Aleutians Wildlife Pioneer

Bob Jones and Quote

Robert “Sea Otter” Jones first came to Alaska’s Aleutian Islands as an officer in the U.S. Army during World War II. He turned his attention to the southern Alaska Peninsula and the Aleutian archipelago again in 1948 when he joined the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service as manager of the Aleutian Islands National Wildlife Refuge based in Cold Bay, Alaska.

A skilled dory operator, Jones visited the remote reaches of the refuge in his care, often landing on dangerous, surf-battered shorelines in sturdy wooden boats. His nickname dates back to the early 1950’s, when Jones was involved in attempts to return northern sea otters to their former range.

In 1962, as the manager of the newly established Izembek National Wildlife Refuge, Jones found a remnant population of 300 Aleutian Canada geese on Buildir Island. In the 1970’s, the Service began moving these birds to other areas, following Jones’ plan to remove introduced foxes. By 2001, the estimated population of Aleutian Canada geese reached 37,000, with birds nesting throughout most of their former range.

Jones’ contributions over three decades to this harsh, remote, human-impacted landscape has contributed to the world renown, phenomenally productive wildlife habitat we know today.