Official Ducks Unlimited statement regarding U.S. Fish and Wildlife airplane crash

Dr. Alan Wentz, Ducks Unlimited senior group manager for conservation and communications, issued the following statement regarding the news that two U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service waterfowl biologists, Vernon (Ray) Bentley and David (Dave) Pitkin, were killed when their survey aircraft crashed in western Oregon on Sunday, Jan. 17:

"Ducks Unlimited and the rest of the waterfowl community have lost two great friends of conservation in Ray Bentley and Dave Pitkin. Ray and Dave were lost while contributing to the critical body of science that guides the best and most successful wildlife management model in the world. Aerial waterfowl surveys play a significant role in determining annual waterfowl regulations, and Ray and Dave's work was an important contribution to this overall effort.

"Our thoughts and prayers go out to the families of Ray and Dave, and to the rest of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, in this time of sorrow."

Ducks Unlimited is the world's largest non-profit organization dedicated to conserving North America's continually disappearing waterfowl habitats. Established in 1937, Ducks Unlimited has conserved nearly 13 million acres thanks to contributions from more than a million supporters across the continent. Guided by science and dedicated to program efficiency, DU works toward the vision of wetlands sufficient to fill the skies with waterfowl today, tomorrow and forever.

Neil Shader