What do you enjoy most/what do you find most interesting about your research topic?
To conduct the study, I need to travel to a place where I have never been before and work with dedicated people who care deeply about wildlife, many of whom have become my lifelong friends. I enjoy learning not only about my target species, but also about other animals and plants that are part of the entire ecosystem (and people that live around it). I am curious about the perceptions of local people toward wildlife, especially carnivores, and how to change those perceptions if they are negative or stem from misunderstandings.
How does citizen science support your research?
Of course, citizen scientists help gather scientific information for my study, but the most important role that citizen scientists can play is to tell stories about their experiences. People do not know much about wild canids and sadly wolves and foxes are often cast as ‘bad’ guys. People do not know that many of canids are threatened or endangered. Citizen scientists can greatly help us inform others about the species I study (in this case, dholes) and the conservation threats they are facing.
What is one of your favorite moments in the field?
I have met many people during my field trips – scientists, field assistants, students, local communities. To be able to share knowledge and my experiences with colleagues and to inspire (and be inspired by) a younger generation bring about some of my favorite moments.