WYOMING – A longtime Wyoming Game and Fish supervisor will be hanging up his red shirt this month.
Bob Lanka, the department’s statewide wildlife and habitat management supervisor, is retiring after 35 years with the department. He has held this position for the last eight years, overseeing the department’s sage grouse, nongame bird and mammal, migratory game bird, statewide terrestrial habitat and harvest survey programs.
Throughout his career, Lanka worked to improve how the department estimates big game and other wildlife populations. Lanka began his Game and Fish career as a biologist aide in Green River in 1985 working on lake trout in Flaming Gorge; in 1986 he was hired permanently as a biologist working in Cheyenne; in 1988 he was hired as the wildlife biologist in Newcastle where he served for four years.
During his time in Newcastle, Lanka served on a committee that considered an application to start a private game farm in Wyoming. The committee recommended that the Commission reject the application, which it did, ultimately deciding that private ownership was not best for Wyoming or it’s wildlife.
In 1992, Lanka moved to Lander as a wildlife biologist. While there, he implemented a sage grouse monitoring system that is still used by the department today.
In 1995, he moved to Laramie when promoted to the position of wildlife management coordinator for the region.
In 2007, he became the statewide supervisor for the regional information and education specialists, a job he held until being promoted to his current position.
Doug Brimeyer, Game and Fish deputy director of wildlife said, “For his entire career, Bob’s skills, talent and attention to detail have positively influenced wildlife management across the state. In 1990, he was recognized by the Wildlife Division for his work on game ranching in Northeast Wyoming. The Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies also recognized Bob and his colleagues in 2017 for their wolverine monitoring work that helped to further our understanding of one of the West’s most elusive carnivores. In addition, Bob’s tireless efforts to review the latest scientific journals and share research findings have positively influenced co-workers during his 35-year career.”
Lanka has been an active member of The Wildlife Society for his entire career, currently serving as a council member. He and his wife, Sheila, will celebrate their 34th wedding anniversary shortly after retirement. Their son, Aaron, is finishing his associate’s degree in Fire Science at Laramie County Community College and will graduate this month.
Lanka’s last day with Game and Fish is May 16.
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