Employee Spotlight: Brady Dunne, wildlife biologist
Grand Canyon National Park highlights employees each week in its community newsletter. Sean Ryall is this week’s employee spotlights.
Brady Dunne is a wildlife biologist at Grand Canyon National Park.
He has degrees from Northern Arizona University and the University of Montana.
He started his natural resource career as a Park Ranger-Naturalist in Glacier National Park in 2000 where he discovered the field of wildlife conservation research while volunteering for a National Park Service wildlife biologists.
After returning to school (UofM) for his second degree wildlife, he spent the next 16 years working year-round as a field biologist collecting wildlife research data on numerous western wildlife species (mainly song birds, raptors and large carnivores). During that time, Dunne worked for several state wildlife agencies, universities, BLM, USFS, USGS, and NPS.
“The last park I worked at was Yellowstone National Park from 2018 to 2021 as a bear management specialist. But after one final gruelling field season leading the field operations of a wolverine study in the Sawtooth Mountains, I decided to “hang up my field hat” and switched career paths,” he said.
In 2022, Dunne accepted a full-time federal position as a Natural Resource Specialist for the Department of Defense.
How long have you worked at GRCA? Where are you based out of?
I just started working in GRCA in October 2023 in the SRM building on the South Rim. Even though I grew up in Prescott I have not seen the Grand Canyon in over 30 years.
What does a typical day look like for you in your role?
The average day is showing up to the office and working on the continued development of a strong IPM program for the park. But I often respond to call-outs for human-wildlife conflict like; animals in buildings, injured animals, or elk at the school.
Are there any specific projects or tasks that you find particularly interesting or challenging?
The most challenging aspect my career in wildlife is trying to bridge the gap between human perception and their understanding of wildlife behavior. Educating people on the behaviors of different wildlife species and trying to explain without anthropomorphizing is a constant challenge.
Can you share a talent or skill that surprises people when they find out?
I have spent over 60,000 hours of my life collecting field data and specializing in the capture and management of cougars, grizzly bears and grey wolves. The skills I became most specialized in was climbing trees to capture cougars and aversively conditioning grizzly bears at close range. I also had my own expedition company capturing cougars and bears for wildlife photographers.
Is there a destination on your bucket list that you’re eager to visit?
The Torres Del Paine National Park in Chile’s Patagonia region.