Deia Schlosberg and Gregg Treinish Announce Expedition to Explore Critical Wildlife Linkage Zone
Connecting the Gems, an ecological expedition by explorer/filmmakers Deia Schlosberg and Gregg Treinish was announced recently. This expedition will collect data and document the ecological connectivity between two largely intact wildlife regions in North America: the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem in Montana and Wyoming, and the Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness in Idaho.
Schlosberg and Treinish ultimately hope this expedition will be instrumental in maintaining the ability of wildlife to move throughout the region.
“This is the last region in the lower 48 where long-range dispersal and migration routes for animals is possible,” said Treinish. “Their ability to move is key to a stronger, healthier genetic pool. So here, if we can connect the gems, we can give grizzlies, wolves, wolverines, and other carnivores the best chance for long term survival.”
Deia,30, and Treinish,28, are uniquely qualified to mount the Connecting the Gems expedition. Treinish is a wildlife biologist who recently completed his Bachelor of Science degree in Ecology and Evolution from Montana State University in Bozeman, Montana. Schlosberg is mid-way through earning a master’s degree in Science and Natural History Filmmaking. The Bozeman residents are experienced adventurers and explorers, as their endeavors in the Andes showed.
“The scientific community believes that if populations can dependably migrate between and throughout these vast areas, they will thrive.” Treinish says. “We need to find out what the specific barriers are that prevent movement, and which existing migratory routes are at risk of becoming cut off, causing isolation. Walking the route, which is really rugged, lets us view it through the eyes of wildlife and observe and document what they face.”
Treinish’s and Schlosberg’s journey has already begun, in a sense. The first phase—to research the microcosms of the area—has been underway for several months. Relying on existing information from land managers, ranchers, scientists and government agencies they have compiled a picture of their likely route across Yellowstone National Park, through Wyoming, Montana, and into Idaho. Their research—which pinpoints barriers to wildlife movement such as bottlenecks, detours, conflict zones, development, and roads, as well as known migration corridors—will continue until their departure.
Once underway, Treinish and Schlosberg will gather demographic data about the animals inhabiting and migrating along the route of travel. Fur and scat samples will be collected for DNA analysis that can link existing and future data about individual animals and groups of animals. Observations of footprints, claw marks, and scat will confirm the presence of animals. Remote-triggered camera traps may be used to catch imagery and identify individual animals. All data gathered will be tied to GPS locations.
Note: Both Schlosberg and Treinish—named 2008 National Geographic Adventurers of the Year for their film “Across the Andes.” That was the first recorded trek of the 7800-mile spine of the Andes.