Field Technician
University of Alberta - Edmonton, AB

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The Ya Ha Tinda elk herd has declined over the past decade, with a reduction in elk migration westward to Banff National Park and an increase in elk remaining on YHT winter range year-round. Our long-term research has documented foraging and predation risk trade-offs made by migrants and residents on summer and winter ranges and the associated population consequences. Population modeling predicted the herd would stabilize due to density-dependent predation, but the herd has continued to decline.

The next phase of this long-term research is to understand cause-specific mortality and predation risk by wolves, grizzly bears, and mountain lions for elk calves. We are seeking a Field Technician (Casual/Hourly) to primarily assist in capturing and monitoring adult female elk, to assist in capturing and tagging elk calves, and to conduct subsequent monitoring of calves. The position will also include investigation of elk mortality sites, behavioral observations, and other duties as required.

The study area straddles the boundary between Banff National Park and provincial land, in and around the beautiful Ya Ha Tinda ranch, Parks Canada’s working horse ranch.

The position is paid $15.00-30.00/hr. depending on experience, with vacation pay being 4% of base pay, and statutory holiday pay 3.46% of base pay. Tent camping with a cabin for cooking/eating and/or shared housing will be provided. The cabin/house and job duties are located at the Ya Ha Tinda ranch, west of Sundre, AB.

Applicant MUST possess:

  • A valid Canadian driver’s license with no record of DUIs
  • A valid passport
  • BSc degree (or equivalent) in Ecology or Wildlife Management or similar field; applicants with MSc degree or higher will be preferred
  • Experience in free-range darting and corral-trapping adult female elk; capturing and tagging elk calves
  • Certificate in Chemical Immobilization of Wildlife (or be willing to obtain one)
  • Experience in using radio telemetry from the ground, plane, and horseback
  • Experience investigating elk mortality sites for cause of death
  • Experience conducting detailed behavioural observations on elk cow-calf pairs
  • Experience identifying predator scat and conducting scat surveys with highly-specialized, trained detection dogs
  • Knowledge of vegetation sampling and pellet group count protocols
  • Ability to completing research activities on foot, using horses, and/or ATVs, and with technical equipment including ArcGIS and handheld computers
  • Ability to enter, maintain, and analyze data in Microsoft Access databases using Program R and other statistical software programs
  • Ability to develop and maintain project website
  • Physical ability to carry a daypack ( > 12 kg) while hiking in mountainous terrain and grizzly bear country, in inclement weather and cold temperatures
  • Ability to navigate in remote/rural areas using a GPS, map, and compass
  • Flexibility and a positive attitude while working and living closely with co-workers, long hours, and odd schedules
  • Willingness to live in a remote area without immediate access to towns/cities, amenities, and internet/cell service
  • Strong attention to detail and the ability to follow protocols
  • A strong interest in wildlife ecology
  • Experience operating ATVs and 4WD vehicles (both manual and automatic) on mountainous roads (prefer applicants who can demonstrate Defensive Driving and ATV Safety course certificates)
  • Knowledge and experience in natural horsemanship and horse packing for multi-day trips

To apply please send the following as ONE, SINGLE e-mail attachment:

1) A cover letter that explicitly states ALL of the following:

  • why you are interested in this position
  • how you meet EACH of the qualifications listed above
  • your dates of availability

2) Your resume/CV

3) Phone numbers AND email addresses for three references that can speak to your ability to conduct yourself in the field and work as part of a team

Ya Ha Tinda Elk Project
University of Alberta
116 St. and 85 Ave.
Edmonton, AB, Canada T6G 2R3