Geraldine Werhahn (Switzerland, 33 years old) is doing a Doctor of Philosophy with WildCRU at Oxford University on the Himalayan wolf, a species that is found in the high altitudes of the Himalayas and on the Tibetan Plateau. The Himalayan wolf presents an evolutionary unique and ancient wolf lineage that requires formal taxonomic description and conservation.
In 2014, Geraldine founded the Himalayan Wolves Project focussing on wolf phylogeny, trophic ecology and human-wolf conflict to inform conservation. Understanding the wolf’s ecology, with regard to its habitat and prey requirements is essential to frame conservation action. By working with local communities to develop conflict mitigation strategies with regard to traditional culture and ecosystems, Geraldine combines this ecological and phylogenetic understanding.
Geraldine does not follow a single-species conservation approach, so thanks to her team’s work the Wild Yak has been rediscovered in Nepal, and the distribution of a myriad of other species have been updated. These novel wildlife findings have led to the initiation of declaring Humla – one of the study areas where Geraldine works – as a protected area by the Nepalese government.
Geraldine will use the Future For Nature Award to continue the protection of the Himalayan wolf by increasing the understanding of carnivore conflicts across the Nepalese Himalayas, and to develop and implement suitable mitigation strategies. By combining the already collected human perspective of depredation conflict, with wolf ecology and prey availability, the understanding of the human and ecological dimension of carnivore conflict will be possible. The aspired aims are ensuring intact wild prey populations and habitat quality, optimizing livestock protection, facilitating self-financed compensation schemes and improving conservation educations. You can see a short film about her work HERE