The University of Arizona

College of Agriculture and Life Sciences

Ashwin Naidu and Dr. Melanie Culver's Conservation Research Featured in Desert Leaf Magazine, "Cat Scat Lessons."

Thursday, June 27, 2013

The research of Ashwin Naidu, SNRE PhD student, and Dr. Melanie Culver, USGS Conservation Geneticist at SNRE, was examined in a feature article in the Cataline Foothills magazine The Desert Leaf, entitled "Cat Scat Lessons." Ashwin and Melanie use scat as a nonevasive means to extract DNA from large cats such as mountain lions, as well as their prey. This helps to identify the number of cats in an area and other species that are present, information which is used to help manage and conserve species. In particular, Ashwin was able to determine the number of mountain lions on the Kofa National Wildlife Refuge was higher than previously thought, an factor which is important to the conservation of the refuge's population of bighorn sheep. Ashwin's research also determined the possibility of there being domestic sheep on the refuge, a species which can spread diseases fatal to bighorn sheep. 
Read the full article online, pages 52-55: