Dr. Shelley Alexandar, a professor at the University of Calgary, is one of the numerous speakers heading to Vancouver for the 3rd Annual Living With Wildlife Conference on September 20. Dr. Alexandar is best known for her field work with coyotes, a media content analysis study that shocked readers and most recently as a member of the Project Coyote Science Advisory Board. We caught up with Dr. Alexandar to ask her about the presentation she will be delivering at the Living With Wildlife Conference.
Q. What is your presentation about?
A. I plan to describe our findings about the urban coyote diet and relationship to aggressive encounters. I will also provide some context about the number and types of coyote interactions that Canadian’s have with coyotes. I also want to explore some of the other issues that face coyote conservation – coyote culls, negative attitudes to coyotes, unethical uses of coyotes in sport, the need for new research paradigms (i.e. move away from collaring and trapping) and then some examples of ways that Project Coyote are doing for coexistence.
Q. What can people expect to take away from it?
A. I think a better understanding of our role as humans in the conflict, and I hope to provoke some discussion of why we treat coyotes (and often wolves) so differently and abhorrently than any other species.
Q. Why are you supporting the LWW Conference by attending as a speaker?
A. I believe that the LWW Conference provides an opportunity to translate science to practice, improve connections across agencies, and open doors for better understanding between groups of individuals who may have historically been alienated due to conflicting viewpoints. I also believe it is my responsibility as a scientist who understands these animals to help change the way in which we manage conflict – from always managing animals to managing people – and to help people understand the facts, such that they can be less fearful of carnivores. As a member of the Science Advisory Board of Project Coyote, USA, this provides me the opportunity to link Canadians to the great work that PC is doing to advance co-existence between people and wildlife.
Q. What were your impressions of last year’s conference?
A. I was impressed by the variety of different organizations in attendance. I was excited to see all the great efforts that were going into trying to co-exist peacefully with coyotes and other carnivores. I was invigorated by the passion that so many of the non-profit organizations showed for trying to move us towards a new paradigm of co-existence.
Tickets for the conference are still available – reserve yours today!