The Wyoming Chapter of The Wildlife Society recently recognized Statewide Large Carnivore Supervisor Dan Thompson as the 2018 Professional of the Year at their meeting in Laramie. As the supervisor for the Large Carnivore Section, Thompson oversees carnivore conflicts, research, monitoring, and management statewide.
Retired Game and Fish Deputy Wildlife Chief Thomas J. Ryder stated in his nomination letter that Dan’s “undying belief in the uncompromising use of science to inform management decisions is refreshing.” And that he is “a patient, contentious, and effective leader.”
Thompson grew up in rural Iowa and earned Bachelor’s, Master’s, and Ph.D. Degrees from South Dakota State University in Brookings, where he also played college hockey for his alma mater during his undergraduate years. Thompson’s Ph.D. research on cougars in the Black Hills became the formative work describing survival, dispersal, genetic structure and overall population characteristics of this important resource. His vast research experience ranges from plants, turkeys, small mammals, to ungulates, and more. He is also an artist and a writer with over 30 peer-reviewed research papers and several book chapters to his credit.
So far, under his tenure as a supervisor, wolves were delisted, relisted, and then delisted again. Wyoming retains management authority and in the end, Dan’s insistence on the use of defensible scientific data while incorporating the desires of Wyoming’s citizens and sportsmen has helped make wolf delisting and management a huge success. Similarly, Thompson’s leadership as a member of the Interagency Grizzly Bear Team has been invaluable in the delisting efforts of grizzly bears. In addition, over the last few years, his team has developed two new cougar and two new black bear studies to increase our knowledge of and inform our management of these species.
Dan lives in Lander, Wyoming with his wife and two children.