Large carnivore conservation and community-based education are two of my leading passions. This interest was initiated in 2006 when I spent three weeks in Peru working with communities to implement conservation management strategies focused on predators. The experience inspired me to work to develop the skill-set needed to put my passion into practice. I have since refined my skills as an educator, researcher, and environmental compliance specialist though work with non-profits, zoos, and a consulting firm. These skills are now helping me achieve my goal of conserving imperiled carnivores, such as the cheetah.
My master’s thesis focuses on determining what type of scent, sound, and/or visual lure attracts cheetahs to traps for radio-collaring. In May 2012, I conducted a pilot study at the San Diego Zoo testing a variety of bait with cheetahs. Bait types shown to be of interest to captive cheetahs will be used in the field study. Between June and September 2012, I will set up camera-traps at bait stations throughout southern Kenya and analyze photographs to determine what bait type(s) most significantly attracts cheetahs. Results will be provided to the organization Action for Cheetahs in Kenya and used to trap and radio-collar cheetahs for conservation research.