News Release Distributed 06/19/13BATON ROUGE, La. – The LSU AgCenter announced that Lane Foil has been named to the Pennington Chair for Wildlife Research at the Bob R. Jones-Idlewild Research Station in Clinton.
The announcement came at a reception for Foil in the AgCenter’s Burden Center on June 12.
The Pennington Chair was funded by a gift from the Irene W. and C.B. Pennington Foundation. In addition to the initial donation, AgCenter officials have received $400,000 in matching funds from the Louisiana Education Quality Support Fund administered by the state Board of Regents. That funding completes a $1 million endowment for this position.
Foil, who has studied vector-borne diseases and their effects on animal health, will focus his research on developing solutions for problems that affect the health and abundance of Louisiana wildlife. His first wildlife project was hemorrhagic disease in deer.
“It’s a major problem,” he said, citing 9,000-plus deer that died in Nebraska last year. “We do not know why. We do not know how. We do not know when it will happen again.”
Because the research program was in place, Foil was able to collect data on the cattle and captive deer at the research station last year. “We’re shedding new light on that particular subject,” he said. “But science is slow; science is methodical; science requires patience.”
LSU AgCenter Chancellor Bill Richardson thanked the Pennington family for their generous support.
“It takes someone with passion to get the job done. The Pennington Foundation is thankful to be a small part,” said William Hodgkins, who spoke at the reception on behalf of Daryl and Mary Pennington and the family foundation.
The Pennington Chair is housed in the Bob R. Jones Wildlife Research Institute, which was formed to further research in the management of wildlife interests at and near the Bob R. Jones-Idlewild Research Station.
The primary interest of the institute is to focus on problems and seek solutions to those problems that limit, confound or decrease the ability of wildlife to flourish in the Florida parishes as well as throughout Louisiana.
Current research includes work on deer herd health – both wild and captive – upland game-bird management and restoration, forest management for wildlife and environmental manipulation for wildlife.
The institute’s goal is to provide science-based information wildlife enthusiasts, private landowners, corporate landowners and others in the area wildlife and habitat management. The mission is to use applied scientific methodology to solve problems faced by wildlife managers and other interested parties in the state of Louisiana.
“We need your support and enthusiasm,” Ann Reiley Jones told the audience at the reception. “And we need the LSU AgCenter.”
Jones is a member of the institute’s board and the daughter of Bob R. Jones, after whom the research station and institute are named.
Approximately 29 percent of Louisiana’s available land is leased for hunting, and hunting leases have tripled in the past 15 years, giving rural timber owners an immediate source of income.
AgCenter administrators also say game ranching in Louisiana is flourishing – with 250 licensed white-tailed deer farmers and 30,000 acres behind high fences for such purposes. Since 2001, the number of licensed deer farmers has increased by 140 percent and fenced acres have increased 400 percent.
Such game farming enterprises were among the connections that led to the donation to the AgCenter, said Dearl Sanders, resident coordinator at the research station.
“The driving force behind the donation was Daryl Pennington, grandson of C.B. and Irene Pennington,” Sanders said. “He is a strong supporter of wildlife research, being an avid hunter and fisherman.”
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