Barrasso welcomes Mr. Hovinga to the committee. Click here to watch Mr. Hovinga’s testimony.
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, U.S. Senator John Barrasso (R-WY), chairman of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works (EPW), welcomed Brad Hovinga, Jackson regional wildlife supervisor for the Wyoming Game and Fish Department, to the committee. Hovinga was testifying before the committee at a hearing titled “Theodore Roosevelt Genius Prize: Innovative Solutions to Reduce Human-Predator Conflict.” In his testimony, he told the committee, “The opportunity for new and innovated solutions to arise that carry much greater effectiveness at reducing conflicts between humans and wildlife is paramount to the future of the coexistence between people and wildlife.”
Barrasso introduced Hovinga to the committee prior to his testimony. “I want to welcome Brad Hovinga who has served as Jackson regional wildlife supervisor for the Wyoming Game and Fish Department during the last four years.
“Mr. Hovinga has worked with the Wyoming Game and Fish Department since his graduation from Utah State University, where he was awarded a bachelor’s degree in wildlife management.
“He served over two decades as a district game warden in Big Piney and Lander, Wyoming. In 2014, he was named ‘Officer of the Year’ for Wyoming by the Shikar-Safari Club International.
“In recent years, I’ve had the privilege of talking to Mr. Hovinga on different occasions about conservation issues affecting Wyoming. This committee will benefit from hearing about his vast experience in resolving predator-human conflicts in Wyoming.
“Mr. Hovinga, it is a privilege to welcome you as a witness before the Environment and Public Works Committee. Thank you for traveling to Washington to be here today,” said Barrasso.
In his written testimony, Hovinga highlighted the areas in Wyoming where the majority of human-predator conflicts occur. “In recent years, the majority of conflicts in Wyoming occurred on public lands outside of the Primary Conservation Area. As bears expand and occupy habitats commonly used by humans, there is a greater potential for conflicts to occur. Education and conflict-prevention efforts are used anywhere bears and people coexist, and management actions will be a function of human values and effects on the grizzly bear population in those areas,” said Hovinga.
Hovinga also emphasized the innovative technologies already being used by western wildlife management agencies to reduce human-predator conflict. Hovinga stated, “WGFD has trained professionals throughout the state that function as a Predator Attack Team (PAT). These individuals annually conduct and attend training to efficiently and expertly deal with situations involving human injury or death caused by wildlife, in this case grizzly bears. The WGFD revised their PAT guidelines in 2016 and continues to evaluate their guidelines and infrastructure to respond to human injuries and fatalities in a professional and efficacious manner.”
Hovinga concluded by stating the importance of improving current technologies to reduce human-wildlife conflicts. “The opportunity for new and innovated solutions to arise that carry much greater effectiveness at reducing conflicts between humans and wildlife is paramount to the future of the coexistence between people and wildlife. These opportunities are most likely to develop through partnerships between private industries and government organizations with a reasonable and practical investment of financial resources in the initial stages of development,” said Hovinga.
For more information on Hovinga’s testimony and the hearing, click here.