TWS member Jason Suckow has been named the new director of Wildlife Services’ National Wildlife Research Center in Fort Collins, Colorado.
Suckow — a Certified Wildlife Biologist — spent his career at Wildlife Services, beginning as a seasonal employee in Wisconsin in 1989. Succeeding 11-year director Larry Clark, Suckow has been serving as acting director of the NWRC since January.
“His leadership skills and communication style suit him perfectly for the position,” Wildlife Services Deputy Administrator Janet Bucknall wrote in an email to staffers. “I am confident that Jason will continue to lead the Center with the same commitment and effectiveness he has shown during the past 4 months and throughout his career.”
Suckow previously served as Wildlife Services’ western regional director, overseeing wildlife damage management activities in 19 states and Guam. He also oversees the program’s implementation of approximately $1 million in new Congressional funding for nonlethal strategies to mitigate depredation on livestock. The director position takes him from the operations side of the program to overseeing its research efforts.
“The National Wildlife Research Center is a world leader in wildlife damage management research,” he said. “To be a part of that is pretty significant and humbling.”
Suckow said he hopes to see the center increase collaborations, both within Wildlife Services and with universities and state and federal agencies, and do a better job of explaining its mission to the public.
“So many people think Wildlife Services is primarily a predator management agency,” he said. “There’s so much more work that we do. Protecting agriculture is a key part of WS’ mission but we also have a wide and varied public service component to our job that increases every day.”
Many people don’t know about the work Wildlife Services does managing wildlife at airports, tackling wildlife diseases, and reducing damage from invasive species, he said. Suckow hopes to see the center expand its work with biologics, such as vaccines and contraceptives, that could help control invasive species in island ecosystems, improve fertility control for wild horses, administer plague vaccines to aid in the recovery of black-footed ferrets (Mustela nigripes), and provide other benefits.
“There’s a number of different aspects in the arena of wildlife biologics that I think would be beneficial for wildlife management,” he said.
Suckow has spent his career with Wildlife Services, occupying almost every position up the career ladder, from managing beaver conflicts as a seasonal employee in Wisconsin, to serving as a wildlife biologist in Pennsylvania, to serving as state director in several states including Pennsylvania, Minnesota and Wisconsin. In 2014, he became western regional director.
His work over the years has ranged from partnering with other agencies to recover Kirtland’s warblers (Setophaga kirtlandii) from the brink of extinction to dealing with overabundant Canada geese (Branta canadensis) in urban areas. He serves on the executive committees for black-footed ferret and Mexican wolf (Canis lupus baileyi) recovery efforts, and on the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies’ federal and tribal relations committee, and threatened and endangered species committee.
Suckow joined TWS as a freshman at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, and has been a member ever since. While in Wisconsin as state director, he chaired the TWS state chapter’s Cormorant Damage Working Group.
He urges colleagues and students to join and pursue TWS wildlife certification.
“TWS is a great support and resource to anyone in the wildlife profession,” he said. “It provides opportunities for networking and expanding your knowledge about the wildlife profession and current wildlife management issues. I appreciate TWS for a lot of reasons.”
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