Carnivore Conservation Ecology

Mammalian carnivore assemblages in mixed landscapes (composed of forests, agriculture land, human settlements, and even urban centres) face a wide range of threats from agricultural or urban intensification in human-dominated areas, forest degradation, hunting, and overgrazing of livestock (in forest areas). Species also differ widely in their ability to persist across these different gradients, a topic on which we only have a poor understanding, much less the mechanisms enabling (or preventing) such persistence.  

Strip-necked Mongoose
The Carnivore Conservation Ecology (CCE) programme aims to address this gap through applied research, which will not only focus on identifying species of concern, but also on identifying and understanding the factors affecting these species (including the mechanistic pathways) so that conservation and management action is better informed by science. By engaging with partners (local and international), we work on:  

  • bridging the gap between scientific recommendation and conservation practice 
  • building capacity among researchers in civil society organisations, and across different levels of the government, to conduct rigorous research  
  • monitoring of species and ecosystems, to maximise the final conservation impact

WCS-India researchers conducting preparatory work for line transect survey 

CCE is the oldest programme within WCS-India, with its roots going back to the long-term, large-scale tiger and prey population monitoring conducted in the Western Ghats, among other parts of India, since the early 1990s. These studies included the development of methodologies that are now used by researchers and governments in India and across the world. Although we focus on mammalian carnivores, our work is not taxon-limited, often including several species of plants, birds (especially our collaborative work), herbivores, and small and large carnivores. 



Dr Devcharan Jathanna

Dr. Devcharan Jathanna, known as Dev to his colleagues, has been integral to WCS-India since 1998, focusing on the ecology of large carnivores and their prey. He oversees field research and data processing, playing a key role in study design, data analysis, and publication-related activities. Dev provides technical support to various research programs, facilitates collaborations with national and international institutions, and assists in fundraising efforts. With an MSc in Wildlife Science from the Wildlife Institute of India and a Ph.D. from Manipal University, his expertise lies in small carnivore conservation in the Western Ghats, employing diverse methodologies including distance sampling and capture-recapture modeling. Dev is also actively involved in teaching and training initiatives, guiding students at the WCS-NCBS MSc Programme and conducting workshops across Asia since 2006.


Kiran Yadav

He has been with WCS-India since 2007. He works as the Research Manager and carries out research-related activities, including mapping and geographical information systems (GIS) work, overseeing and coordinating the critical processing and validation of field data.


Santhosh M N 

He has been with WCS-India since 2007. He works as a Research Officer. He is involved in Tiger and prey monitoring activities in field sites, and processing the field data.


Shivakumar M D

He has been with WCS-India since 2012. He works as a Research Officer and is involved in tiger and prey monitoring.


Somashekar N B

He works as a Senior Research Officer and is involved in tiger and prey monitoring.


Srikanth Rao

He has been with WCS-India since 2011. He is currently working as the Senior Research Officer and involved in Tiger and prey monitoring. He performs research-related activities in field sites, and processing, validation of field data.



Recent Publications

  • Duangchantrasiri, S., Sornsa, M., Jathanna, D., Jornburom, P., Pattanavibool, A., Simcharoen, S., Kanishthajata, P., Suebsen, P., Klanprasert, S., Kumar, N. S., Pandey, C. K., & Karanth, K. U. (2024). Rigorous assessment of a unique tiger recovery in Southeast Asia based on photographic capture-recapture modeling of population dynamics. Global Ecology and Conservation, e03016. Link

  • Das, A. A., Ratnam, J., & Jathanna, D. (2023). Patterns and consequences of invasion of tropical montane forests by Cestrum aurantiacum Lindl. in the Western Ghats. Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution11Link

  • Surve, N. S., Sathyakumar, S., Sankar, K., Jathanna, D., Gupta, V., & Athreya, V. (2022). Leopards in the City: The tale of Sanjay Gandhi National Park and Tungareshwar Wildlife Sanctuary, two protected areas in and adjacent to Mumbai, India. Frontiers in Conservation Science3Link


Cover illustration: Aditi Rajan | Photo credits: Shashank Dalvi






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