• Can science save the giant panda (Ailuropoda melanoleuca)? Unifying science and policy in an adaptive management paradigm

      Swaisgood, Ronald R.; Wei, Fuwen; Mcshea, William J.; Wildt, David E.; Kouba, Andrew J.; Zhang, Zejun (2011)
      …Here, we review recent developments in giant panda conservation science and propose a strategic plan for moving panda conservation forward…. Specific threats, such as habitat destruction, anthropogenic disturbance and fragmented nonviable populations, need to be addressed simultaneously by researchers, managers and policy-makers working in concert to understand and overcome these obstacles to species recovery. With the backing of the Chinese Government and the conservation community, the giant panda can become a high-profile test species for this much touted, but rarely implemented, approach to conservation management….
    • Contextual influences on animal decision-making: Significance for behavior-based wildlife conservation and management

      Owen, Megan A.; Swaisgood, Ronald R.; Blumstein, Daniel T. (2017)
      Survival and successful reproduction require animals to make critical decisions amidst a naturally dynamic environmental and social background (i.e. “context”). However, human activities have pervasively, and rapidly, extended contextual variation into evolutionarily novel territory, potentially rendering evolved animal decision-making mechanisms and strategies maladaptive. We suggest that explicitly focusing on animal decision-making (ADM), by integrating and applying findings from studies of sensory ecology, cognitive psychology, behavioral economics and eco-evolutionary strategies, may enhance our understanding of, and our ability to predict how, human-driven changes in the environment and population demography will influence animal populations. Fundamentally, the decisions animals make involve evolved mechanisms, and behaviors emerge from the combined action of sensory integration, cognitive mechanisms and strategic rules of thumb, and any of these processes may have a disproportionate influence on behavior. Although there is extensive literature exploring ADM, it generally reflects a canalized, discipline-specific approach that lacks a unified conceptual framework. As a result, there has been limited application of ADM theory and research findings into predictive models that can enhance management outcomes, even though it is likely that the relative resilience of species to rapid environmental change is fundamentally a result of how ADM is linked to contextual variation. Here, we focus on how context influences ADM, and highlight ideas and results that may be most applicable to conservation biology.
    • Ecological scale and seasonal heterogeneity in the spatial behaviors of giant pandas

      Zhang, Zejun; Sheppard, James; Swaisgood, Ronald R.; Wang, Guan; Nie, Yonggang; Wei, Wei; Zhao, Naxun; Wei, Fuwen (2014)
      We report on the first study to track the spatial behaviors of wild giant pandas (Ailuropoda melanoleuca ) using high‐resolution global positioning system (GPS) telemetry.... Despite a high degree of spatial overlap between panda home ranges, particularly in winter, we detected neither avoidance nor attraction behavior between conspecifics.
    • Sumatran tiger (Panthera tigris sumatrae): A review of conservation status

      Wibisono, Hariyo T.; Pusparini, Wulan; (2010)
      The majority of wild Sumatran tigers are believed to live in 12 Tiger Conservation Landscapes covering approximately 88 000 km2. However, the actual distribution of tigers across Sumatra has never been accurately mapped. Over the past 20 years, conservation efforts focused on the Sumatran tigers have increased, but the population continues to decline as a result of several key threats. To identify the status of the Sumatran tiger distribution across the island, an island-wide questionnaire survey comprised of 35 respondents from various backgrounds was conducted between May and June 2010. The survey found that Sumatran tigers are positively present in 27 habitat patches larger than 250 km2 and possibly present in another 2. In addition, a review on major published studies on the Sumatran tiger was conducted to identify the current conservation status of the Sumatran tiger. Collectively, these studies have identified several key factors that have contributed to the decline of Sumatran tiger populations, including: forest habitat fragmentation and loss, direct killing of tigers and their prey, and the retaliatory killing of tigers due to conflict with villagers. The present paper provides management authorities and the international community with a recent assessment and a base map of the actual distribution of Sumatran tigers as well as a general overview on the current status and possible future conservation challenges of Sumatran tiger management.
    • The face of conservation responding to a dynamically changing world

      Wiederholt, Ruscena; Trainor, Anne M.; Michel, Nicole; Shirey, Patrick D.; Swaisgood, Ronald R.; Tallamy, Doug; Cook-Patton, Susan C. (2015)
      …Here, we highlight contemporary and emerging trends and innovations in conservation science that we believe represent the most effective responses to biodiversity threats. We focus on specific areas where conservation science has had to adjust its approach to address emerging threats to biodiversity, including habitat destruction and degradation, climate change, declining populations and invasive species….