Reflecting on the role of human-felid conflict and local use in big cat trade

Melissa Arias
1 minute read


Melissa Arias
Whether it is through habitat loss, hunting, or poaching for the illegal wildlife trade, wild animals across the world are being decimated to the point of ‘biological annihilation’. While most people are still unaware or indifferent to the consequences of defaunation, we are starting to see its adverse impacts over our environment and the ecosystem services we rely upon, not to mention the loss of wonder from the world. I am deeply moved by this issue, and through my work I hope to bring wildlife science closer to people’s realities and to policy, so that one day we may coexist harmoniously with wildlife.

Throughout my career, I have aimed to achieve this goal by studying the social and natural sciences together, and by working with governments and communities just as much as within research labs. I have engaged in a wide range of projects related to: wildlife trafficking, endangered species’ ecology, landscape connectivity, protected area management and governance, deforestation and restoration, ecotourism, and climate change adaptation. These experiences have brought me closer to endangered fauna and wild places that are in urgent need of our protection, and that inspire me daily to continue fighting for this cause.