News from Al Franzmann founding President of AAWV


In the winter/spring of 1979 Dr. Al Franzmann published a letter to the editor in JAVMA calling on wildlife veterinarians to gather in Seattle in conjunction with the AVMA’s annual meeting to discuss the potential for organizing wildlife veterinarians.  Out of that effort AAWV was born and Al was the first President.  At the time Dr. Franzmann was director of the Kenai Moose Research Center near Soldatna, Alaska.  Al, an avid outdoorsman, had spent 15 years in large and mixed animal practice in Ohio before deciding to attend graduate school at the University of Idaho and pursue a PhD.  He had foreseen the need for veterinarians trained in wildlife management and after graduating in the mid 1970’s went to work for the Alaska Game and Fish Department (ADFG).  Although not classified as a veterinarian Dr. Franzmann provided a wide range of veterinary services on an equally wide range of species.


Recently Dr. Franzmann was inducted into the University of Idaho Hall of Fame “for leadership and contributions in the field of wildlife veterinary research”.  In a letter dated May 20, 2004 Al said, “How far we have come in 25 years.  Remember when the term wildlife veterinarian was unknown and when we had to describe our professional involvement to the AVMA as miscellaneous ?  It seems significant the award came from the College of Natural Resources.”


Al spent 17 years with ADFG followed by a couple or years as a retired annuitant helping with post Exxon Valdez marine mammal research and other activities.  He was then appointed by the governor of Alaska to the Alaska Game and Fish Commission and served in that oversight capacity for 6 years.  In 1996 he was given the WDA’s Emeritus award at the Fairbanks meeting and in 1997 he co-authored “Ecology and Management of the North American Moose” which was awarded the Wildlife Society’s book publication award in 1998.  This and his other achievements resulted in recognition by the Northwest Section of TWS giving Al the Einarrson award for being their outstanding professional in 1999.


Dr. Franzmann’s recent letter goes on to say “Remember how I was chastised by some veterinarians for accepting employment as a game biologist ? Remember when our goal was to have wildlife veterinarians in every state and we had only 3 ?  I am pleased that we have closed the gap and I think whichever was AAWV decides to go on affiliations, the status of wildlife veterinarians will remain strong and grow stronger”.