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KOYUKUK: Study of swan species overlap has management implications on Koyukuk NWR
Alaska Region, October 21, 2004
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This summer, biologists on Koyukuk Refuge completed an extensive survey to determine composition of the swan population on the refuge. Staff knew both Trumpeter and Tundra swans occurred but little was known of the nesting distribution of the two species which became important when the Service opened a subsistence hunting season for Tundra swans in 2003. A June, 2004 Challenge Grant with Virginia's Swan Research Program and George Mason University, the Huslia Tribal Council, the Jimmy Huntington School (Huslia), Galena City School, and the Washington Game and Fish enabled biologists to survey nesting range overlap of Trumpeter and Tundra Swans within a 3,565 square mile area (the majority of the wetlands) on Koyukuk Refuge. Of 30 nesting pairs observed, half were Tundra Swans and the other half Trumpeters. Feathers and egg shells were collected from nests for DNA analysis to confirm field identifications. The effort will continue in 2005 with a similar survey on the Northern Unit of Innoko NWR, and initiate a collaring program. This project is significant because one species is hunted and the other is not, and the two are difficult to distinguish in the field.

Contact Info: Kristen Gilbert, 907-786-3391, Kristen_Gilbert@fws.gov



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