Fed biologists demonstrate skills at TWS NE Conclave

By William H. Clay, Deputy Administrator, USDA APHIS Wildlife Services

Wildlife Disease Biologist Kyle Van Why and Wildlife Technician Ryan Ross demonstrating feral swine trapping methods and management. ©USDA Wildlife Services

Biologists and specialists from USDA’s Wildlife Services staff in Pennsylvania enjoyed an opportunity to share their skills and expertise with TWS student members at the TWS Northeast Student Conclave, hosted by Juniata College’s Student Chapter of TWS earlier this month. On a cool April 2 all-day workshop, eight staff members lead three workshops on wildlife damage management methods including nonlethal management techniques, avian capture methods and feral swine management.

The conclave brought TWS student chapters together from universities across the region to interact with other students and professionals. It also offered a chance to learn about employment opportunities with government agencies by one-on-one interactions. Two of the Wildlife Services presenters are recent Juniata College graduates who learned about Wildlife Services during their studies.

Kyle Van Why, the Wildlife Services disease biologist in Pennsylvania, serves as the Juniata College professional liaison. He also occasionally works with students at check stations and predator hunts to help provide them with hands-on experience.

Van Why, CWB®, and wildlife specialists Ryan Ross and Shesh Jhala demonstrated feral swine trapping and snaring techniques, while discussing the need for feral swine management. Wildlife biologist Tony Roland, CWB®, led a workshop on the diversity of non-lethal management methods and their applicability with different species. Wildlife specialists Nokota Harpster and Jess Demyan augmented the talk with demonstrations on paintball gun use. Bobby Hromack, the Wildlife Services airport wildlife biologist at Pittsburgh International Airport, assisted by wildlife specialist Samantha DiLorenzo and Jess Demyan, demonstrated avian capture methods used frequently to capture and relocate raptors from the airport.

Many students mentioned they didn’t know a federal damage management program existed. Wildlife Services in Pennsylvania looks forward to offering similar sessions for students in natural resource programs at other universities in the future.

Wildlife Services is a Strategic Partner of TWS.