The increasing need to use non-invasive approaches to study wild animals and to provide wildlife managers and conservationists with reliable information on wild animals triggered my enthusiasm to develop a career in wildlife conservation. Over the last four years, which included the conclusion of my bachelor’s and my master’s theses, I contributed to wildlife research via non-invasive genetic analyses on tigers and leopards in south-central India, and mountain lions and bobcats in southwestern Arizona. Currently, my research interest is in the application and improvement of methods in conservation genetics and wildlife DNA forensics to aid conservation and management of species in the cat family – Felidae. In the last 3 years of my career, and 2-and-a-half years of my studentship with the School of Natural Resources and the Environment at the University of Arizona, I have disseminated my research through several oral and poster presentations, articles and participation in regional, national and international meetings. You can view details about my current project, mentioned by the IUCN Cat Specialist Group as their Project of the Month – April 2010, at www.catsg.org
As my current dissertation objectives stand, I plan to continue genetic studies on mountain lions throughout their range in southwestern Arizona and southern California in United States, and northwestern Sonora in Mexico, to understand their movements, connectivity and food habits.
My current scientific career objectives are focused on improving and enhancing the utility of genetic techniques in strategies for wildlife conservation and management. During my PhD studentship, I plan to perform scientific research towards my career objectives at the Conservation Genetics Laboratory in School of Natural Resources and the Environment. Eventually, I plan to communicate the importance of wildlife forensic genetics to local and international wildlife management agencies as a scientifically peer-reviewed, feasible and cost-effective, approach towards monitoring of wildlife.