Takes position with new USDA Training Services Academy at MSU
Mississippi has lost yet another of its prime deer biologists, the third such departure from the Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks in 15 months.
Chad Dacus, Chief of the Wildlife Bureau, has resigned effective Thursday, to join a new program in the wildlife extension program at Mississippi State University.
“I’m going to Starkville and MSU to become the training coordinator for the new USDA Wildlife Training Services Academy,” Dacus said Wednesday in a phone interview. “It is an opportunity to impact wildlife biologists across the nation.”
The ground-floor opportunity was too much for the 14-year MDWFP veteran to let pass.
Dacus has worked his way up from field biologist to head the wildlife bureau the past four as chief. He was assistant chief the two years previous and was the coordinator of the highly successful deer program the five years prior.
“It’s been a great opportunity, and I enjoyed working with so many talented and dedicated biologists and technical staffers at the agency,” he said.
The MDWFP had previously lost assistant wildlife bureau chief Chris McDonald in July and deer program coordinator Lann Wilf in September of 2015. Neither position has been filled.
But, the MDWFP wasted little time in filling Dacus’ seat atop the wildlife bureau. Former chief Ed Penny, currently the director of the MDWFP’s Conservation program, has been appointed interim chief of wildlife.
Penny said his goal was to “keep the ship on course” until a permanent replacement for Dacus could be found.
In a press release from Mississippi State University’s Wildlife Extension Service, the USDA Wildlife Training Service Academy is the first such operation in the country, and is dedicated to training, instruction and safely resolving human-wildlife conflicts and safety-related risks.
It can train up to 1,200 USDA Wildlife Services personnel currently tasked with responding to human-wildlife conflicts across the country.