WRI was established in 1996 as a public, non-profit organization in order to conduct research and provide data and education for the wise use and management of wildlife and wildlife habitat. In addition, WRI's mission is to promote timely conservation biology through cooperative programs with agencies, industry, and academia. WRI is a land trust and manager of mitigation for sensitive habitats.
The Wildlife Research Institute, spearheading a cooperative effort with The Nature Conservancy and San Diego County, to purchase 7,000 acres of grasslands in Ramona, CA.
These critical and threatened grasslands support one of the most significant raptor populations remaining in San Diego County including one of the last Burrowing Owl populations left in San Diego County. The Grasslands are also part of a wildlife corridor connecting public lands in north San Diego County with public lands in the south county.
BOARD OF ADVISORS & VOLUNTEERS
We are grateful to our Board of Advisors who are conservation minded citizens that donate their time and expertise to our organization.
Carol Angus, Business Owner/Wildlife Advocate Fred Sproul, Botanist
Jim Hannan, PhD Wildlife Studies Professor Jim Tostado, Realtor/Wildlife Advocate
Shot Linton, Charter Member of WRI/Naturalist Tina West, Finance
Tom Stark, Engineer and Naturalist Dave Bittner, Founder/Wildlife Biologist
Leigh Bittner, Founder/Education Specialist
We also have a dedicated team of volunteers that donate many hours to host our Hawk Watch program so we can offer free wildlife education to our citizens and schools. If you would like to volunteer please email
Director, Wildlife Biologist, Eagle Biologist
Dave has been a Wildlife Biologist for more than 48 years. Education includes a B.Sc. in Zoology and Wildlife Management from The Ohio State University (1968) and graduate studies in Avian Reproduction and Natural Resources (1975-1977) also at The Ohio State University.
Dave has worked for the US Fish and Wildlife Service, Cleveland Museum of Natural History, Ohio Dept of Natural Resources, taught at three different Universities and since 1990 has been the Director of the Wildlife Research Institute with headquarters in Julian, California.
Dave has continually studied the Golden Eagles of San Diego County for the last 17 years and has comparative data from the 1890’s. Currently the Wildlife Research Institute, the non-profit he founded, is monitoring hawks, eagles and owls in the San Diego MSCP under State NCCP grants. SEMPRA Energy has also supported WRI research on the electrocution mortality of raptors in San Diego County.
Cooperating with California State Parks, Dave headed an annual Golden Eagle and Prairie Falcon population study throughout the Anza Borrego Desert State Park. Currently, Dave has a Golden Eagle migration study underway in San Diego, Montana and has conducted Golden Eagle population survey on two of Ted Turner’s New Mexico ranches totaling approximately one million acres.
Dave’s avocation is photography, all of his research and many hours in the field have professional photographs to accompany all of his research and presentations.
Katherine is known not only for her Quirky Girl Syndrome, but her keen intelligence.
Her expertise includes, eagles and other raptors, passerines, and botany. Katie is a tour guide with WRI's "Wild Tours".