Biologist to speak about wildlife in the wilderness


By Colorado Parks and Wildlife

Special to The SUN

As part of the continuing celebration of the 50th anniversary of the federal Wilderness Act, a veteran Colorado biologist will talk about the importance of wilderness to wildlife populations in the Rockies at Fort Lewis College.

Scott Wait, senior terrestrial biologist for the southwest region of Colorado Parks and Wildlife, will make a presentation at 7 p.m. on Aug. 28 at the lyceum in the Center for Southwest Studies on the Fort Lewis College campus in Durango.

“Wilderness is incredibly important for wildlife populations,” Wait said. “It provides a significant refuge and allows animals to live with a minimal amount of human disturbance.”

Colorado’s southwest corner holds the largest concentration of wilderness areas in the state. These areas include: Weminuche, Lizard Head, South San Juan, Sangre de Cristo, Fossil Ridge, Uncompahgre, Raggeds, La Garita, Powderhorn, West Elk and Escalante-Dominguez Canyon.

Wait has worked for more than 30 years as a wildlife biologist in Colorado. Originally from Missouri, he earned his undergraduate degree in wildlife biology from the University of Wyoming in 1980 and a master’s degree in the subject from Washington State University in 1983. He worked as the wildlife manager for the city of Boulder from 1985 to 1987. Then he started his career with what was then the Colorado Division of Wildlife in 1988 as a district wildlife manager in Saguache in the San Luis Valley.

In 1994, he became the area wildlife biologist for the agency in Durango, and in 2006 was promoted to his current position, which is also based in Durango. The region extends from the Four Corners to Paonia and includes the Gunnison Basin, the Uncompahgre Plateau and the San Luis Valley.

On a daily basis, Wait works on a variety of wildlife resource issues, including: habitat restoration, big game, small game and species conservation. He has also worked on numerous special wildlife projects, including: reintroduction and monitoring of lynx, Columbia sharp-tailed grouse reintroduction, moose introduction and extensive work on Gunnison-sage grouse issues.

For more information about Colorado’s wildlife, see