The Wild Cats Conservation International Symposium included presentations
from all over the Americas including the United States, Mexico, Central and
South America. The conference was conducted mostly in Spanish. While most
of the conference included oral presentations and posters from natural
scientists researching felines in the Americas there were also sections on
the human dimensions of feline conservation. The intent of the symposium
was to bring together all the scientists working on felines in the Americas,
to be a networking tool, a place to exchange ideas and overall strengthen
conservation efforts for the future of the great wild cats in the Americas.
The major take away message from this conference, for me, was how social
science is poorly understood within this circle of conservation biologists.
In fact, I was–to my knowledge–the ONLY Sociologist who attended the
conference. It is both exciting to be in this position, but also weighing
on me heavily because so much work has to be done in order to connect over
40 years of research on human cognition and behavior to research on conflict
with felines–especially jaguars a keystone species.