The welding department from St. Johns, Northland Pioneer College, recently built 88 wildlife escape ladders which will be used on the Springerville and Alpine Ranger Districts. Wildlife Biologist Valerie Horncastle, from the Springerville Ranger District, worked with the group to build the ladders. The Stratford Estates Girls group from Mesa, painted the ladders to prevent rusting. The ladders will be placed in stock tanks by other volunteer groups, local ranchers and members of Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests Range Department.
The ladders will play a critical role in helping many wildlife species such as birds, bats, animals and even insects escape if they become trapped while trying to take a drink. Every year there are numerous reports of animals and birds drowning in stock water facilities. The tanks are essential for wildlife and livestock in areas where permanent water sources are scarce. Not only will these ladders provide an escape for different creatures it is also an effective way to increase water quality in the tanks.