Andie (Miranda) Conlon – MS student in Human Dimensions of Natural Resources, CSU
Evaluating the Efficacy of Collaborative Conservation Education on Shaping Carnivore Tolerance in Tanzania
Human-carnivore conflict is among the most significant threats to African lions. Across Africa, this conflict typically involves livestock depredation and retaliatory carnivore killing by livestock owners. Because these negative carnivore experiences are shared across wide social networks, such as among friends and families, they play a tremendous role in shaping children’s tolerance of carnivores at individual, community, and landscape scales. This project addresses the question: What role can formal and informal conservation education play in shaping children’s carnivore tolerance to better inform targeted conservation interventions? Working with collaborators at the Ruaha Carnivore Project (RCP) in Tanzania, this project will evaluate the impact that RCP educational programming has on shaping carnivore tolerance in children by 1) measuring student perceptions of carnivores, 2) measuring confounding factors such as past carnivore experience among friends or family members, 3) identifying which type(s) of conservation messaging is most effective in shaping carnivore tolerance, and 4) promoting wildlife awareness and carnivore tolerance through a cross-cultural wildlife sharing project that links Ruaha and Fort Collins elementary schools. Collaborators for this project are: the Ruaha Carnivore Project, the Harris Elementary School in Fort Collins, Colorado; and the Human Dimensions of Natural Resources Department at CSU.