When Feral Hogs Attack, Brad Pendley Fights Back in Missouri’s Mingo National Wildlife Refuge — The National Wildlife Refuge Association


Amidst the thriving wilderness of Puxico, Missouri, Mingo National Wildlife Refuge faced a pressing challenge: a relentless invasion of feral hogs endangering its precious species and delicate vegetation. Enter Brad Pendley, a dedicated Wildlife Biologist at Mingo NWR since 2009, armed with a visionary solution – eliminate the hog threat to secure the refuge’s future for generations to come. Recognizing his game-changing efforts at Mingo NWR and his continued leadership, Pendley has been bestowed with the esteemed 2023 Wildlife Refuge Awards – Employee of the Year by the National Wildlife Refuge Association for 2023. Established in 1944 under the authority of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, Mingo National Wildlife Refuge serves as a testament to our commitment to wildlife conservation.

This prestigious accolade celebrates the outstanding accomplishments of individuals employed within the National Wildlife Refuge System, honoring their invaluable contributions to the operation and management of national wildlife refuges across the country. The 2023 Wildlife Refuge Awards ceremony and dinner will be held on September 26th at 5:30 pm at the illustrious Mayflower Hotel in Washington, D.C., and media coverage of this event is highly encouraged. 

“Brad works collaboratively with state, federal, non-profit, private, and university partners on a variety of projects and has strong management skills and produces results when asked to work on a project,” says Sabrina Chandler, Pendley’s Area Supervisor at Mingo. “Brad literally saved our refuge from the threat of feral hogs through innovative and impactful mitigation methods that eradicated this nuisance and threat to local conservation efforts.”

Among Pendley’s remarkable accomplishments are:

  • Collaborating with the U.S. Department of Agriculture on an extensive feral hog trapping program, successfully removing approximately 4,000 feral hogs from the refuge at an average of over 500 per year.

  • Securing two grants from Region 3 Invasive Strike Team funds, leveraging around $80,000 in 2021 and $40,000 in 2022. These funds were entirely dedicated to the feral hog program, facilitating aerial gunning flights, acquisition of drones/equipment, monitoring cameras, and a range of essential equipment.

  • Enhancing communication, transparency, and building trust with stakeholders and neighboring communities, fostering a deeper understanding and appreciation for the refuge’s conservation efforts.

Brad Pendley’s unwavering commitment to conserving wildlife and fostering community engagement stands as a testament to his exceptional dedication and leadership. Let us celebrate his outstanding achievements at the 2023 Wildlife Refuge Awards, applauding his remarkable contributions to wildlife conservation within the National Wildlife Refuge System.


The National Wildlife Refuge Association is a non-profit exclusively focused on protecting, promoting, and enhancing the 850-million-acre National Wildlife Refuge System, the world’s largest network of lands and waters set aside for wildlife conservation.

For all media inquiries and questions, please contact Eden Taylor, Communications Manager at etaylor@refugeassociation.org.

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