Friday, January 23, 2015

We’ve been busy...

Thought we would share some of the exciting things that we have been doing as volunteers for Sevilleta National Wildlife Refuge.

In September of 2011, a 570 acre former dairy, located five miles south of downtown Albuquerque, was approved to be established as the Southwest’s first urban wildlife refuge.  Valle de Oro sits along the Rio Grande and there are plans for the land to be returned to its original riparian state.

A part of establishing a new refuge is boundary marking.  It must be fenced and signed.  A while back we headed north to help our sister refuge with this task.

                     Darlene and Nicole took turns driving the truck

                             and unloading and placing fence posts

   while Renee and Rich went about the process of pounding them into place.

Ninetyish boundary posts later the task was done and we were sufficiently pooped, so we left the Sandhill Cranes and the Canadian Geese and were on our way back south.

                        This gate has been an ongoing job for us!

Every week or two something goes awry and we head back up to the entrance to see what we can do about it. 

The brains of the operation!  The original fix was fairly simple.  A packrat had taken up residence in the box and been enjoying the wires as daily snacks.  We ‘freed’ the rat to take up residence somewhere else, repaired the wires, re-set the limiters and have since created a wire barrier to prevent future rodent occupations.  Random electrical surges and other miscellaneous issues however have continued to throw the computer into various phases of shock.  So, for now, when we get the word of doom we run up front and re-set everything to get it back to good.

Remember that Wetlands fence we’ve been slowly updating you on?  Well, we made a bit more progress.



              Now we’ve just got to get out there and get it painted!

                                                        Meet Big Tex!
                 This fella carries some of our heavy equipment and was in need of repair.

    So, we tore off the old boards and added a new deck.

         Then we re-wired it and added new lights and gaskets all around.

When the weather isn’t so great we’ve worked inside the visitor center doing what we can to help out with electrical issues.  So far we’ve replaced switches and ballasts, got their emergency lighting back in order and sorted out the details and goings on of all of the breakers in their three electrical boxes.

After disassembling a huge modular desk that was in this room we got it ready for painting and put on a first coat this week.

And... for the final share of the evening.  A few weeks back we had the most exciting privilege to assist with the capture of two Mexican Gray Wolves at our reintroduction facility.

One of the wolves had just returned from another location and was having blood drawn for tests and being generally checked over to ensure all was well.  The other had just been received from a zoo in Mexico and was to be vaccinated and have blood drawn.  We then moved her to a pen closer to a male whom she will hopefully mate with.

                        It was amazing to be so close to such a wonderful creature.
          The Mexican Gray Wolf is the most endangered subspecies of wolf in the world.

She just ran and ran and ran, all the while keeping a close eye on us.  We were moving in a line, walking slowly forward (holding big objects to imply a larger than life presence) trying to encourage her into her den box.

                        Doing what is needed to keep her safe and healthy and then

                                                 she is free to run again.

                                                      Just Beautiful.