Sunday, June 28, 2009

Jobs I want: bison tranquilizer-er

Here's another job inspired by television. I'm watching a show on Animal Planet about the bison of Yellowstone National Park. The program follows a crack team of National Park Service biology commandos as they study bison migration in and around the park. I couldn't find a photo of an NPS warrior-biologist in action, so I stole the image at left from Parks Canada1. Part of the study involves attaching tracking collars on the animals. This requires the following five-part plan:
  1. Locate bison.
  2. Shoot bison in ass with tranquilizer dart.
  3. Take blood samples and attach collar, all while watching for curious four-legged passers-by.
  4. Inject bison with wake-up juice.
  5. Run.
I'm pretty sure that the person who pulls the tranquilizer dart gun trigger is called a tranquilizer-er. As best I can tell, the appeal of being a bison tranquilizer-er is fivefold:
  • Self-reliance. Ain't nobody going to help you in the case of mechanical failure or repeated gorings. It's just you and your hand-picked team of stone-cold, hard-core, devil-may-care wildlife biologists against 1500 pounds of groggy bovine.

  • Development of dart gun sniper skills. Now that I think about it, the combination of cross-country skiing and precision shooting might appeal to Lisa's Finnish heritage.
    Note to self: book non-refundable winter travel tickets and investigate dart gun license requirements.

  • Having The Handbook of Wildlife Chemical Immobilization on your bookshelf and not having to explain it. I love obscure how-to literature.

  • SCIENCE! Come on, what is biology if not poking and prodding large wild animals? Put your microscopes away, kids; we're going to learn something even if it kills us by goring and trampling.

  • Clarity of purpose: shoot bison in ass, do science, run away. That's the best reason to get out of bed this side of averting alligator attacks.

1 Stolen from this article on a Parks Canada wildlife veterinarian. Read it in French if you prefer.


Nancy Campbell said...

Love it.

Green said...

At any rate, I liked some of the vadlo science cartoons!