|  December 19, 2014  |  
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Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center Digs Out

Musk ox snowed in at the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center south of Anchorage at Portage.

Musk ox snowed in at the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center south of Anchorage at Portage.

PHOTO: Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center

Huge Storm Creates Challenges for AWCC Staff

While the rest of south central Alaska was being hit with yet another storm, the staff at the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center in Portage were going on with their daily chores as usual, only with the massive amounts of snow in Portage, their usual duties are turned into anything but.

Part of the duties of the AWCC staff is to ensure the safety and health of the animals that call the Center home. This is particularly challenging in winds of 75 mph and blowing snow, but the needs of the animals always exist, no matter the weather. These conditions make feeding the 175 animals at the Portage facility a challenge, but this kind of weather creates other challenges as well.

With snow drifts up to 8 feet high in some places, there is snow piled over the fences that enclose the animals, and the more snow that accumulates in the enclosures, the “shorter” the fences become – something to be monitored over the winter. In the coming weeks, the staff plan to bulldoze the snow along the inside of the fence lines to ensure that the animals are not able to escape their enclosures.

“Snow like this makes the daily chores here at the Center a lot more difficult, and we’re always on high alert to ensure that all of them are kept safe in these extreme conditions”, said Mike Miller, Executive Director of the Center.  “The worse the weather is, the more important it is for us to be out here and be vigilant. It’s tough duty, but we love what we do, and we’re up to the task”, said Miller.

The Center’s staff will continue to clear snow from the facility this week and hopes to open for its regularly scheduled hours this weekend. The staff plans on using the bulldozer to clear the roads that make up the Portage campus, as the 4 wheel drive, chained farm tractors that the facility typically uses are rendered useless with these amounts of snow.

The Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center is a 501(c)3 corporation dedicated to conserving Alaska’s Wildlife through education, and quality animal care. Find them online at www.alaskawildlife.org

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