Texas Aggie grad tames wild questions on Car Talk radio show

BLACKSBURG, Va. – “Car Talk,” National Public Radio’s wildly popular automotive call-in show, has gotten a bit “wilder” thanks to a Texas A&M University graduate.

Dr. Kieran Lindsey, with the Virginia Tech College of Natural Resources and Environment, serves as staff "wildlife guru" and animal-vehicle biologist for National Public Radio's popular "Car Talk" show. (Courtesy photo)

Dr. Kieran Lindsey, with the Virginia Tech College of Natural Resources and Environment, serves as staff "wildlife guru" and animal-vehicle biologist for National Public Radio's popular "Car Talk" show. (Courtesy photo)

Brothers Tom Magliozzi and Ray Magliozzi, also known as “Click and Clack, the Tappet Brothers,” field questions on all things automotive – including close encounters with wildlife. That’s where urban wildlife biologist Dr. Kieran Lindsey comes in.

“As someone who has listened to the show for years, I’ve heard Tom and Ray respond to wildlife questions and have often thought, ‘Wow! Those guys need help!’ So several months ago I sent their producer an e-mail offering my services. He accepted.”

Lindsey became the official “Car Talk” “wildlife guru” — otherwise known as their animal-vehicle biologist — effective Jan. 23.

Since signing up, Lindsey and the staff at Car Talk Plaza have developed an extensive “frequently asked questions” page for the show’s website. The interview-style page is now available at: http://cartalk.com/content/features/wildlife/.

She regularly contributes to a special “Car Talk” discussion board and the show’s Facebook page. When asked, Lindsey also will tackle specific questions received through their website, syndicated newspaper column, newsletter and on the air.

“It’s a lot of fun,” Lindsey said. “But more importantly, it’s such a great opportunity to educate the public about one aspect of living with wildlife. If you are a frequent listener, you know that ‘Car Talk’ has a very broad definition of ‘wildlife,’ so basically anything that’s alive and non-human qualifies. Luckily, I have a broad professional network so I can call in a ‘lifeline’ of my own when necessary.

“Hopefully it’s all done in a way that’s entertaining since we learn best when we’re having fun.”

Lindsey said the “Car Talk” opportunity goes hand-in-hand with her passion for reconnecting the public with wildlife. She currently teaches urban wildlife management and human-wildlife conflict courses at Virginia Tech’s College of Natural Resources and Environment, but she’s no stranger to the media spotlight.

Since earning her degrees in wildlife and fisheries sciences at Texas A&M, she has served as the director of a non-profit Houston wildlife center, written the Q&A column “Urban Jungle”  for the Houston Chronicle, produced, written and hosted “Wild Things Radio!” on NPR-affiliate KUNM-FM, and now hosts the blog “Next-Door Nature” at http://www.nextdoornature.org .

She also serves as editor of the Journal of Wildlife Rehabilitation and co-authored the textbook “Urban Wildlife Management.” But she said perhaps an equally important credential in her new role with “Car Talk” is having been a licensed driver for more than 30 years.

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