CASPER, Wyo. — The Wyoming Chapter of the Wildlife Society have selected their “Wildlife Professional of the Year.”
Hank Edwards, the Wyoming Game and Fish Department’s Health Laboratory supervisor is the recipient of the 2019 award.
“’It’s humbling and a great honor to be recognized by my peers,’ said Edwards. ‘I work with people who are incredibly dedicated to wildlife and go above-and-beyond to help study and prevent the spread of wildlife diseases. I am really proud to hang this award on my wall.’”
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He was previously honored with the “Professional of the Year” award in 2006, making him the only person to ever be named twice, according to Game and Fish.
“’Hank leads a talented team of wildlife disease professionals who are nationally recognized for being on the leading edge of diagnostic techniques for brucellosis, chronic wasting disease and bighorn sheep respiratory disease,’ said Aly Courtemanch, Game and Fish wildlife biologist in Jackson and one of five who put forth Edwards’s nomination.”
Edwards joined the department in 1997.
“He’s co-authored over 25 wildlife disease publications on topics ranging from brucellosis vaccines for elk to bovine viral diarrhea virus in deer,” Game and Fish adds. “He also co-authored the ‘Field Guide to Diseases of Wyoming Wildlife’ book in 2011.”
“Most notably, Edwards and his laboratory have been instrumental in understanding the relatedness of various Brucella abortus organisms throughout the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem and performed serologic diagnostics on thousands of elk blood samples, helping to map the brucellosis endemic areas of Wyoming and track the progression of the disease in the state.”
Edwards has also helped organize sampling of bighorn sheep and mountain goat herds, testing for respiratory pathogens.
“’His body of work has underpinned many of the highest profile wildlife management issues and decisions in Wyoming during the past two decades. From elk feedgrounds to domestic sheep-bighorn sheep disease transmission to the future of big game management in the face of chronic wasting disease, Hank has been and is integrally involved,’ said Courtemanch.'”