The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources is pleased to announce a new member of the Conservation Warden Service.
DNR Conservation Warden Audrey Royce has added a partner to her team in north central Wisconsin — her K9 partner, Nyssa. The K9 team is based in Oneida County, where they serve the Northern Highland American Legion State Forest and Lake Tomahawk area. Nyssa is a nearly 1-year-old German Shepherd who already boasts incredible credentials from hours of training.
The state forest alone covers 232,000 acres of northern Wisconsin where outdoor enthusiasts enjoy countless trails which showcase among the best scenery around, along with plenty of camping opportunities. Increased use of many public trails and hunting lands are another reason it was the perfect time to bring Nyssa on board.
“Hunting season is going on right now,” Royce said. “If there is a lost hunter or missing kids, Nyssa is certified as a tracker and can help find someone. There are so many trails and a person could get a bit off the beaten path.”
Despite being a playful pup, Nyssa knows when it is time to work and has demonstrated an ability to use her nose.
“She loves her job and it really shows,” Royce said. “When she realizes it’s time to find someone, she goes into work mode. I’m really proud of what she’s accomplished at such a young age and excited to put her to work.”
Nyssa is certified in two areas and working on additional disciplines. She is certified through Law Enforcement Training Specialists (L.E.T.S.) International Inc. for tracking humans. Nyssa is also certified as a Canine Good Citizen through the American Kennel Club and is in training to locate and recover evidence.
Wardens who take on a canine partner fund the dog’s expenses and its training. The dog also lives with the warden owner. This is true with Royce, who owns and funds Nyssa’s training and expenses.
A graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Royce first served the public at Devil’s Lake State Park in Sauk County before returning to northern Wisconsin in February.
On top of being a DNR conservation warden, Royce also volunteers as a member of the Newbold Fire Department. Royce and Nyssa train with their K9 Search and Rescue team once a week.
“I always have a positive experience with the public when Nyssa is with me,” Royce said. “She is such a friendly dog and expects everyone to say hi to her. People love her, and she loves them.”
To confidentially report suspected violations against wildlife or the environment, contact the DNR Violation Hotline.