PROJECTS

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

WOLF RESTORATION IN COLORADO

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.

Click here to learn more about wolf restoration in Colorado.

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Suk Lion Dancers Ng Stirton 2013

CULTURE OF CARNIVORE TOLERANCE: AFRICAN LIONS AND LIVESTOCK IN TANZANIA

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

CAUSES OF URBAN BLACK BEAR CONFLICT

Project lead: Stewart Breck, Kevin Crooks, Courtney Schultz, Tara Teel

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

POLAR BEARS IN ALASKA’S NORTH SLOPE

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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Large male lion in high grass and warm evening light - Masai Mara, Kenya

CARNIVORE-HUMAN INTERACTIONS IN SOUTH AFRICAN FOOD WEBS

Project lead: Sara Bombaci

Question: Does fear of humans drive wildlife interactions in African food webs?

Stakeholders: South African National Parks; Snapshot Safari Team

Actions: Interactions between species can shape wildlife communities and their underlying systems. Predator presence can induce fear in prey, which can be powerful enough to drive behavioral changes in wildlife. As with other apex predators, humans can cause a landscape of fear that has the potential to alter natural apex predator feeding behavior, which can lead to further behavioral alterations in predator-prey interactions. This project studies how human-induced fear impacts trophic interactions among apex predators, mid-sized predators, and prey in South African food webs, and analyze how these alterations correspond with tourism pressure. This study will address 1) how human presence alters spatiotemporal overlaps between species across multiple trophic levels, and 2) how the presence or absence of tourism impacts the human-induced landscape of fear.

Outcomes: This study will add to the limited experimental evidence to date documenting the effect of humans on species interactions, and assess how human-induced landscapes of fear can reshape interactions among three trophic levels within complex and biodiverse South African mammal assemblages.

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Ocelot 5878349

COMMUNITY-BASED LAND STEWARDSHIP AND CARNIVORE CONSERVATION IN GUATEMALA

Project lead: Sara Bombaci

Question: (1) Is carnivore habitat use and diversity similar between community-managed lands and state protected areas in the Southwestern forests of Guatemala? (2) What are the mechanisms driving observed outcomes?

Stakeholders: Trees, Water, & People, Utz Che’ Community Forestry Association (including community members within this organization), Colorado State University, the Guatemalan government, and other smallholder farmers adjacent to study area.

Actions: The Southwest forests of Guatemala are likely to be highly biodiverse, yet there are limited legal forest protections. With only 25% of forest cover remaining, employing effective and stable management is paramount. To support conservation, livelihood, and local empowerment priorities, the major goal of this project is to work collaboratively with CSU, TWP, and Utz Che’ to: (1) understand the role of Indigenous-led land stewardship in shaping carnivore diversity in the tropics, and (2) connect Indigenous management techniques, governance, and other social forces to realized carnivore community and population outcomes. We will use these results to draft communal forest conservation plans, incorporating the link between Indigenous stewardship and carnivore diversity, that help Indigenous communities retain their territorial rights.

Outcomes: (1) add empirical data on understudied carnivore species in the tropics, (2) identify potential mechanisms of Indigenous-led land stewardship that promote biodiversity, and (3) advance knowledge co-creation methods centering Indigenous voices and outcomes using a collaborative and integrative approach.

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DISEASE TRANSMISSION BETWEEN WILD FELIDS, DOMESTIC CATS, AND HUMANS

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

URBAN COYOTES

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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