The goal of NRCC Research Associate Carlos López González’s work is to understand the ecology of a number of carnivores – the Mexican wolf, jaguar, bobcat, and puma, to name a few – and reduce carnivore mortalities. As many of these species live in agricultural landscapes or near settled areas, human-wildlife conflicts can be frequent. Carlos and his team use an interdisciplinary approach to conservation that includes monitoring wild populations, defining and developing areas of protected habitat, and building relationships with communities. Carlos’s projects give local ranchers an active voice in the conservation process, ensuring that these threatened species have a chance at long-term survival.
In particular, Carlos’s work through NRCC has focused on:
-Mexican wolf reintroduction and recovery. Carlos and his team have successfully reintroduced Mexican wolves to the wild in Northern Mexico. After 3 successful litters, the population currently stands around 25 individuals. In addition to monitoring the population, the team aims to reduce wildlife-livestock conflict by sharing information regarding predator deterrence techniques. They also help implement low cost habitat improvement projects to increase livestock productivity.
-Puma. Are puma populations in Mexico increasing? Stable? Declining? Camera trapping and scat analysis across four different ecoregions in Mexico will help establish baseline data to help answer these questions.
-Bobcat. What are the effects of urbanization and habitat fragmentation on bobcat? Habitat assessment, camera trapping, and scat analysis will help Carlos and his team identify priority areas for conservation in the “Bajio” region of Mexico.
-Jaguar. Recent sightings of jaguars in Arizona have revived the myth of the species’ persistence in the United States. The nearest population is currently located about 135 miles to the south of the international border in Sonora. Carlos continues to serve as the co-leader of the international Jaguar Recovery Team.