In loving memory of
WRI founder and Executive Director, Dave Bittner had a fatal accident on January 9th, 2020, during a research visit to refresh memory cards and batteries in a motion-activated remote camera placed at a critically threatened Golden Eagle nest in San Diego County's Bandy Canyon. His life was dedicated fully to his love of wildlife and wild places, helping educate thousands on the importance of preservation and healthy appreciation of wildlife while protecting their habitat first and foremost. Dave advocated for San Diego County’s Golden Eagle population with local agencies by ensuring the long-term documentation of their nesting ecology since 1988. The photos from this camera are pivitol in his annual information campaign to maintain proof of the ongoing viability of the threatened Bandy Canyon Golden Eagle nesting territory. Limiting trail access directly to the nest site is the only way to preserve this pair. Almost all of San Diego’s fifty Golden Eagle territories are threatened by development, unnecessary hiking trails and other human-caused disturbances during nesting time, but this one was special to Dave. The Bandy Canyon nesting cliff and adjacent foraging area for the pair lie within the Ramona Grasslands Preserve that Dave, through WRI, helped The Nature Conservancy acquire. The success of the remaining Golden Eagles in San Diego County and the young that have been produced here over generations is a key factor in the survival of the Golden Eagle population as a whole. Opposing the imminent threat of development and human disturbance above this nest site was a fight he felt he could win as long as he wouldn’t give up. Dave died trying to once again give the County of San Diego photographic proof of this successful pair of Golden Eagles in their historic territory. His legacy lives on through the work of Wildlife Research Institute, and we will continue in his loving honor through the Dave Bittner Eagle Research Fund.