Lauren Toivonen

Graduate Student, School of Natural Resources

Native to the southeastern region of the United States and no where else in the world, red wolves are a true American carnivore. However, the wild population currently stands at about 40 individual red wolves and all are located on one peninsula in coastal North Carolina. My research looks at finding habitat within the red wolf historic range that is suitable for additional populations to live in today. I have done this by creating a model that examines the different landscape types, human populations, and major roads of the southeastern United States, and how these would impact red wolves. Because humans are the #1 cause of mortality for red wolves, I also am interested in what people living near locations identified as suitable for red wolves think about when it comes to red wolves, and carnivores in general. Can including basic information about what people think of carnivores change what suitable habitat really is for red wolves? What are some reasons why people might think about carnivores in the way that they do? Does educational outreach have an effect on people and what they think of carnivores? These are some of the questions I am looking to answer through this research.

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