From Europe to Mid-America

Jon Alan Almack

Jon Alan Almack

Male 1951 -

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  • Name Jon Alan Almack  [1
    Born 29 Nov 1951  Crane Cnty, TX Find all individuals with events at this location  [1
    Gender Male 
    Military Service U.S. Navy - SEAL, Vietnam 
    Occupation Government - Wildlife biologist 
    Person ID I6612  SnoufferCampbell
    Last Modified 16 Aug 2011 

    Father Jack Jess Blackwell / Almack,   b. 2 Jan 1922, Blackwell, Kay Cnty, OK Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 12 Mar 2004, Abilene, TX Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 82 years) 
    Mother Marjorie Ruth Marquardt,   b. Oct 1924, North Dakota Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. Yes, date unknown 
    Married 14 Jan 1945  [1
    Divorced 12 Jul 1978 
    Family ID F2262  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

    Family Sylvia Yubeta,   b. California Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Married Y  [2
    Last Modified 27 Aug 2011 
    Family ID F3382  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

  • Notes 
    • According to the U.S. Dep't of Agriculture Employee Roster and Salary List 2008,
      "Almack, Jon A" is a wildlife biologist. See:

      He has been a senior wildlife biologist with the Washington State Dep't of Fish & Wildlife.


      Jon Almack (with others), "Cougar Population Dynamics and Viability in the Pacific Northwest," Wildlife Management, vol. 70, no. 1, pp 246-265 (2006).

      Jon Almack, W. Wakkinen, & R.B. Wielgus, "Population Growth and Persistence of Endangered Mountain Caribou in the Selkirk Mountains," Washington State Univ., Dep't of Natural Resource Sciences, Large Carnivore Conservation Lab (2011)(summary):
      "This project is on-going as part of a collaborative effort by WSU, WDFW, IDFG, USFS, and USFW.We determined rates and causes of mortality, reproduction, and population growth for the last remaining mountain caribou population in the lower US. Results indicated that this population was decreasing because of high predation by cougars due to expanding white-tailed deer. First year survival of transplant caribou was much lower than in subsequent years. This appears to be due to capture and handling stress, not naive prey hypothesis. Demographic analysis suggests the population is currently stable after cougar reductions and Population Viability Analyses (PVA) suggests the population can recover with additional transplants." See:

      Jon Almack (with others), "Use of Landsat Multispectral Scanner Imagery ... to Map Vegetation in the North Cascades Grizzly Bear Ecosystem,"

      John Almack, "Ghosts of the Selkirks," Diggings, Issue 9 (Apr 2004); see:

      Almack, Jon. 1986. Grizzly bear habitat use, food habits, and movements in the Selkirk Mountains, northern Idaho. In: Contreras, Glen P.; Evans, Keith E., compilers. Proceedings -- grizzly bear habitat symposium; 1985 April 30 - May 2; Missoula, MT. Gen. Tech. Rep. INT-207. Ogden, UT: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Intermountain Research Station: 150-157. [10815]

      Jon was featured by Defenders of Wildlife, in Defenders Magazine (Fall 2004):
      "Caribou on the Cliff"
      By Bill Updike
      " 'Music to my ears,' Jon Almack announces with excitement from the backseat of a Cessna 336 circling over the northern Rocky Mountains. It's far from Beethoven's Fifth, though. The "music," which comes from his radio telemetry receiver, is a faint "ping" that echoes through the airplane's headphones and marks the presence below of a radio-collared mountain caribou—one of the rarest mammals in North America, and perhaps the most endangered in the lower-48 United States. ***
      "Today's ping comes from the collar of caribou number 600, an animal that has been a "good momma" because she has calved every year according to Almack, a biologist with the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife. And, indeed, on this flight we see eight legs where there should be only four (sometimes calves hide under their mothers when planes approach). It's a bittersweet sight for Almack because this may be the last time he flies to track caribou. Funding given to the states by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for the recovery of caribou has dried up and Almack will shortly be unemployed. And, when he is gone, no one will be doing on-the-ground work with caribou in Washington.
      "A former Navy SEAL who served in Vietnam, Almack is not shy to share his opinions about the situation. "There needs to be somebody who's going to take the bull by the horns," he says. "There needs to be a decision made in the D.C. [Fish and Wildlife Service] office that caribou are important." Almack adds, "at the decision-making level, they probably would just like to see the animals go away" rather than work to get the funding for them. ***
      "Despite the lack of political will and funds, and the loss of habitat to recreation, logging and forest fires, some biologists and conservationists believe that there are ways to save the caribou in the United States. Almack advocates a captive-rearing program through which biologists could raise a group of animals every year to send back to the wild. But such an effort would likely cost millions of dollars and strenuous lobbying to get it funded....
      "But without new funding or some new strategy, mountain caribou may not have much of a future, Almack says as we circle above caribou number 600, the "good momma." "We don't know how much caribou can take," he says with frustration and sadness. "We don't know their threshold, but at some point there won't be any caribou anymore if we keep it up." See:

      High Country News (4 Mar 2002):
      "Ghosts of the Selkirks fading fast
      "By Kevin Taylor
      "Funding woes and predation have last U.S. caribou herd on the ropes
      "The last herd of mountain caribou in the United States and the people trying to save the herd have developed uncannily similar survival strategies: They both subsist for long stretches on very little of what they need.
      "For the caribou, it's food. For the biologists, researchers and conservation group members, it's money.
      "Mountain caribou, a subspecies of the woodland caribou, are well adapted to survive winter in the snow-laden forests of Western North America. *** It's a trait that has helped an estimated 30 to 34 caribou hang on in the Selkirk Mountains of northern Idaho, northeastern Washington and southeastern British Columbia, where they have been listed as an endangered species since 1984. ***
      "Not too long ago, the herd's prospects looked fairly bright. During the 1990s, scientists transplanted caribou from other regions of Canada, increasing the Selkirk herd to some 70 animals from a low of about 20. But in 1998, British Columbia's wildlife ministry suspended the program. That decision, combined with a shrinking budget, pressure from the timber industry to drop the program, and the natural hazards of living in some of the most difficult terrain in North America, spells trouble for the creature known as the Ghost of the Selkirks. ***
      " 'When you get down to 30 animals ... there are so many problems to overcome. With many species, 30 is considered extinction,' said Jon Almack, senior wildlife biologist with the Washington state Department of Fish and Wildlife. "We need transplants and we need captive rearing, and neither of those is in the works for us." ***
      "Predators aren't the only problem. Mountain caribou need old-growth forests to survive. Logging has decreased the caribou's historic range and has created younger, more open forests. Scientists say it takes 50 years for a tree to support lichen, and another 50 years before there's enough lichen to support a caribou.
      " 'Caribou also reproduce quite slowly. Mothers produce one calf every two or three years, and are not terribly protective of their young,' says Washington Fish and Wildlife's Almack. The transplants remaining in the herd, about half of the 30 to 34, are believed to be nearing the end of their typical 12-year life spans. ***
      "As the Selkirk herd has diminished, so have the funds for its recovery. Suzanne Audet says the Fish and Wildlife Service now disburses $215,000 to Washington and Idaho agencies in what are known as Section 6 grants, down from $270,000 just four years ago. And not all of that is used for caribou. Idaho Fish and Game, for example, currently gets $120,000 in Section 6 grants, but only spends a quarter to a third of that on caribou, Audet said. The rest goes to grizzly bear recovery work in the Selkirks.
      "Private funding has helped fill in some of the funding needs. The Selkirk Conservation Alliance has raised $30,000 in the last two years to help fund caribou recovery work - including payment for such research basics as radio telemetry flights. Without that contribution, fieldwork would have come to a standstill, Almack said. ***
      "As another deep winter arrives, the Ghost of the Selkirks - at least the few that remain - have climbed to their old haunts to wait it out on almost nothing at all." See:

      Grizzly Bear Outreach Project, "First Selkirk Grizzly Ever Radio-collared" (28 Mar 2011) (by "tim"):
      "Attached is scanned photo of the first grizzly bear ever trapped and radio-collared in the Selkirk Ecosystem. This bear was ID #863 and nicknamed Sly. She was captured by Jon Almack, in 1983, who was then a graduate student. The nickname for this bear, Sly, was short for Jon's wife Sylvia. Over this bear's life she wore 4 different radio-collars over a 10-year period. She was considered a matriarch of the ecosystem. She was killed by an elk hunter from Bellingham, in October 1993. At that time she had 2 cubs, young of the year with her. It is believed that both cubs died shortly thereafter from exposure, although it never could be confirmed. The Elk hunter who shot her was taken to federal court and later fined 21k.... ***
      "An unverified story about this bear is that because she had been captured and radio-collared repeatedly, that during her last capture she just laid down and stretched out her neck waiting for the new radio-collar. Although, not having been there, I am sure this is just a story. She had been radio-collared 4 times during her lifetime. She produced 7 cubs in her life, most of which were then later killed north of the border, either illegally or as part of sanitation related incidents and were later involved in management removals." See:

  • Sources 
    1. [S68] Gervaise, Gervaise Dynes-Wolak, "Snouffer2.ftw" and subsequent Email reports to Wm. C. Snouffer, (Gervaise Dynes-Wolak, Email:, (14 Nov 2007).

    2. [S3] Personal |, Person Named, Spouse, or close Relative or Friend, (Nancy Almack Gil; Email, 17 Aug 2011).