There is a need for new ways to conserve wildlife species across human-dominated landscapes. Isolation of wild spaces and protected areas continues, thereby reducing species movement, spatially constraining them from fulfilling their life-history requirements. Conservation planning addresses this issue by accounting for wildlife habitat suitability and connectivity within the intervening landscape matrix. What is often unaccounted for, however, is consideration of human habitants and their livelihoods. Failing to do this could undermine conservation.
My study aims to develop conservation action that fosters landscape coexistence between humans and wildlife by designing an inclusive, social-ecological systems plan that can provide nuanced understanding of how to achieve human-wildlife coexistence that draws upon participation from local communities. I am applying to TRI to support summer research and answer one of four central questions in my dissertation. Over the summer, on completion of my qualifying exam in March, I intend to examine how domestic and wild animals use the human-dominated landscape and drivers of attitudes towards wildlife. More specifically, I am looking to understand the co-occurrence of wildlife and cattle across a human-dominated landscape with settlements, proximity to protected area, crops, vegetation, and water as covariates. I will also be interviewing community members about their livelihoods and identifying drivers of attitudes towards wildlife.