2016 Internship on Elk in Ya Ha Tinda

Elk Mel Mountains

HIRING IMMEDIATELY:  We seek an intern to participate in the CICan Clean Tech Internship Program (http://cleantech.collegesinstitutes.ca/). The successful intern will assist in investigating the decline of the partially-migratory Ya Ha Tinda elk herd in and adjacent to Banff National Park (see http://yahatinda.biology.ualberta.ca/ for more information).


This phase of our long-term research is to understand cause-specific mortality for elk calves as a result of maternal behavioural trade-offs made in terms of foraging and predation risk (wolves, bears, mountain lions and coyotes). The intern will use radio telemetry to monitor adult females for parturition behavior, assist in capture and tagging of elk calves, subsequently monitor both calves and adults, and complete a final report.  The position will also include, but is not limited to, investigating elk calf mortality sites, behavioural observations, vegetation sampling, pellet plot surveys, remote camera surveys, and predator scat surveys using scat detection dogs.


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, west of Sundre, AB.  AT THE RANCH, THERE IS NO CELL PHONE SERVICE AND ONLY LIMITED INTERNET. THE CLOSEST TOWN (Sundre) IS 1.5 HOURS AWAY. The position available is a 6-month CICan Clean Tech Internship (http://cleantech.collegesinstitutes.ca/) that will pay ~$2800/mo. including benefits.


CALVING PERIOD (mid-May to mid-June): Shared housing is provided for project staff in the form of tent camping with a cabin/wall tent for cooking/eating or shared rooms in the research house.  Trips to town, hot showers, and laundry are FEW and FAR BETWEEN.  Weather during calving can be anywhere from COLD, wet, rainy, and SNOWY to hot and sunny.  Because we are essentially “on-call” to catch calves as quickly as possible when born, days are LONG with VERY LITTLE TO NO TIME OFF.  I do TRY to make up for this before/after the peak of calving, but no guarantees.  Because we are working long days, we eat group meals and have a camp cook who takes care of all shopping and cooking, so I typically ask that paid technicians contribute $50/week for food during those weeks.

POST-CALVING: Shared rooms in the research house provided; the house is also used by Parks Canada wardens and others unrelated to the project, so we have to be very considerate and mindful of our presence.  Work schedules are somewhat flexible, usually either 10/4 or 5/2.  Summers can be hot, WINDY, and full of FLIES.  Primary duties include monitoring the calves each day, herd classifications, and habitat measurements.


Applicants MUST meet the following qualifications:

  • The intern cannot be over 30 years old.
  • The intern must be a graduate of a post-secondary institution.
  • The intern must be a Canadian Citizen, have permanent Canadian residency status, or have been granted refugee status in Canada and legally entitled to work in Canada.
  • The intern must possess a valid, non-graduated Class 5 Canadian driver’s license.
  • Physically able to carry a heavy daypack while hiking 8-10 hrs. in mountainous terrain and grizzly bear country, even in inclement weather and colder temperatures.
  • 2)  Ability to navigate and work independently in remote/rural areas using a GPS, map, and compass
  • FLEXIBILITY; ability to maintain a POSITIVE attitude while working and living closely with co-workers; ability to work long hours and odd schedules.


Hiring decisions will be made immediately. Please email Jodi Berg at jberg@ualberta.ca:

1)   A cover letter that explicitly addresses EACH of the following:

  • why you are interested in working on the YHT Elk Project
  • how you meet EACH of the qualifications listed above

2)   Your resume/CV

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