Wildlife Biologist – California
In Memory of Eric York: May 2, 1970 – November 2, 2007
Wildlife biologist Eric York died on Friday November 2nd, 2007 at his residence in the Grand Canyon.
From Eric York – I started hunting and trapping while growing up on a small farm in western Massachusetts. I received a B.S. in Wildlife Management from the University of Maine and a M.S. in Wildlife Conservation from the University of Massachusetts. While at college I began trapping for research studies and since then I have captured and studied a wide variety of species from around the world. Most of my work involves capture of small carnivores for radio-telemetry studies. Here in the States I have studied fishers, martens, coyotes, and lynx in the Northeast and coyotes, bobcats, gray foxes and badgers in the Southwest, where I am currently working. Recently I have been fortunate enough to travel to different countries to capture different carnivores for biological studies. I have been to Nepal to catch fishing cats and civets and to 3 regions of Chile to catch South American foxes and small wildcats. Overall my work has allowed me to capture 20 species of carnivores on 3 continents. Though I do not get a chance to trap recreationally much, I still enjoy trapping to harvest fur when I can. When I’m not working and traveling I enjoy hunting in whatever areas I’m working in or back on the farm in Massachusetts.
This message was received from Eric York on 6/15/03:
Hi Kevin ….. Just thought I would drop you a line to say hi and give you an update. I’m still in southern California looking for mountain lions. Unfortunately, I spend a lot more time looking than catching. We still have only two lions collared in the Santa Monica Mountains, and after covering the area pretty well over the last year, I think these may be the only 2 left in the mountains. I have just moved my trap line north of the 101 freeway for the first time and have found sign of a female lion there. I’m putting all my effort into catching her now. But with the large area she covers it may be a while before she gets back to my traps. This July / August I will be heading to the Grand Canyon to catch mountain lions on the South Rim. Hopefully there will be more cats to be had there than here. After that I will head back to California hopefully find more cats somewhere. Read the article about our project to Link Lands for Cougers in CA.
FYI – Here is a quick list of the species I’ve caught for research: Using Kishel’s Scents & Lures.
USA: coyotes, red fox, gray fox, bobcat, lynx, fisher, marten, badger, striped skunk, spotted skunk, raccoons, deer, blacktail, sheep.
Chile: Culpeo fox, South American gray fox, Darwin’s fox, guigna, hognosed skunk.
Nepal: Fishing cat, small Indian civet, palm civet, Indian mongoose.
Pakistan: Snow Leopards
2002 – I’m still in Southern California. I have started working on catching mountain lions in the Santa Monica Mountains. The big cats are in the same areas as the coyote/bobcat work I have done here. As with the smaller species they are having to adapt to the freeways, houses and people here. It is really interesting seeing where they go. The few we have radio-collared travel in and around the houses and roads without a problem, often hanging around unseen right outside of the estates in Malibu. It exciting to catch a lion, we are using foot snares, its a little trickier drugging a 140 pound (and very angry) cat than it is a 30 pound bobcat or lynx.
2003 – Hi Kevin ….. Just wanted to send a few photos of our latest California lion. Caught him last week just in time to head to the Grand Canyon this week to start work. He’s a small (85 pounds), young male, that already has traveled a long way from where we caught him. It will be interesting to track his movements in and around the urban areas where he lives. Will send more photos from the grand canyon. …
2004 – Kevin .. I’m still busy out west working with mountain lion, both in Arizona and in southern California. I’m slowly getting sample sizes up to where we are finding out some interesting things. In southern California we are learning how the large cats are surviving in and amongst all the people that live and recreate there. All with rarely be seen or detected. They really can be elusive even in a very developed landscape. I’m sure they see and hear people and pets every day and the still just eat deer. The lions in our study don’t bother the people at all, unlike some other cats not to far from our study area.
In Arizona we are learning how they use the rim of the Grand Canyon and surrounding areas. We seeing a lot of movement of young cats (as expected). One younger male traveled about 70 miles south to the Flagstaff area and took up residency there. There are plenty of deer and elk to prey on throughout the area. These two studies keep me pretty busy but I had some time to hunt a bit this year and made it back to Alaska to get a caribou and got some time to shoot a nice 2 x 3 blacktail in southern California. I have attached some photos of them.
Hope you are well, and trapping and hunting seasons
have been good to you. ….. Eric
2005 California Blacktail
Hope your fall is going well also …. Eric
2006 – I did shoot a small fork-horn in California
2006 – Well this has been a busy year. Lots of mountain lion work both in California and in Arizona. I moved to Arizona and now am based at the Grand Canyon to head the mountain lion study there. I’m also involved in a bighorn sheep study along the Colorado River in the Canyon.
This fall I also got to do some coyote trapping for research in southern California. As with some other states footholds have been banned there but I was able to use snares for capture work. I still used my favorite Kishel’s lures to draw the coyotes through fence lines, and down trails where I had snares hung. Coy Dog II and Triple Dig-it were very effective at bring coyotes off of roads and into the snares.
My biggest adventure this year came with a trip to Pakistan to catch and collar snow leopards for the International Snow Leopard Trust. I spent 6 weeks in Northwest Pakistan (Chitral Gol National Park) setting snares to radio-collar snow leopards to learn movements and biology of these big cats. The work was at the western end of the Himalayas, just south of the Hindu Kush Range, we worked at 6500-10,000 feet but the mountains ranged up to 21,000 feet there. Very steep country. Lots of snow this time of year. It was a great place to work.