Wildlife scientist and doctoral student
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I am a wildlife scientist and doctoral student researching the responses of spotted hyenas (Crocuta crocuta) to anthropogenic activity and human-carnivore conflict in Ngorongoro Conservation Area, Tanzania. I am interested in applying behavioral and evolutionary ecology to wildlife conservation, i.e. using basic research to inform management strategies. I am also the Red List Authority Coordinator for the IUCN SSC Hyaena Specialist Group and am a National Geographic Explorer. www.arjdheer.com
Management strategies to reduce human-carnivore conflict are most effective when accepted by local communities. Previous studies have suggested that the acceptance depends on emotions toward carnivores, the cultural importance of carnivores, and livestock depredation, and that it may vary depending on the types of strategies and carnivores involved...
The striped hyena (Hyaena hyaena) is an understudied large carnivore with no known historic range map. Knowledge of the past and present extent of its easternmost distribution beyond 85° east longitude is dubious. Through a comprehensive review of historical evidence and contemporary records, we investigated striped hyena presence in Bengal, i.e.,...
Robust measures of animal densities are necessary for effective wildlife management. Leopards (Panthera pardus) and spotted hyenas (Crocuta Crocuta) are higher order predators that are data deficient across much of their East African range and in Uganda, excepting for one peer-reviewed study on hyenas, there are presently no credible population est...
The use of remote camera traps has accelerated rapidly in the field of large carnivore science since the 1990s. Members of the Hyaenidae are important components of functional ecosystems in Africa and parts of the Middle East and South Asia, and make good candidates for study using camera traps. However, camera trap studies of hyenas remain rare in...
Conservation policy and practice can sometimes run counter to their mutual aims of ensuring species survival. In Kenya, where threatened predators such as lion deplete endangered prey such as Grevy's zebra, conservation practitioners seek to ensure species success through exclusive strategies of protection, population increase and preservation. We...
How can taxonomists best resolve the challenge of curating and analyzing large phylogenomic datasets that produce incongruent but highly supported topologies? Betancur‐R et al. (2018) used a recently established hypothesis‐testing procedure on a large dataset of genes and species to study the evolutionary relationships of characiform fishes, findin...
The negative impact of anthropogenic activities on wildlife has led to protected areas being set aside to prevent human-wildlife conflict. These protected areas are often small and fenced in order to meet the needs of expanding human communities and to conserve wildlife. This creates challenges for the management of wide-ranging animals such as lar...
Presentation given to Lewa Wildlife Conservancy and Borana Conservancy research staff, local stakeholders, and colleagues on my master’s field research. Study revealed high dietary overlap between spotted hyenas and lions, with some degree of partitioning in that hyenas were consuming livestock whereas lions were not. Hyena clans had small, exclusi...
I am currently weighing the pros and cons of two methods for assessing the dietary preferences of a large carnivore, the spotted hyena. I have previously used microscopic hair root analysis (based on identification of prey hairs in faecal samples from a reference collection) to determine the dietary preferences of this species.
However, I am also considering using DNA metabarcoding to answer the same question by identifying the DNA of prey species in the hyena faecal samples. I know this method is newer and possibly more well-regarded, but it is also more expensive and complex.
Basically, is there any advantage to using metabarcoding over hair root analysis when assessing prey preference / dietary habits? Is one more accurate than the other when assessing the proportional contribution (or even just the presence) of different food sources in an animal's diet?
I have searched for papers comparing the two methods but as of yet have not seen any. If anyone has any literature that would help me with my decision that would be very helpful.
The recorded calls will later be used for playback experiments.
I currently have an excellent FOXPRO speaker system for playback experiments, but am on the market for a high-quality microphone set-up to record audio that can be converted to mp3 format.
Ideally, this will be able to be attached to my vehicle or easily held to record hyena whoops/giggles and lion roars while at kill sites.
If anyone has advice on good equipment, please get in touch.
I aim to assess how human activities have impacted the fitness, distribution, and dietary patterns of spotted hyenas in Ngorongoro Conservation Area, Tanzania. I also am collaborating with the Maasai community to understand how spotted hyenas and other large carnivores are affecting their livelihoods through interviews and camera trapping. Using this multi-disciplinary approach, I hope to better understand the drivers and scope of human-carnivore conflict in the NCA and promote coexistence strategies.
We are tracking lions and hyenas on a large wildlife conservancy in northern Kenya to find out how they share resources. Lions are blamed for killing most of the endangered species and livestock in the area, although there are many more hyena present than lions.