Date of this Version
The Wildlife Professional, September/October 2020, pp 28-32
Did you ever wonder who invented radio telemetry? Or breakaway snares? What about the bird repellent methyl anthranilate or the livestock protection collar? These and many other tools used in wildlife damage management resulted from creative thinking by biologists, technicians, researchers and managers working to solve complex wildlife issues. Over the past 90 years, these “aha moments” within the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Wildlife Services program have ranged from developing novel scare devices, traps and vaccines to exploiting an animal’s visual capabilities to stop unwanted behaviors. Once discovered, these unique ideas may lead to practical, feasible and cost-effective wildlife damage management tools. However, without the appropriate promotion and development, many great ideas go unused. The USDA-WS National Wildlife Research Center’s primary goal is for natural and agricultural resource managers to adopt the tools and techniques resulting from its scientists’ research. NWRC scientists have always published research findings, produced technical notes and factsheets, presented at scientific meetings and hosted demonstrations and workshops. However, in 2014, the NWRC Technology Transfer program began a concerted effort to encourage and support formal product development collaborations with partners outside of NWRC and the transfer of the center’s research discoveries to the private sector. This effort is pinned to The Federal Technology Transfer Act of 1986 and later legislation that changed how federal laboratories, such as NWRC, do business. These laws allow federal laboratories, universities and industry to form commercial partnerships that enhance the development of new technologies that advance USDA’s mission. These partnerships transfer the technologies into the marketplace while at the same time offering financial benefits to federal inventors.
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