Our UK heroes tackling wildlife crime

Each year, wildlife crime enforcers from around the UK descend upon Leamington Spa to share insights and experiences on tackling wildlife crime in this country and abroad. This weekend I’ve been at the National Wildlife Crime Enforcers Conference to present awards on behalf of WWF to the law enforcers who have gone above and beyond to tackle wildlife crime in the UK. And the winners are….
Law Enforcer of the Year Police Sergeant Kevin Kelly of the North Yorkshire Police has won the Wildlife Law Enforcer of the Year Award for his outstanding achievements in enforcement of wildlife law this year. Sgt Kevin Kelly has been instrumental in transforming the way that wildlife crime is dealt with in the north, setting up a new unit of 17 officers dedicated to the issue. Most recently, his strong relationships with the RSPB have allowed raptor persecution to be stopped within minutes of offences being committed. Sgt Kelly has also been instrumental in tackling illegal fox hunting.

Sergeant Kev…

Winners of the WWF human-wildlife conflict tech challenge!

Back in July, we set up a competition where you could win 30,000 Euros to develop technology to reduce human-wildlife conflict

I'm excited to announce the winners for the first International Human-Wildlife Conflict Technology Challenge! WWF and WildLabs asked applicants to propose technological solutions to develop early-warning systems, letting communities know if carnivores or elephants were approaching. And the winners are….. *drumroll*

British researcher Alasdair Davies and the Dutch team of Laurens de Groot and Tim van Dam will each receive €30,000 to further develop and field test their solutions for reducing human-wildlife conflicts.

These two applications were chosen from 47 innovative ideas originating from 14 countries.

The Carnivore Category Winner Alasdair Davies, of The Arribada Initiative, will work on producing technology to develop early-warning systems for tigers and polar bears. Fortunately for us here at WWF-UK, Alasdair is based just down the road in Surrey.


Do you like cheetahs as much as me? Then this book may be for you

I am so excited to announce that finally, after many years in the making, the cheetah book that my old colleagues from Cheetah Conservation Fund and I have been working on is out next month!!

I co-authored two chapters, one on reducing human-cheetah conflict (Chapter 13) and another on using social science methods to conserve cheetah (Chapter 35).

Cheetahs: Biodiversity of the World reports on the science and conservation of the cheetah both in the wild and in captivity, covering such aspects of cheetah biology and ecology as demography, density and feeding behavior; genetic makeup and disease risks; and home range requirements and spatial utilization. The volume includes a broad range of topics, demonstrating the interdisciplinary nature of research and conservation efforts. The book begins with chapters on the unique physiology of this species, followed by the taxonomy and genetic status of the cheetah, leading into their behavior and ecology.

Want a discount?! Visit https://www.els…

The controversy of reintroduced predators

Back in August, a rare female brown bear was sentenced to death by Italian authorities as it had been found guilty of attacking a number of people.  The final straw was when it seriously injured an elder;y man who was out walking his dog.  Was it right for the authorities to kill the bear?  I was interviewed the BBC to talk about the complications of introducing potentially-deadly predators into human-dominated landscapes.  You can read the full article here.

The big, bad wolf or the ecosystem architect?

Last week, whilst in the depths of a conference on illegal wildlife trade, I was contacted by BBC Radio 4 to do an interview on wolves.  It was not a good PR week for wolves - they had been blamed for the death of a British lady who was visiting Greece.  I tried to set the record straight on human-wolf conflict and was thrown a curveball question at the end on how to respond if you think a wolf might be stalking you!  You can hear the interview from 47:18 onwards here.

Quantity does not always mean quality

I'm excited to announce that our new journal article on qualitative methods for conservation has been published in Society & Natural Resources! Here we talk about the quantitative / qualitative divide in conservation and explain the importance of appreciating the benefits of qualitative studies when trying to understand complex, under-researched areas.

Most conservation studies are quantitative in nature. They use numbers, percentages, statistics and modelling to empirically test predefined hypotheses. Whilst there is merit in this approach when you already know a fair amount about a topic, it's unhelpful when studying a new subject - or when you want to challenge conventional thinking.

That's where qualitative methods come in

Qualitative methods are exploratory in nature, where the goal is dive deeply into a specific topic to garner as much information as possible about it. Hypotheses are not usually used here because the researcher doesn't want to start with a pre…