Each year, the program offers a small number of stipends to allow some URAP apprentices to continue work on their mentors' research projects over the summer. To be eligible, students must have been working with the same mentor for at least two semesters. Mentors nominate their students. These stipends are generously supported by a number of private donors.

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Predator Control and the Valuation of Wildlife

Summer 2017

Yana Slabakov : Environmental Economics and Policy

Mentor: Justin Brashares/ESPM

This summer, I am investigating the advantages that large predators bring to their ecosystems, as well as the costs, benefits, challenges, and feasibility of a wide array of wildlife management methods. I’m focusing my research on the Hopland Research and Extension Center in Mendocino County, where sheep ranchers are deeply invested in the impacts that coyotes have on their operations. I'm exploring historical methods and attitudes toward large carnivore management to find practical solutions that can be applied to ranching operations at Hopland today. Reframing the issue from one which centers around human-wildlife conflict to one that focuses on coexistence requires an interdisciplinary approach, and I'm utilizing economics, policy, and ecology to reveal what value is being lost when wildlife is lethally controlled.

Message to Sponsor:

I'm very fortunate and excited to have the opportunity to conduct additional research with the Brashares lab, where I have been a research apprentice for several semesters. During this time, I have been monitoring wildlife presence through camera trap photos and field work, and I'm fascinated by the complex dynamics between wildlife and human-dominated landscapes. This research experience has challenged me and given me the opportunity to tailor my research efforts to my interests, to connect with stakeholders in the field, and to aid in the ongoing effort to reframe conservation conflicts and find ecologically stable solutions.