Tech Urban Wildlife Biologist Joins ‘Car Talk’

According to Kieran Lindsey sometimes wildlife is the boss!

According to Kieran Lindsey sometimes wildlife is the boss!

by Lynn Davis

Kieran Lindsey not only directs the Natural Resources Distance Learning Consortium for Virginia Tech’s College of Natural Resources and Environment, she is now the official wildlife guru for the famed Click and Clack brothers on “Car Talk,” one of the most popular shows on National Public Radio.

While hosts Tom and Ray Magliozzi know everything there is to know about cars, when it comes to vehicle interfaces with animals, the questions roll out of their ballpark for her to pick up.

Whether it be bats in the garage, escaped pet Madagascar hissing cockroaches, or deer-vehicle collisions, Lindsey will pipe in to explain what listeners can do about their animal problems. She is no stranger to call-in radio and over the years has answered thousands of questions about living with wildlife.

Before coming to the College of Natural Resources and Environment in 2008, Lindsey earned bachelor’s, master’s, and doctorate degrees in wildlife and fisheries sciences from Texas A&M University, headed up a nonprofit wildlife center in Houston, and hosted a weekly radio program, “Wild Things Radio,” which aired on public radio in Albuquerque, N.M. Her blog, Next-Door Nature, focuses on the benefits and challenges of interacting with wildlife in urban and suburban settings. In May, she will be a keynote speaker at the International Urban Wildlife Management Conference in Austin, Texas.

These days, in addition to assisting individuals with their career development via an online program designed for working professionals, Lindsey teaches graduate courses in urban wildlife management, human-wildlife conflicts, and human dimensions of natural resource management. Her expertise in urban wildlife, combined with being a longtime fan of “Car Talk,” prompted her to approach the show’s producer when she recognized the need for an expert to answer the animal questions. “Car Talk” responded by making her its official animal-vehicle biologist.

“I look at this role as an opportunity to educate the public about the natural world and to frame answers within an ecological context so people can appreciate what is outside their door,” Lindsey said. It is science education in a fun, entertaining way, which is of course how Click and Clack run their program.

Click and Clack say on their website that they have made up a lot of answers over the years when it comes to the wildlife questions thrown at them. Now when animal questions come from listeners, Lindsey will have a chance to provide real answers. She posts some of the most common automotive-animal conundrums on the Wildlife and Your Car page of the show’s website.

“‘Car Talk’s’ definition of wildlife is very broad, basically anything that’s alive and not human,” Lindsey explained. So she expects questions to run the gamut. She will also lend a hand, when asked, to answering wildlife questions in “Car Talk’s” nationally syndicated newspaper columns and its newsletter.

As the show’s website proclaims, “Her office is open, and she’s here to take your questions about the intersection of cars and wildlife.” The self-proclaimed “Lackeys of Car Talk Plaza” sign off with “Yours in keeping the bed bugs out of the Buick.”