Times Spent Outdoors: Priceless!

Wendell Swank Is Honored And Remembered

Former Arizona Game and Fish Department Director Wendell Swank leaves legacy of science-based wildlife management.

It is with regret that we announce the passing on Jan. 2 of Wendell George Swank, a former Arizona Game and Fish Department director.

Mr. Swank, who worked 15 years for AZGFD and served as director from 1964-68, is perhaps best known for his role in transitioning the department to the use of a science-based wildlife management model.

A graduate of Texas A&M University, he joined AZGFD as a member of the first group of college graduates hired by the department as game rangers (wildlife managers) in the 1950s. As the agency evolved in the late 1950s and early 1960s, Mr. Swank was in charge of implementing the new wildlife manager program.

He spearheaded the department's change from an organization comprised primarily of enforcement officers into a college-educated, science-based agency that recruited from higher education institutions nationwide.

He also instituted a protocol where each wildlife manager trainee was exposed to an extensive education and training program, during which each new trainee worked with other department employees in different regions of the state.

Mr. Swank left Arizona Game and Fish in 1968 for the world's largest wildlife management post: the United Nation's administration of the wildlife program for the then-emerging nations of Kenya, Uganda and Tanganyika in Africa. His path subsequently led him back to Texas A&M University as a professor in the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Sciences, where his time was devoted equally between teaching and research.

Mr. Swank was inducted into the Wildlife for Tomorrow Foundation's Arizona Outdoor Hall of Fame in 2012.

The Arizona Game and Fish Department offers its deepest sympathies to the Swank family.


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