Vidya Athreya, Research Associate with Centre for Wildlife Studies and WCS – India has been selected for the 2012 TN Khoshoo Memorial Award. Athreya gets the award for addressing the leopard-human conflict in dense human dominated landscapes through scientific research, and through involving the Forest Department as well as local communities.
A brief profile of the winner: Vidya Athreya is interested in how wild animals live in human use landscapes and the adaptation by both, people and animals to each other’s presence. Her work focuses on wildlife outside Protected Areas, especially with the conflict-causing species, the leopard. Her research aims at understanding the drivers of conflict as well as the ecology of leopards when they live among humans. She has worked extensively with the Maharashtra Forest Department to decrease conflict by using knowledge-based management interventions, and contributed to the national guidelines on human-leopard conflict published by the MOEF in 2011. Her website, http://www.projectwaghoba.in/ outlines her work on density of leopards, their prey, the losses farmers face due to leopards and their attitudes towards the species.
Vidya did her Masters in Ecology from University of Pondicherry as well as from the University of Iowa. She is a member of the IUCN cat specialist group.