Carnivore Conservation in the Twenty-first Century

Nina Fascione
Defenders of Wildlife, 1101 14th St. NW, Suite 1400, Washington DC 20005;

M.Elsbeth McPhee
Endangered Species UPDATE, University of Michigan, 430 E. University, Ann Arbor, MI 48109;
(734) 763-3243; (fax) (734)936-2195;

The dawn of this new millennium is proving to be an interesting time for carnivores. In some areas predators

seem to be rebounding after years of declining populations resulting from habitat loss and human persecution.

For example, in this volume, Bangs et al. (p. 147) discuss the remarkable recovery gray wolves (Canis lupus)

are making in the lower 48 states, and Sneed (p. 153) describes plans to restore wolves into the Grand Canyon

ecoregion. Grigione et al. (p. 129) report signs of jaguars (Panthera onca), ocelots (Leopardus pardalis),

and jaguarundis (Herpailurus yaguarondi) on both sides of the Mexico-U.S. border. Smeeton and Weagle (p.   

 167) describe successful reintroductions of the swift fox (Vulpes velox) into the great plains of North America.

In addition, new technologies have fostered improved research in both field studies and laboratory set-tings.

Improvements in radio-telemetry, remote-sensing work, geographic information systems (see Gaillard p. 107 and

 Wydeven et al. p. 110), genetics (see Farrell p. 133 and Fascione et al. p. 159), and computer modeling (see Pitt

et al. p. 103) have led to increased knowledge of the myriad factors affecting carnivore conservation. Finally, the

 rigorous application of ecological theory to conservation questions has lead to greater understanding of population

dynamics and behavior within imperiled carnivore populations (see Powell p. 98; Zuercher p. 115; Fredrickson

 and Hedrick p. 164; and Cypher et al. p. 171). Understanding issues such as genetics, natural history, habitat

 needs, and predator-prey relationships will enable scientists to manage and conserve carnivore populations well

 into the future. Unfortunately, not all carnivores are showing such positive signs of recovery (see Sorenson p. 120

 and Hazell p. 142), and all predators still face innumerable threats. Habitat loss, competition with humans for

resources and human persecution are some of the major issues with which wildlife managers must contend.

Anti-predator sentiment remains strong in some arenas as well (see Bildstein p. 124; Jackson p. 138; Berg

p. 186; Ford p. 190; Mason et al. 175; and Andelt p. 182). Continuing to expand our knowledge of carnivores

will be essential to combating these issues and finding new and innovative ways to enable humans to coexist with

healthy carnivore populations. Forums such as the Defenders of Willdife's conferences (Carnivores 2000 Denver,

CO November 2000; and Carnivores 2002 Monterey, CA November 2002), and the Endangered Species

UPDATE are vital to the continued success of carnivore conservation efforts. We thank the authors for their

contributions to this edition and their work on carnivore conservation.