Reiley brings experience as a biologist and technician in several states researching birds, grizzlies and black bears. He recently received his PhD in Wildlife Ecology from the University of Illinois.
Bryan Reiley is Dillingham’s new wildlife biologist at the Alaska Department of Fish and Game. Reiley brings experience as a biologist and technician in several states researching birds, grizzlies and black bears. Arkansas, Arizona, New York and North Carolina. He recently received his PhD in Wildlife Ecology from the University of Illinois.
Reiley has also worked in the Alaska fishing industry.
“First time was in 1996 on a slimeline for a summer, I drove from Maine all the way to Valdez," he said. "After that I worked as a pollock fishing observer off the Aleutians for a winter, taking samples for bycatch so scientists can understand the pollock fishery.”
Not too long ago, Reiley was in Bristol Bay, hunting for moose in Wood Tikchick State Park in 2018. He’s also following the recent decline of the Mulchatna Caribou herd and the development of brucellosis in the herd.
“It’s possible that brucellosis is having some effect on the population," he said. "But the tests we’re conducting show that the animals were exposed to the bacterium. But it doesn’t indicate to us if it’s an active thing, as in, currently infecting other animals or if it’s affecting their ability to have young.”
The state is also testing for brucellosis in wolf and moose to see if there’s evidence of the bacteria in those animals. The Mulchatna herd is well under its minimum target population of 30,000 animals. The state counted around 13,500 caribou in surveys over the last two years and the hunt was closed for the 2020 season.
Unless there is a spike in population, Reiley doesn’t expect the hunt to open anytime soon.
“We’re going to continue monitoring what Fish and Game has been doing for years," he said. "Looking at calf survival, looking at adult survival. Obviously predation control is ongoing. At least trying to reduce predation on the calving grounds.”
Reiley arrives in Dillingham March 1. After his 10-day quarantine, he will head out on his first aerial survey to collar caribou, moose and wolves.
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