Half a year in the blink of an eye!

I find it difficult to believe that I joined the Yukon Wildlife Preserve (YWP) almost exactly six months ago.

While I have been very fortunate in my career to have experienced a wide range of responsibilities, in a number of different countries and with some wonderful work teams – my tenure with the preserve has flown by in a blur of positive excitement, management changes and new challenges.

When I started in mid-December I was amazed at how well all the wildlife (or as I call them, critters) did at minus-35 degrees and with a 3-foot snow pack. Obviously it is no big deal when you are a dedicated northern species.

That also goes for our valued preserve members, whom I have witnessed skiing past our offices on a beautiful, sunny, minus-45 day. Obviously, we are all a very hearty bunch.

Early on in my tenure, I looked out my office window to see Maria Hallock, our resident veterinarian, feeding a bottle to Jessie the muskox.

You may remember Jessie as the little fellow born a couple of years ago who bonded with a mountain goat kid. Anyway, Jessie was not feeling well and Maria was providing him some electrolytes to help him along.

I thought this was very cool to watch, as Jessie is no longer a cute little calf; he is a pretty cute 300 lb youngster.

Maria asked if I would like to give him a bottle. How could I refuse? As a result of this, Randy Hallock took a great picture of me feeding Jessie a bottle.

I immediately emailed this photo to everyone I know working in Toronto, Vancouver and Los Angeles, or trapped in an office cubicle somewhere, asking them, “How is Friday afternoon at your office going?”

Needless to say, I received a plethora of very jealous responses.

Now, all of a sudden, it is springtime at the preserve. The roads and trails have dried out, the leaves are in full bloom, the critters love the new spring grass for grazing, school groups abound and the Holland America coaches are arriving five days a week for their 7:30 am guided tour.

Now, those are committed visitors.

Oh yeah, it is also baby season!

So far this spring we are very pleased to announce the arrival of two stone sheep lambs, one dall lamb and one wood bison calf. While not positive, we may also soon enjoy the arrival of one or more mountain goat kids.

To say that all of our new arrivals are cute as buttons would be a major understatement! Everyone is doing very well and, in an effort to be extremely cautious about health concerns, we are bottle-feeding one stone lamb and the dall lamb. Keep a look out for these two little ones at the viewing enclosure near the main office.

One of our bull moose decided to return to the front pasture from our 250-acre northern (out of sight) wild area. It was a family reunion and he is now keeping his maternal grandmother, Millie, company.

I encourage everyone to head out to the preserve for a walk, bike or guided tour so that you can experience spring at the preserve and our new baby animals.

If you aren’t already a softie, you will be after witnessing the little lambs literally bouncing up, down and over rock outcroppings. They are obviously born to rock!

In a future article I will be introducing our brand new Wildlife Research and Rehabilitation Centre.

This is a state-of-the-art wildlife care facility designed to provide the Yukon Wildlife Preserve Operating Society the infrastructure required to offer the best possible health care for injured or orphaned animals – always with the goal to reintroduce every patient to its natural and wild habitat.

Someone once asked me why I would leave a more lucrative career as a private management consultant for the Wildlife Preserve?

My answer was simple – I genuinely wanted to get back working with a team of committed professionals (board members, management team and seasonal staff) who are focused, extremely passionate about what they do and committed to undertaking their tasks to the absolute best of their ability.

What can beat that?