About Dr. Mark
Dr. Mark’s first wildlife capture & handling was with Colorado Game, Fish, and Parks Department catching bighorn sheep with drop nets during his first year of veterinary school in 1983 – over 35 years ago. Even then, before he knew he was a teacher, he took photos and wanted to gather and share the details of how to work in the field capturing animals. He is continuously learning from the animals and from his colleagues and has been teaching these field-based details for over 25 years.
For Dr. Mark, how we capture wildlife is just as important as what we do. His highest priority is to handle every animal with care, compassion, and respect and to teach how we incorporate those heart-felt values into our tools, techniques, and mannerisms. This leads to greater success in the field, better animal care, greater joy in our work, and a steady desire to always do better.
After 2 years in private practice Dr. Mark began working exclusively with wildlife. He was Project Veterinarian for the U. S. Fish & Wildlife Service’s 1995-96 Gray Wolf Reintroduction to Yellowstone National Park, and served as Yellowstone Park’s wildlife veterinarian for four years – the first wildlife veterinarian for the National Park Service. He is also Affiliate Faculty with University of Montana’s Wildlife Biology Department.
Dr. Mark has taught workshops exclusively for agencies and organizations such as:
- Yosemite & Glacier National Parks
- Minnesota and Fargo Zoos
- Puerto Rico Dept. of Natural Resources
- USFWS National Conservation Training Center
- USDA Wildlife Services
- University of Montana (since 1997)
- University of Minnesota
- Maine Inland Fisheries and Wildlife
- Michigan Dept. of Natural Resources
- Red Wolf Recovery Program
- MN Zoo (twice) and Fargo Zoo
Working with captive and free-ranging wolves has taught Dr. Mark how to work with feral dogs. He also teaches humane feral dog capture and handling courses around the world to help organizations eradicate rabies and humanely manage dog overpopulation. After Hurricane Katrina, Dr. Johnson helped with dog rescues and field training in New Orleans, and has traveled to India 4 times in a collaboration with Vets Beyond Borders and the Animal Welfare Board of India to provide training in the humane capture of feral dogs.
Dr. Mark continues to assist with field captures and teaches the most current and extensive training courses in North America. With each course he teaches, Dr Mark also learns from the professionals attending the courses and new tools, techniques, and perspectives throughout the year.
Dr. Johnson lives with his wife Elizabeth in Freeland, Washington on Whidbey Island. They enjoy hiking, kayaking, organic gardening, and supporting the practices of sustainable communities.
"I would like to personally thank all of the students and professionals who have taken my courses - each one of you is also my teacher. Thank you to all of the zoo and wildlife professionals who have shared their field-based knowledge and techniques as we all develop better ways to capture and handling wildlife with care, safety, and success.
I would also like to thank the following colleagues for sharing their photos, videos, and protocols for this website and for my wildlife handling and chemical immobilization courses. Thank you for sharing your high standards in animal care when handling captive and free-ranging wildlife. I am honored to have you represented in my training materials." Dr. Mark Johnson DVM
- Kim Sagar Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe Natural Resources
- Dave Shreffler, Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe Natural Resources
- Mark Elbroch, Panthera
- Nathan Bieber, Maine Inland Fisheries and Wildlife Mammal Group
- Lee Kantar, Maine Inland Fisheries and Wildlife Mammal Group
- Nathan Albrecht, Coeur d'Alene Tribe Wildlife Program
- Bob Cisneros, Big Bear Alpine Zoo
- Rich Beausoleil, Washington Dept. of Fish and Wildlife
- Wolf Haven International, Tenino WA
- Bob Parris (and Alex Krevitz), U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service