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Showing posts from 2017

Quantity does not always mean quality

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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…

Here’s your chance to help reduce human-wildlife conflict!

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Imagine you’re a Canadian living in the Arctic Circle. You’ve recently been told that polar bears have been spotted roaming around your town. You might now be quite scared to walk around your neighbourhood, especially at night on your own.

Polar bear investigates recently collapsed observation tower near Churchill, Canada © WWF-US / Elisabeth Kruger
But one day you’re round a friend’s house for dinner and stay later than expected. Your car’s broken down so you need to walk just five minutes down the road to your house. You chance it because you think “well it’s unlikely I’ll come face to face with a polar bear”.

Unfortunately, though, as climate change reduces polar bear habitat, we’re seeing more and more instances of polar bears roaming around villages in the Arctic looking for an easy meal.And what’s worse, this situation isn’t just limited to polar bears. Wild animals from around the world are finding themselves squeezed into smaller and smaller places as humans destroy their habitat…

New threat to jaguars in Bolivia: poisoning

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I'm excited to announce that my first article in BBC Wildlife Magazine has been published!  It's in the June issue and talks about a new threat to jaguars in Bolivia: ranchers poisoning them.

Conservation Criminology: estimating wolf poaching intention

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Finally, after 4 years of waiting, our book chapter on estimating intentions to poach wolves has been published! In Chapter 11 of the new book Conservation Criminology, we evaluate whether hunters and farmers who had come into contact with wolves had the ability and inclination to poach wolves. We find that hunters were more inclined to poach wolves than farmers, even though farmers may have suffered a loss of livestock to wolves. The reason for this is because farmers might not have had their gun with them or it had not been loaded when they had seen a wolf.

Our findings indicate the importance of understanding not just attitudes towards wolves as a way of estimating poaching intent, but also including a person's skill and opportunity to shoot a wolf. You might really hate wolves, but if you don't own a gun, or if you've left it at home when you chance upon a wolf, you might never get the opportunity to kill it.

Quit nature to save wolves and bears? There are better ways

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My first New Scientist article was published yesterday! In it, I talk about new research out by Jeremey Bruskotter and colleagues on how modernisation could have helped large carnivores repopulate in western countries. As people move out of the countryside to get a better life in the cities (higher pay, better education), a farmer's life of conflict with predators is left behind. This means people no longer dislike predators so don't want to kill them.


World Goth Day

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This morning, I opened Twitter to find the hashtag #WorldGothDay was trending. Given that I used to be a goth as a kid (and still am on occasional weekends!) I thought what better day to merge my love of all things black with my passion for animals and #scicomm?! So I spent the day tweeting about #GothicAnimals!

It was so popular that the Telegraph picked it up and did an article on it!

May 22nd is World Goth Day - described, on the official World Goth Day website, as "a day where the goth scene gets to celebrate its own being, and an opportunity to make its presence known to the rest of the world." To mark the occasion, Twitter user Niki Rust, who works for the WWF as a Wildlife Technical Adviser, has been sharing pictures of her favourite gothic animals:

View image on Twitter


Niki Rust@NikiRust Today is

The Critically Endangered Animals Future Generations May Never See

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On Endangered Species Day (19 May) I was interviewed by the Telegraph to talk about what is threatening some of the rarest mammals in the world. (You can read the full article here) This was then repurposed in Unilad:

Human greed, selfishness, and denial of responsibility are really fucking up this beautiful Earth. As we continue to focus only on humans, we have entered a sixth mass extinction where 41 percent of amphibians, 25 per cent of mammals, and 13 per cent of birds could be lost forever if urgent action is not taken. Over 23,000 species are on the IUCN Red List, and most of the population threat comes from human actions, whether that be through global warming, hunting, deforestation, over-fishing, or pollution.

View image on Twitter