Victoria’s Game Management Authority has appointed experienced wildlife figure Jordan Hampton as the face of the organisation’s research program.
Hampton has joined the GMA after a lifetime centred around wildlife, bringing with him a wealth of experience from previous roles in relative industries.
“I’ve been involved in wildlife research for 17 years now, having completed an honours and a PHD degree in the ecology and management of wildlife,” Jordan said.
“Originally, I worked as a veterinarian, but since then I have moved over to wildlife research and I’ve become pretty established as a researcher having published over 40 papers.”
Jordan has honed his craft in various aforementioned game-related arenas, also working as a private wildlife consultant and at a zoo, not to mention conducting lectures at universities.
However, the past three years of Jordan’s professional life has involved research on deer in south-eastern Australia prior to his new role.
His well-rounded body of knowledge within the wildlife sphere has been cultivated since a young age, stating his early surroundings was what garnered an interest for his chosen field.
“I was lucky enough to have a father who worked for a wildlife management agency in Western Australia, so when I was growing up, we spent a lot of time in the bush and that got me pretty interested in wildlife as a young boy,” Jordan said.
“That led to me going into vet school with the intention of working on wildlife, and I kept up my interest in wildlife through volunteer work and then professional work in my post graduate career.
“I have had a particular interest in wildlife use practices, I have worked pretty closely with commercial harvesters, macropods, recreational hunting and also indigenous wildlife use.
“I am very interested in some of the aspects which make wildlife use sustainable and also contentious — I like to apply an evidence-based approach especially practices which are contested, and I like to try and use my vet skills in a wildlife space to examine aspects such as public health and animal welfare.”
Tasked with spearheading the GMA’s research program, Jordan’s role includes interacting with staff internally to develop research and monitoring programs while working with research collaborators at other government agencies, universities, and industry and advocacy organisations.
“Day to day I’m trying to design research projects and data collection protocols, I’ll be involved in some of the field work to collect that data, a lot of my time will be analysing data sets that are collected by other groups then writing manuscripts, reports, conference presentations and a variety of different research outputs to get across to a broad audience.”
Currently mapping out a research strategy to be implemented across the next five years, Jordan believes a collaborative bond with hunters in Victoria is a step in the right direction with future proofing in mind.
“I think effectively involving hunters in the GMA’s research is essential, the experience of hunters on the ground will also be very important in identifying emerging issues that affect hunting, which we are going to need to address as an organisation.
“I think hunters play a really important role in collecting data for us, whether that is participating in field and phone surveys like harvest reports, through to helping with collecting data and samples from harvested animals, which is something I’d really like to expand.
“I’d like to get feedback from hunting organisations on what research programs we undertake and make sure that we engage hunters as broadly as we can in data collection, and then to give back I’m going to really try to focus on disseminating our research findings broadly to make sure I can get good feedback from the hunters on making sure our research is applied and relevant.
“We’re looking to expand our research profile by undertaking some bigger projects in the next five years, and hopefully that will allow some more robust assessment of some of the key issues affecting hunting in Victoria.”
Hailing from a conservative hunting background, sustainable practices within wildlife remains paramount for Jordan.
“The big focuses we are going to have are going to be making sure that hunting remains sustainable and also that animal welfare outcomes are maximised for hunting benefits,” Jordan said.
“I think we have got a large community interested in hunting and really great resources in Victoria, so I think the onus is just on us as an organisation to make sure we can provide an evidence base for how hunting is performed.
“I think it is a good challenge, and we are in a good position to start up some really interesting projects.”
Inspired by the opportunity to make a difference in the minds of thousands of hunting enthusiasts across Victoria, Jordan cannot wait to implement his work and make a difference.
“I have come into this role after living on my rural property in south Gippsland for three years, so I have a pretty good understanding of hunting practices across Victoria and also issues affecting regional Victoria,” Jordan said.
“I have done a lot of consultancy work throughout the state for the last few years, including a lot of research on deer, so I think I am in a good position to take on this role and I am really excited to get to know more of the people involved in hunting in Victoria.”