Coyotes, Coffee, and Carnivores: Finding human-animal coexistence in a crowded world
Join the EPN and Ohio State’s Center for Human-Animal Interactions Research and Education (CHAIRE) for a coffee and conversations with professional leaders on conservation and our coexistence with the carnivores in our communities. This EPN event, with both in-person and virtual participation opportunities, will address the coexistence adaptations of large carnivores and humans, focusing on several important topics, including the innovative strategies to achieve solutions to ecological and management problems through creative and collaborative scientific research.
Human populations are growing, urbanizing, and challenging the ecological footprints demanded by our planet’s largest mammalian carnivores, and most iconic species, such as the Iberian wolf, cougar, and red fox (pictured). There is tremendous diversity in how humans relate to, and understand, their interactions with large carnivore species. Conservation policies and culture are important indirect drivers of changes in human-carnivore relations1, including for bobcats here in Ohio2.
Across North America many large carnivores suffered greatly during historical colonization periods, though over the past several decades some species have rebounded in these evolving landscapes in interesting and unique ways. Knowingly or not, you have encountered the coyote (Canis latrans) if you reside in a suburban, urban, or rural North American community.3
As we continue to develop strategies for co-existing with our planet’s large carnivore species, an appreciation and understanding of their diversity is crucial in developing successful means of mitigating human-carnivore conflict. This program will highlight that from our backyards here in Ohio, across the U.S. Midwest, and around the world, a collaborative, community-based effort is necessary for the conservation of these iconic species.
Mr. Tom Schmid (president and CEO, Columbus Zoo and Aquarium) will provide an update on the world’s most critical carnivore conservation topics from the perspective of one of the planet’s most recognizable Zoo and Aquarium systems. Dr. José Vicente López Bao will explain how he utilizes large, mammalian carnivores (among the most controversial and challenging group of species) as study models to conserve and manage in our crowded and modern world.
Dr. Stan Gehrt (professor of wildlife ecology and extension wildlife specialist, Ohio State) will share his field research on the “ghost dogs” of Chicago, including a compilation of lessons observed from thousands of species in that community ranging from Coyote #1 (tagged near the O’Hare International Airport two decades ago) to adult female #447 whose range covered nearly all downtown Chicago to the recently studied Coyote #1376. In his most recent observations in the Columbus area, Dr. Gehrt will overview the coyote’s ability to reside in highly urbanized landscapes and how his team is measuring differences in coyote behavior across landscapes, including as they move across Waterman Farm on Ohio State’s Columbus Campus!
Human-carnivore interactions are complex, and the strategies for conservation of these species require an appreciation of the tremendous diversity of our interactions with large carnivores. This creates opportunities for innovative solutions and approaches to conservation of large carnivore species, which often involve/require collaborative contributions from impacted communities, zoological institutions, academic researchers, governmental organizations, and more.
1 Lozano et al. (2019) Human-carnivore relations: A systematic review, Biological Conservation, 237, 480-492. Read more here.
2 Slagle et al. (2019) Hunting for acceptance: Ohio’s experience with recent bobcat harvest proposals reveals a dilemma agencies will increasingly face, Human Dimensions of Wildlife, 24:3, 285-288. Read more here.
3 Gehrt (2021) Ghost Dogs and Their Unwitting Accomplices, Anthropology Now, 13:2, 41-5. Read more here.
For in-person guests
7:30 a.m. Doors open at Ohio State 4-H Center; Coffee served.
For all program attendees
8:10 a.m. Jeff Sharp, Ph.D., director, Ohio State’s School of Environment and Natural Resources, provides welcome remarks.
8:15 a.m. Madeline Winans, program coordinator, Ohio State’s Center for Human-Animal Interactions Research and Education, describes innovative strategies to achieve solutions to ecological, conservation and management problems through creative and collaborative scientific research.
8:25 a.m. Tom Schmid, president and CEO, Columbus Zoo and Aquarium, shares about the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium’s most critical conservation topics with a focus on human-animal interactions and large carnivore species.
8:40 a.m. José Vicente López Bao, Ph.D., Universidad de Oviedo-Campus de Mieres (Spain) presents coexistence adaptations of both humans and carnivores, and its consequences.
8:55 a.m. Stan Gehrt, Ph.D., professor of wildlife ecology and extension wildlife specialist, Ohio State’s School of Environment and Natural Resources, describes his field research in the Chicago and Columbus communities that demonstrate the coyote’s ability to reside in highly urbanized landscapes and how his team is measuring differences in coyote behavior across these cities and their landscapes.
9:10 a.m. Q&A for virtual and in-person audiences.
9:25 a.m. Closing Comments by Dr. Sharp.
José Vicente López Bao, Ph.D., Universidad de Oviedo-Campus de Mieres, Spain
Dr. José Vicente López-Bao’s research integrates quantitative and multidisciplinary approaches to achieve solutions to ecological, conservation and management problems through creative and collaborative scientific research. Dr. López-Bao uses mainly mammalian carnivores as study models because such species, particularly large carnivores, are among the most controversial and challenging group of species to conserve and manage in our crowded and modern world. Their conservation and management not only require a good understanding of their ecology, behavior, and evolution, but also of the human psychological, social, political, and economic processes connected to these contentious species. Thus, Dr. López-Bao is particularly interested in the integration of all these disciplines to a better understanding on the effects of anthropogenic disturbance on species, the adaptations of both humans and carnivores to the coexistence, and its consequences. Behavioral ecology, and its link with management and conservation disciplines, are important pillars in all of his research. Ultimately, Dr. López-Bao aims to generate scientific knowledge to inform managers, policy-makers and other interested stakeholders for an effective conservation of biodiversity following evidence-based conservation and adaptive management principles.
Stan Gehrt, Ph.D., professor of wildlife ecology and extension wildlife specialist, Ohio State’s School of Environment and Natural Resources
In addition to his full-time role as a professor and wildlife extension specialist at The Ohio State University, Dr. Stan Gehrt is the principal investigator of the Cook County Coyote Project, having initiated the study in 2000. As chair of the Center for Wildlife Research at the Max McGraw Wildlife Foundation, he directs a variety of research projects both at the Foundation and around the country. He is regarded as an international expert of urban wildlife and his research has been featured in numerous print, radio, and television outlets. Dr. Gehrt is the senior editor of the volume ‘Urban Carnivores’ published by Johns Hopkins University Press. His research interests focus on various aspects of mammalian ecology, especially in urban systems, and dynamics of wildlife disease.
Tom Schmid, president and CEO, Columbus Zoo and Aquarium
Tom Schmid is the President & Chief Executive Officer at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium. The Columbus Zoo, founded in 1927, is home to nearly 3,000 employees and to more than 11,000 animals representing nearly 600 species from around the globe! Mr. Schmid began his leadership role on December 6, 2021, after concluding his service as CEO of the Texas State Aquarium in Corpus Christi. At Texas State Aquarium, Mr. Schmid led his team to grow the institution to one of the largest aquariums in North America, advancing wildlife conservation work and raising nearly $100 million to support the aquarium’s mission. He had previously served as the Director of Animal Husbandry at Texas State Aquarium, promoted to Chief Operating Officer in 1998, and then became President and CEO in 1999. He began his career at SeaWorld in Orlando, Florida before arriving at Texas State Aquarium. Schmid has also served as the Director of Operations for NAUTICUS – the National Maritime Center, located in Norfolk, Virginia. Mr. Schmid grew up in South Florida and received his Bachelor of Science in biology from Stetson University and his Master of Science in Biological Sciences from the University of Central Florida.
Madeline Winans, CHAIRE Program Coordinator, The Ohio State University
Madeline Winans graduated from The Ohio State University in 2019 with a B.S. in Zoology, and she recently completed her Master’s of Science in the Department of Animal Sciences at Ohio State. Madeline’s master’s research focused on evaluating the effect of transport and relocation on the welfare of the California sea lions at Columbus Zoo and Aquarium. Throughout her education, Madeline has also gained professional experience working with zoological institutions, in areas of animal care and welfare, education, and outreach. Madeline has been involved with CHAIRE in various ways since its inception and looks forward to continuing to support CHAIRE’s mission in this new role.
In-person attendance will be limited based upon capacity and current Ohio State safety guidelines. Registration is required for all participants. Please only register for in-person attendance if you fully expect to attend. Masks are required from all event attendees at this event, regardless of one’s vaccination status, in accordance with Ohio State’s Safe and Healthy Protocols as of this date. In-person attendees will be expected to follow Ohio State protocols regarding the prevention of COVID-19 transmission. More health and safety information available on this Personal Safety Practices page. All fees will be refunded if changes in COVID-19 restrictions prevent in-person attendance.
We strive to host events that are inclusive and accessible to everyone. If you have a disability and require accommodations to fully participate in this activity, please reach out to Cecil Okotah (firstname.lastname@example.org). Requests made five business days in advance will generally allow us to provide seamless access. However, we will make every effort to meet requests made after this time frame. You will be contacted by someone from our staff to discuss your specific needs. For the virtual audience, a closed captioning option via EPN’s YouTube live stream will be available, as well as other accommodations as requested on the registration.
This program will be recorded, edited, and posted to the EPN YouTube page by February 22, 2022.