International Studies & Programs

CASID Core Faculty

Robert Montgomery, Department of Fisheries and Wildlife

Bob Montgomery.pngRobert Montgomery is a wildlife ecologist in the Department of Fisheries and Wildlife. He joined Michigan State University in 2014 and is the director of the Research on the Ecology of Carnivores and their Prey (RECaP) Laboratory. While Dr. Montgomery’s research spans the globe, a core focus of RECaP is in East Africa. There, Dr. Montgomery’s work addresses two of the grand challenges facing wildlife conservation in the 21st century: 1) to develop innovative and sustainable solutions to stop the precipitous decline of wildlife and 2) to train students from underrepresented backgrounds so that the future of wildlife conservation leadership can be a more diverse one. Within that context, Dr. Montgomery conducts targeted recruitment of East African students that are passionate about wildlife conservation and develops blended student cohorts of East African and American students at Michigan State University. These diverse student groups convene around the challenge of developing conservation solutions that are not only applicable to East Africa, but can scale in application and impact to a wide array of ecosystems around the world.

One of the most pressing conservation issues in East Africa involves the decline of several species of large carnivores (lions, leopards, and hyenas). Species like these are declining for a variety of reasons, but top on the list is conflict with humans. People, maintaining agropastoral lifestyles, and carnivores primarily conflict over access to prey. Lions, leopards, and hyenas will often try to hunt people’s livestock and when that happens, people respond in typically negativistic ways. Thus, human-carnivore conflict over livestock represents an important human livelihood issue and a major conservation problem. In collaboration with the Tanzanian Partnership Program (TPP) at Michigan State University, Dr. Montgomery, along with a vibrant team of partners, is coordinating efforts to assess spatial and temporal variation in human-carnivore conflict in the Maasai Steppe of Tanzania. The Maasai Steppe is an interesting place to position this research because it is a region of the world with some of the highest recorded rates of human-carnivore conflict. Dr. Montgomery and his team aim to understand the variation in the tendency for these carnivores to kill livestock so that they can implement interventions that can benefit human well-being and the conservation of large carnivores alike.

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