Colorado State University


2018 11 15 8 Mile 1005F Group (27) DougSmtih Enh 2mb


Project leads: Becky Niemiec, Kevin Crooks, Stewart Breck, Dana Hoag, Courtney Schultz

Question: How can we develop and implement collaborative solutions to minimize stakeholder conflict and human-wolf conflict regarding wolf restoration in Colorado?  How can we educate the public and decision-makers regarding the science behind wolves?

Participants: Government, sovereign nations, stakeholder groups (e.g., ranchers, hunters, environmental NGO's), and academic institutions.

Actions: Define and quantify the roots of potential stakeholder conflict and human-wolf conflict through public surveys, stakeholder interviews, and stakeholder workshops; use research findings to explore opportunities for increasing collaborative decision-making and developing solutions to minimize human-carnivore conflict; disseminate science-based educational material regarding wolf restoration to Colorado.

Outcomes: (1) create a mutual understanding of what is at stake for different groups affected by wolf recovery in Colorado; (2) ensure individuals, groups, and governments have a shared understanding of the diverse perspectives, needs, and concerns related to wolf restoration and management; (3) provide a platform for constructive, thoughtful, and respectful engagement on this topic; (4) educate the general public and decision-makers regarding potential wolf restoration to Colorado.


Check out the new K-12 educational curriculum on Coexisting with Wolves, developed by Captain Planet Foundation's Project Hero with the assistance of the Center for Human-Carnivore Coexistence. Project Hero is a free online platform that offers standards-oriented and authentic project-based learning experience for empowering and engaging students to take action for wildlife.

View our seminar series and panel discusssion, entitled "Social Justice and Human-Carnivore Coexistence: Considering Indigenous Voices and Rights in Wolf Reintroduction and Management", that was held at CSU on Thursday October 21st.  The event included presentations from indigenous leaders and tribal representatives, followed by Q&A. The recording of the event is available to CSU students and faculty for educational purposes. If you are interested in obtaining a copy of the recording, please email"

Scientific paper written by CHCC Faculty Rebecca Niemiec, Jon Salerno, Tara Teel, Kevin Crooks, and colleagues on integrating social science into conservation planning, using Colorado wolf reintroduction as a case study.

Policy briefs on Colorado wolf reintroduction developed by CHCC faculty and graduate students through the Center for Collaborative Conservation Fellows Program.

Scientic paper pubished by CHCC Faculty Tara Teel and colleagues which demonstrates that cultural, belief system data can inform gray wolf recovery efforts in the US.

2020 CHCC Annual Report on research, education, and outreach efforts regarding Colorado wolf restoration

Policy brief on participatory decision-making regarding wolf restoration to Colorado

Article in The Conversation by Becky Niemiec and Kevin Crooks about the need for participatory decision-making to reduce social conflict regarding wolves in Colorado

Denver Zoo Webinars on Yellowstone Wolves and Indigenous Perspectives Towards Wolves

Denver Museum of Nature and Science Webinar Series: Wolves in Colorado: Science & Stories

CHCC educational materials on potential wolf restoration to Colorado.

Scientific paper by Becky Niemiec and PhD student Mireille Gonzalez on the influence of message framing on public beliefs and behaviors related to wolf reintroduction in Colorado. Aug 2020.

CHCC scientific paper on public perspectives on wolf reintroduction and management in Colorado. May 2020.

CHCC report on public perspectives on wolf reintroduction and management in Colorado.  January 2020.

CHCC report on stakeholder workshop regarding potential wolf restoration and management in Colorado.  February 2020.

CHCC organized World Cafe Workshop at Pathways: Human Dimensions of Wildlife conference. Estes Park, September 2019.


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Suk Lion Dancers Ng Stirton 2013


Project lead: Jon Salerno

Question: How are different ethnic groups affecting increasing and decreasing carnivore tolerance in communities surrounding the Ruaha-Rungwe ecosystem in southern Tanzania?

Stakeholders: Barabaig, Maasai, Sukuma, and Hehe ethnic groups; native residents, long-ago arrivals, and recent in-migrants; livestock keepers, farmers, conservation organizations

Actions: The Ruaha-Rungwe ecosystem contains the second largest population of Africa lions, and a lot of people and livestock living and grazing in and around protected areas. Lions and other carnivores kill livestock. People respond in different ways, including through retaliatory and preemptive hunting and poisoning. Our work is in its early stages and takes a landscape view to understand (i) human in-migration and changing social norms of recent arrivals and long-term residents, (ii) how social dynamics impact carnivore tolerance at different timescales (e.g., long-term shifts in community tolerance, immediate response to a predation event), and (iii) how individuals and groups change behaviors in response to conservation interventions.

Outcomes: (i) national-scale migration dynamics and lion conflicts; (ii) impacts on human food security from livestock predation from an adjacent landscape

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Wild black bear searching for food at residential garbage dump site in Killarney Provincial Park of Ontario


Project lead: Stewart Breck, Kevin Crooks

Question: What are the cultural, policy, and financial limitations constraining residents and cities from more effectively limiting the availability of garbage and other anthropogenic attractants that are the root-cause of bear-human conflict in mountain communities throughout Colorado?

Stakeholders: Residents of mountain towns, city councils, waste management companies, wildlife managers.

Actions: Colorado has a robust population of black bears and a growing human population throughout the mountain region of the state. Black bears are smart and creative foragers and will come into towns and communities to take advantage of the garbage and other foods that we have made available. When this happens, human-bear conflict and bear mortality increases, leading to negative interactions with people and negative impacts to the bear population. Limiting the amount of garbage and other food sources made available is the most important strategy we can employ to reduce this conflict. Our work focuses on the major limitations (cultural, policy, financial) to affecting substantial and meaningful change in limiting the human attractants that can lure bears to town..

Outcomes: (i) state-wide assessment of key limitations (ii) action plan for addressing change.

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Polar Bear + Trucks Breck Enh


Project lead: Stewart Breck

Question: How can we resolve human-polar bear interactions within and adjacent to the North Slope industrial footprint?

Stakeholders: Oil and gas industry, agency biologists, conservation organizations

Actions: Loss of sea ice is expected to foster an increase in anthropogenic activities in the Arctic by allowing greater access to the Arctic Ocean and facilitating the extraction of oil and gas reserves and the opening of new shipping routes. On Alaska’s North Slope, polar bears are regularly observed in close proximity to industrial operations during summer and fall. Adverse effects of industrial activities on polar bears have been documented, including den abandonment, fatal consumption of industrial chemicals, and human-polar bear conflict at industrial facilities. Preventing and mitigating such conflicts has been identified as an international priority in a circumpolar action plan developed by the five Arctic nations that manage polar bears and as a US national priority under ESA recovery planning for the species.

Outcomes: (i) hot-spot mapping (ii) temporal trends of interactions (iii) recommendations for mitigating conflict.

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Project lead: Kevin Crooks

Questions: What is the risk of disease spread among wild felids (puma and bobcat), domestic cats, and humans?  How does urbanization and wildlife management impact disease risk?

Collaborators:  PIs at Colorado State University (Sue VandeWoude, Department Microbiology, Immunology, and Pathology; Chris Funk, Department of Biology), University of Minnesota (Meggan Craft), University of Wyoming (Holly Ernest), University of Tasmania (Scott Carver).  State wildlife agencies in California, Colorado, and Florida.  Over 50 additional collaborators academic institutions, governmental agencies, and non-governmental organizations.

Actions: The FELIDAE (Feline Ecology: Landscapes, Infectious Disease, And Epidemics) research project, funded by the NSF-Ecology of Infectious Diseases Program (NSF-EID 0723676; 1413925), seeks to understand the ecology of infectious diseases in wild and domestic felids to inform policies that minimize disease outbreaks in wildlife, domestic animals, and humans.  Focal research areas include urbanizing landscapes in southern California, Colorado, and Florida.

Outcomes: The interdisciplinary FELIDAE project has been ongoing since 2004.  Outcomes include: 1) over 50 scientific publications; 2) over 100 scientific presentations; 3) over 30 grants to supplement research; 4) training of undergraduate students, graduate students, and postdoctoral fellows; and 5) outreach efforts, including an ongoing K-12 education project.

Click here for link to FELIDAE website

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Coyote Cat Enh Cr


Project leads: Stewart Breck, Tara Teel

Question: What are the social and ecological factors contributing to the rise in human-coyote conflict in urban environments? More specifically, through an interdisciplinary case study conducted in Colorado’s Denver Metropolitan Area (DMA), what are the factors that constrain or support proactive conflict mitigation and human-coyote coexistence in this urban system?

Stakeholders: Residents of the DMA, city and county governments, wildlife managers and management agencies

Actions: Our research focuses on the underlying causes of conflict and potential constraints to conflict mitigation. Thus far, our efforts have led to: (i) documentation of spatial and temporal patterns of human-coyote conflict across the DMA; (i) design and implementation of a spatially-explicit social science survey of DMA residents (n = 4,179) to examine residents’ experiences with coyotes and attitudes toward coyote-related issues and management strategies; (i) a separate survey of management professionals (n = 31) to determine how different entities are responding to coyote incidents throughout the DMA; (iv) an evaluation of a citizen science initiative (Coyote Watch) aimed at helping to mitigate human-coyote conflict in the

Outcomes: (i) DMA-wide assessments of social and biological factors related to human-coyote conflict; (ii) publications and reports to participating entities with recommendations for addressing conflicts and future research

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