I partner with researchers from around the world to tackle some of our planet's most challenging questions about wildlife behavior, habitat selection, competition, fear, disease and management. The students below approached me for mentoring in analytical approaches and study design and write-up but are pioneering research in their own (often local) systems.
Andrea Gagyi Palffy is a PhD student in the Environmental Science and Policy Department at Central European University in Budapest, Hungary. As part of her research she is currently studying the conflicts between people and wolves in the Western Carpathians, Romania, which harbors one of the last remains in the world of ancestral coexistence between people and wolves. She applies an interdisciplinary approach, combining insight from the natural and social sciences to analytically map both the human-animal conflict (the biophysical environment that influences depredation) and the human-human conflict (the social environment and the institutional framework). The main aim is contributing to improved management of human-wildlife conflict to benefit both local communities and wolf populations.
Gopal Khanal is an MSc student at the National Centre for Biological Sciences in Bangalore, India, where he studies wildlife biology and conservation. His current research work focuses on understanding the determinants of spatial and temporal distribution of livestock depredation by snow leopard in the Nepal Himalayas. He is developing livestock depredation risk models based on previous livestock depredation sites and using risk maps as a tool to guide livestock grazing management to reduce livestock depredation by snow leopard. The overarching goal of his work is to help herder communities and protected area managers better prevent livestock depredation by snow leopard, which he hopes will help reduce human-snow leopard conflicts and protect this endangered carnivore in this region.
Gabriella Leighton is a Masters student in the Biological Sciences Department at the University of Cape Town. Born in London, she grew up in Cape Town passionate about wildlife, particularly felids, and so decided to study zoology at a young age. She has since completed her BSc Honours and her research interests have focused on conservation biology, particularly how innovative use of technology can aid in data collection to inform this field. Her current project aims to examine how urbanisation influences the diet of caracal in Cape Town, South Africa using classic and new methods, including risk assessment of disease.
Coral Mascote is an MSc student at the Institute of Research on Natural Resources (INIRENA) at the Universidad Michoacana de San Nicolás de Hidalgo in Michoacán, México. Her Masters project is the first social and ecological study of potential conflict between apple growers and black bears in the Sierra de Arteaga in northern Mexico. Extensive habitat fragmentation is increasing encounters between black bears and humans in this area, including raiding of apple orchards. Apple production represents an important source of income for people in the municipality of Arteaga, Coahuila. Recently, concern has increased regarding the impact that black bear incursion can have on apple production and the risk that bears represent for human safety. Through interviews with farmers, she is assessing the magnitude of bear impact on apple production, identifying landscape attributes driving bear visits to orchards and providing recommendations to reduce risk of bear-human conflict.