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USDA Announces New Director for Wildlife Services Western Region

Keith Wehner of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) has been named Director for the Wildlife Services (WS) Western Region, headquartered in Fort Collins, Colorado. He will also serve as a member of the Management Team for the WS program, which provides Federal leadership and expertise to resolve wildlife conflicts to allow people and wildlife to coexist.

“Wehner’s collaborative nature and professional experiences will suit him well for the Western Region Director position,” said WS Deputy Administrator Janet Bucknall. “He has played a pivotal role in advancing WS priorities related to livestock protection, airport wildlife hazard management and protection of agricultural resources from wildlife damage. He is a diligent and effective advocate for WS needs and priorities, and those of our stakeholders.”

Wehner brings valuable accomplishments and skills to his new position. He has noteworthy experience building cooperative field programs for the protection of agriculture, natural resources and property and to safeguard human health and safety. His work has included aerial programs, rabies management, statewide beaver and feral swine management programs, livestock protection, airport protection work, and threatened and endangered species conservation, among a variety of other technical areas.

Since 2018, Wehner has served as a Western Region Assistant Director. He began his career with WS in 2000 as a wildlife specialist and then as biologist in the Tennessee/Kentucky WS Program. From 2005-10, Wehner served for WS’ National Rabies Management Program as the rabies field coordinator facilitating the distribution of millions of oral rabies vaccine baits from Maine to Florida. He served the WS program in Tennessee/Kentucky as the assistant state director during 2010-2015 where he built an aviation program to deliver aerial wildlife damage management to the entire eastern region. Wehner became state director of the WS program in North Carolina for three years.

In 1996, Wehner received his Bachelor of Science in biology/ecology from Michigan Technological University, Houghton, MI. He is an active member of The Wildlife Society and its Wildlife Damage Management and Wildlife Disease Working Groups. Wehner has represented USDA on several interagency committees, including the Swift Fox Conservation Team, Black-footed Ferret Recovery Committee, and the Mississippi Flyway Council.

The Western Region of WS includes significant operations for livestock protection, airport wildlife hazard protection, invasive species management and endangered species protection. Wehner will oversee a workforce of more than 1,000 federal and cooperative employees conducting WS work in 19 states and Guam.

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