New Wildlife Biologist Arrives in GMU 8
Wednesday, 07 August 2013
There’s a new wildlife management biologist in Kodiak. Nate Svoboda joined the Alaska Department of Fish and Game this week. He replaces Larry Van Daele, who has been promoted to Southcentral Regional Wildlife Supervisor.
The 39-year-old Svoboda hails originally from Nebraska, and has worked for several years as the biologist for the Ottawa tribe in Michigan. He’s currently finishing up a PhD project on predator-prey relationships. A hunter and avid fisherman, Svoboda has visited Alaska before, and said Kodiak has a lot to offer.
“Ah well I’m really interested in carnivore work and I’ve also done some work with ungulates in the past and it just seemed like a good mix. And plus I’ve been fortunate in the past I’ve spent quite a bit of time in Alaska. I figured it would be a nice good move here for me. It’s a good fit as far as the species on the island are concerned with my goals and interests and it just seemed to be a good fit.”
As the wildlife biologist for Game Management Unit 8, Svoboda says he has several duties and responsibilities, but the job also offers some opportunities as well.
“One of the main things in managing the population for the use
of the community and the members of Alaska and the non-members of Alaska
who come here to hunt. But there’s not only the management components
but research components. It’s really important in my mind to include
science in resource and meld the two together, to have a good science
component to mix with the management component to make sure everything
is done in a scientifically-based way that provides ample opportunities
for the public.”
A rather unique aspect of the wildlife on the
Kodiak Island Archipelago is the large number of outside species that
have been introduced here over the years. Besides the brown bear, all
the other large land mammals in the islands are introduced species. It’s
not a combination that has worked well elsewhere.
and the ecosystem here on Kodiak provides a unique opportunity for a lot
of these species to coexist with one another. It seems to be a good
mix, which seems to be counterintuitive when you look at some of the
systems particularly the Lower 48 area, and really places all over. I
think as long as you have responsible management and it doesn’t have any
impacts on the native species or the ecosystem as a whole I think it
can be a positive thing, particularly for the residents of Alaska and
some of the Native communities that rely on those species for
subsistence purposes and for hunting and recreational purposes as well.”
Svoboda replaces a longtime wildlife biologist in Van Daele, and says
he’s looking forward to the opportunity to maintain his predecessor’s
“I know I have some really big shoes to
fill. I know the management on Kodiak and surrounding islands has been
incredibly successful in the past and so I’m just really excited to be
here, really excited to getting involved in the community and looking
forward to meeting the various members of the community and the people
who come to the island to hunt.”
Though Van Daele was promoted to
regional wildlife supervisor, he says he will still make his office in
Kodiak and still be involved in bear research.