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Walker Back Into the Field

Alumni: Zack Walker
Degree:
BS Wildlife Science
Graduation: 1998
Business Title: Statewide Nongame Bird and Mammal Program Supervisor
Business: Wyoming Game and Fish Department

 

After graduating with a BS in Wildlife Science from Purdue's main campus, I attended Indiana University Purdue University Fort Wayne to obtain a MS in Biology from Purdue. My thesis involved determining the spatial ecology of the Timber Rattlesnake in Southern Indiana. After graduate school, I started my professional career by working with the Indiana Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) as the Statewide Deer Research Biologist. In this position, I modeled Indiana's deer herds and provided other game management recommendations. I worked this position for three years, but wanted to get back into the field and away from the office. In 2003, I changed positions to become the IDNR's first State Herpetologist. In this position, I got back to my "herp roots" and helped monitor and manage Indiana's reptiles and amphibian species. The most memorable species I worked with in this position was the Hellbender, and helped get long term research started for this species.

After working as the IDNR State Herpetologist for 6 years, I decided I would like to see more of the country and experience the West. I accepted a position working for the Wyoming Game and Fish Department (WGFD) as their Herpetological Coordinator. This position was very similar to the one held in Indiana, and was responsible for coordinating the Wyoming's herpetological efforts. In this position, I worked primarily with montane amphibians and the Wyoming Toad. After working this position for an additional 6 years, I was promoted to supervise the Nongame Bird and Mammal Program for the WGFD. In this position, I supervise three permanent nongame biologists, and up to 14 contract employees. My most notable achievement in this position to date has been the reintroduction of black-footed ferret to their site of initial rediscovery in Meeteetse, WY.

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