Conservation biologist Krithi K. Karanth of Bangalore, India, is the recipient of the 10,000th National Geographic grant. Dr. Karanth saw her first wild tigers at the age of 2 at the side of her father, wildlife biologist and conservationist Dr. Ullas Karanth. Krithi Karanth works on human dimensions of conservation, such as human-wildlife conflicts, land use change and people-park relationships. With the National Geographic grant, she will assess human-wildlife conflicts in five parks of India’s Western Ghats. The project will identify and map risks and consequences for local people and the implications for conflict-prone wildlife species such as elephants, wild pigs, leopards and tigers. Field methods will include thousands of household surveys, interviews and mapping exercises. India’s rich wildlife has been severely reduced over the past century and continues to be threatened by habitat destruction, prey depletion, poaching and the global wildlife trade. “The declines of species are so dramatic, widespread and so recent,” Karanth said. “I wish I could have seen what the country was like in the 1800s with all this wildlife. In many parts of India there is human tolerance for some species, and this is why they still persist despite rapid changes in land use and high densities of people. This ‘cultural’ tolerance must be harnessed.”
See the full press release on the National Geographic Press Room.