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Seminar with panel of wildlife experts to be webcast online
PHOENIX — The Arizona Game and Fish Department invites the public to a free educational presentation on Wednesday, Sept. 23 to learn about the natural history, management efforts, and biological and social issues related to mountain lions and bighorn sheep in Arizona.
The event will be held at 6:30 p.m. at the department’s Phoenix office at 5000 W. Carefree Highway. To accommodate interested constituents who are unable to attend in person, the seminar will be webcast simultaneously on the Internet by visiting www.azgfd.gov/webcast. For those watching online, questions may be submitted electronically for consideration during the interactive question-and-answer period.
A panel of three of the department’s expert wildlife biologists will each provide a 15-minute informative presentation with pictures, natural history and management objectives. Ron Thompson will speak on mountain lions; John Hervert will cover bighorn sheep; Pat Barber will provide an overall summary of the department’s role for managing both species in southwestern Arizona, including the Kofa National Wildlife Refuge.
The speakers have more than 70 years of collective experience in wildlife management:
Pat Barber, a second-generation Yuma native, is the department’s Yuma regional supervisor. He has a Bachelor of Science degree in biology with an emphasis in fish and wildlife management from Northern Arizona University. In his 14 years with the department, Barber spent eight years in the field as a wildlife manager, was the predator and furbearer biologist, and was the department’s chief of law enforcement before assuming his current position. He is very knowledgeable about bighorn sheep and mountain lion management. Barber played a lead role in the change to the three-month closure for the mountain lion hunting season, regulatory protection for female lions with spotted kittens, and establishing the mechanisms requiring physical check-in for hunter-harvested mountain lions to improve data collection.
John Hervert is the department’s wildlife program manager in the Yuma regional office. He has a Master of Science degree in wildlife ecology from the University of Arizona. Hervert is a veteran biologist of 25 years with the department. His knowledge and experience is extensive, with 30 years working with desert ungulates (desert bighorn sheep and mule deer) and 20 years working with mountains lions in the Sonoran Desert. Hervert’s areas of special interest include water physiology, development of aerial survey techniques, and re-establishment of bighorn sheep and two endangered species, the Sonoran pronghorn and Mexican Wolf.
Ron Thompson is the department’s large carnivore biologist. He has a Bachelor of Science degree in wildlife biology from the University of Arizona. Before rejoining the department in his current position, Thompson had a long career as a wildlife manager. After retirement, he was a contract wildlife biologist involved in adaptive management strategies for bighorn sheep and mountain lions for projects in New Mexico as part of the Turner Endangered Species Fund and in Arizona and the Kofa National Wildlife Refuge. He is highly interested in using leading-edge DNA science for the future management of carnivores. Thompson is responsible for the development of a statewide conservation plan for mountain lions and bears.
After the presentations, the public is encouraged to engage in a question-and-answer session to address questions, concerns and issues about these dynamic species. Web viewers will have access to a link at www.azgfd.gov/webcast for submitting questions to the panel electronically for consideration.
The mission of the Arizona Game and Fish Department is to conserve, enhance, and restore Arizona’s diverse wildlife resources and habitats through aggressive protection and management programs, and to provide wildlife resources and safe watercraft and off-highway vehicle recreation for the enjoyment, appreciation, and use by present and future generations.
To learn more about the desert bighorn sheep and mountain lions in Kofa Mountains Complex and the department’s management objectives, visit www.azgfd.gov/kofa