?

It's very satisfying to be part of a remarkable species recovery project. I enjoy visiting the zoos that are helping us by holding red wolves and the people that are working so hard to save this wonderful animal.

Q: What's your least favorite part of the job?

Sometimes wolves get injured or sick and there is nothing we can do for them. In these cases we have to put the wolf to sleep. I don't like this part of the job at all.

Q: Why is it important to release wolves back into the wild?

Red wolves fulfill the important role of a top predator. Releasing wolves into their former range helps to complete and balance ecosystems in the southeastern U.S.

Q: Could you tell us what a typical day is like for you working with wolves?

I don't really work with wolves every day, but I do work for the wolves every day. I get to the zoo at about seven in the morning Monday to Friday. I talk to people on the phone about wolf management problems. I write reports and decide which wolves are going to be paired for breeding. On some days I go out to the red wolf compound, which is about 30 miles away from the zoo. At the compound we catch wolves and give them physical examinations to make sure they're healthy and treat them if they're sick. Sometimes we send the wolves to other facilities. To do this, we have to catch the wolf, put it in a crate, and take it to the airport, where it is flown to its new home.

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V. Gary Henry
Red Wolf Species Coordinator
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Gary Henry Picture Gary Henry has a bachelor's degree in forestry from West Virginia University and a master's degree in wildlife management from Pennsylvania State University. As Red Wolf Coordinator he is responsible for all activities related to red wolf recovery and management. This includes supervising all the red wolf reintroduction sites, including the projects at the Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge, the Smoky Mountains National Park, three island propagation programs, and 36 captive breeding facilities.

He has been the coordinator for two other endangered species — the red-cockaded woodpecker and the peregrine falcon. He has also worked for the U.S. Forest Service and a state wildlife agency. He has conducted research on European wild boar, deer, wild turkey, gray squirrels, Canada geese, and doves.

His hobbies are hunting, fishing, archaeology, and softball. He is married and has four children and one grandchild.

Q: What advice would you give to someone who wants to become a field biologist?

You need to do volunteer work in biology at a variety of projects. This will help you discover if biology is what you really want to do. Volunteering will also give you the experience you will need to qualify for a job as a biologist.

Q: What's your favorite part of the job?

I like going into the field to observe wolves in their natural habitat. I also like handling wolves for managing purposes.

Q: What's the least favorite part of the job?

People management. Dealing with the politics and the negative attitudes some people have about wolves, and predators in general. Handling situations like these is like putting out brushfires that had no reason to be started in the first place.

Q: Why is it important to reintroduce wolves back into the wild?

To prevent the extinction of the species and to restore the entire ecosystem so it can function properly. A top predator, like a wolf, is one thing that is missing from much of the eastern United States. This has resulted in the overpopulation of some of the prey species, which has damaged many eastern U.S. ecosystems.

Q: Could you tell us what a typical day is like for you working with wolves?

As coordinator I have to spend a great deal of my time in my office supervising the details of the red wolf reintroduction program. I start my day by going through the e-mail on my computer, reading my regular mail, checking my phone messages, and responding to problems that need attention. I talk to the staff at the various red wolf projects often in order to get up-to-date information about the wolves. I prepare reports, deal with wolf problems, and draft future plans for the Red Wolf Project.

Whenever possible, I visit the different red wolf reintroduction sites.

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Barron A. Crawford
Wildlife Biologist

Barron A. Crawford Barron has a bachelor's and master's degree in wildlife and fisheries science from the University of Tennessee at Knoxville. He is responsible for the daily field duties of the Red Wolf Project in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. He radio-tracks red wolves and coyotes on a daily basis and handles these animals when necessary.

He has done extensive field research on raccoons, coyotes, and black bears.

Barron and his wife Wendy have a golden retriever that they treat as their daughter. His primary hobby is wildlife photography. Photography allows him to be out in the field and learn more about the behavior of the animals he works with during the week. (Several of his beautiful red wolf photographs have been posted on the Scholastic Web site.)

Q: What kind of advice would you give to someone who wants to become a field biologist?

Go to college and get a degree (or two) in wildlife and fisheries science, biology, or zoology. To gain work experience during college, volunteer whenever you can. This will give you the chance to meet wildlife professionals and continue your education in the field instead of in the classroom. During the summer, try to get seasonal jobs with wildlife agencies like the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the National Park Service, or state wildlife agencies.

Q: What's your favorite part of the job?

Working outside in the field with the wolves and educating the public about various wildlife conservation issues, endangered species, and the importance of wolves to the ecosystem.

Q: What's the least favorite part of the job?

The long hours.

Q: Why is it important to reintroduce wolves back into the wild?

Wolves are an endangered species. They must be reestablished to insure that future generations will be able to visit National Park and National Wildlife Refuges and see or hear wolves. Wolves are a vital component of the ecosystem. They prey upon old, sick, and injured animals so the remaining animals can become healthier and stronger.

Q: Could you tell us what a typical day is like for you working with wolves?

Every day is different from the one before. First, I locate all the wolves by using radio telemetry. While tracking wolves I spend a lot of time talking to park visitors about wolves and why it's important to reintroduce them to the wild. After tracking I go back to the office and enter data into the computer.

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John R. Weller
Biological Technician

John R. Weller John has a bachelor's degree in forestry from the University of Southern Illinois and a master's degree in environmental biology from the University of Southern Mississippi. He's responsible for radio-tracking red wolves and studying their interactions with coyotes. He investigates wolf kills and presents programs for the general public. He also takes care of the captive wolves in the park.

Prior to coming to the red wolf program, John worked with bald eagles, sea turtles, and shore birds. He is single and has four sisters.

Q: What kind of advice would you give to someone who wants to become a field biologist?

There's no substitute for "hands-on" experience — the more the better. Volunteer whenever you can. Employers look for dedicated people with a willingness to learn, who are able to adjust to adverse conditions. Don't be discouraged by the competition. You'll be constantly reminded that "there just aren't that many jobs out there." There are jobs, but you'll have to be willing to move to get them.

Q: What's your favorite part of the job?

The field work. It's pretty exciting to find a den site. I also like putting on programs for people who have open minds about wolf reintroduction.

Q: What's the least favorite part of the job?

The slow pace at which the government functions. There is no such thing as a "quick" decision.
The most disheartening part of my job is when I have to capture a wolf and put it back into captivity.

Q: Why is it important to reintroduce wolves back into the wild?

Reintroducing wolves helps to restore the balance of nature.

Q: Could you tell us what a typical day is like for you working with wolves?

The first thing I do every day is to locate the free-ranging wolves. It sometimes takes all day to find a wolf. And if the wolf has traveled into remote backcountry it can take days and days of searching with trucks, on foot, and in airplanes.
After the wolves have been found, I enter their locations into the daily tracking log and computer.
I feed the captive wolves every three days.

There is always some kind of maintenance to do on our trucks, traps, tranquilizing equipment, etc. I also send out information to people who request it and spend many evenings presenting slide programs and developing new presentations for the public.

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Meet the Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge Team

Michael L. Morse
Wildlife Biologist
Journal Writer

Michael Morse Michael Morse has been with the red wolf program for nine years. He has a bachelor's degree in natural resource management from East Carolina University with a minor in biology. His current job is to coordinate all red wolf activities at the Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge.

Red wolves are not the only endangered species Michael has worked with. He's also worked with red-cockaded woodpeckers and loggerhead turtles.

Michael's hobbies are golf, fishing, white-water rafting, backpacking, and sailing. He and his wife Glenda have a son, named Stefan.

Q: What kind of advice would you give to someone who wants to become a field biologist?

First, you have to love the outdoors! To gain experience, you should try to spend your summers working or volunteering in the biology field you are interested in pursuing. Start early, don't wait, and take as many biology and other science courses as you can.

Q: What's your favorite part of the job?

Being able to spend large blocks of time outdoors working on a program I believe in.

Q: What's the least favorite part of the job?

I enjoy all parts of my position, although some days are better than others. None of us likes finding a wolf that has died.

Q: Why is it important to reintroduce wolves back into the wild?

As a top carnivore, a wolf plays an important role in selectively removing animals from the prey population. Removing sick, injured, or inferior animals improves the overall health of the prey population.

Q: Could you tell us what a typical day is like for you working with wolves?

It's hard to describe a "typical" day... We radio-track the wolves 2 to 3 times a week from the air to find out where the wolves are and which wolves are together. In between tracking flights, we radio-track the wolves from the ground.

We have a captive colony of red wolves on the refuge (housed in 15 pens), which we have to care for.

When the wild wolf pups are big enough to wear radio collars we set padded foot traps to capture them. We also capture adult wolves when their radio collars need replacing — every three to five years.

Some of my time is spent in the office working on budgets, reports, and sending information out to people interested in the red wolf program.

We also do public presentations about red wolves and have "howling safaris" out in the refuge to educate people about the work we do.

Mike Morse was the author of the journal from November 15–21, 1996.

Art Beyer
Biologist

Art Beyer Art has been a working with red wolves for many years. He has a Bachelor of Science degree in biology from Illinois State University. At the Alligator River he is primarily responsible for radio-tracking wolves by air and capturing wolves when needed.

Before he came to the red wolf program he worked as an animal keeper at the Brookfield Zoo in Chicago and took care of the Australian mammals. He has also worked with peregrine falcons in West Virginia.

Art's hobbies are personal fitness and snorkeling. He is single.

Q: What kind of advice would you give to someone who wants to become a field biologist?

Aside from a degree in biology, you need to volunteer and accept internship positions whenever you can. Experience in the field will go a long way in helping you get a permanent position as a biologist.

Q: What's your favorite part of the job?

My favorite part of the job is watching a wild wolf run off after we have captured it.

Q: What's the least favorite part of the job?

Dealing with people who are opposed to wolf reintroduction. Having to go out and pick up a wolf that has been killed by someone.

Q: Why is it important to reintroduce wolves back into the wild?

We are introducing wolves to prevent them from going extinct. Wolves play an important role in a healthy ecosystem.

Q: Could you tell us what a typical day is like for you working with wolves?

For me, there really isn't such a thing as a typical day. If I have a trap line out, the majority of the day is spent checking the traps, handling and releasing captured wolves, and resetting the traps. I spend at least an hour a day writing up my field notes.

Two or three days a week my day begins with an aerial tracking flight to find out where the wolves are. These flights last two or three hours and I spend another hour writing down the wolves' locations in our log book.

The rest of the time I do maintenance on our vehicles, give talks to various groups, and do anything else that needs to be done.

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Jennifer Gilbreath
Field Biologist

Jennifer has a bachelor's degree in zoology with a minor in botany. She is responsible for tracking and trapping wolves at the Alligator River. She also works closely with private landowners and conducts outreach and educational programs for the public.

She's married and her hobbies are gardening, hiking, and playing Frisbee.

Q: What kind of advice would you give to someone who wants to become a field biologist?

You need to be willing to relocate. Don't limit yourself to one species or one specialty. Volunteer and use this experience to get your "foot in the door." It's important to work well with the public.

Q: What's your favorite part of the job?

Working outdoors in a worthwhile career. Helping to preserve what is left of the natural world.

Q: What's the least favorite part of the job?

Dealing with people and politicians who oppose wolf reintroduction.

Q: Why is it important to reintroduce wolves back into the wild?

Putting wolves back into the wild represents an attempt to correct the "wrong" of large-scale predator-elimination programs. Large predators such as wolves play a very important role in the ecosystem.

Q: Could you tell us what a typical day is like for you working with wolves?

From early morning until about noon I check the padded leghold traps that we have set for wolves. If any wolves are captured they are radio-collared and released. To catch wolves, trap lines must be well cared for. While I'm out checking the traps I spend time talking with landowners and hunters.

I spend time in the office writing up field notes, preparing for presentations, and mailing out information to people who are interested in the red wolf program.

It's important to spend a certain amount of time every day talking to co-workers and supervisors about what I've observed in the field that day.

Jonathan Windley
Refuge Technician

Jonathan has been with the red wolf program for several years. Prior to working with red wolves he was a federal law enforcement officer and served as Assistant Refuge Manager at both the Alligator River and Pea Island National Wildlife Refuges. He has worked on black bear and waterfowl field projects in addition to red wolves. He has a Bachelor of Science degree in natural resource management.

Jonathan's hobbies are dog training, canoeing, fishing, reading, and spending time with his family.

He and his wife Tracy have a 3-year-old son named Jake.

Q: What kind of advice would you give to someone who wants to become a field biologist?

Be dedicated and willing to move to wherever a field position might be available. Don't be afraid to volunteer.

Q: What's your favorite part of the job?

Spending time outdoors and sharing my wolf knowledge with the general public.

Q: What's the least favorite part of the job?

Confronting people who are against wolf reintroduction.

Q: Why is it important to reintroduce wolves back into the wild?

As a top carnivore, wolves help to balance the ecosystem. By reintroducing them we are helping to save them from extinction.

Q: Could you tell us what a typical day is like for you working with wolves?

During our wolf-trapping season a typical day starts at 6:00 am. I begin by checking a trap line set for young wolves without radio collars, or for wolves that need their collars replaced. If we catch a wolf we put a radio collar on it, then set it free.

After all the traps have been checked, any equipment in need of repair is fixed.

In the afternoon I go back to the office and put all the "capture information" into our computer system, so we have a record of everything we do with the wolves.

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Wild Animal Watch | All About Gray Wolves | All About Red Wolves | Meet the Host | Gray Journal | Red Journal | Teacher's Guide