With their often large scale movements through space and time, mobile wildlife species and ecosystem conservation are closely connected. A decade ago the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) named temperate grasslands as one of the most globally endangered ecosystems, and with the continued loss of grassland habitat to agricultural development, Canadian prairie ecosystems are no exception. However, the socioeconomic importance of agriculture in this region necessitates conservation approach that considers both people and wildlife.
Can wildlife populations adapt to a rapidly changing anthropogenic landscape? Using telemetry data from several Manitoba populations, my PhD project focuses on understanding the individual level fitness consequences of agricultural habitat use for elk, an iconic grassland wildlife species. Ultimately, I hope to provide knowledge-based tools for development of land conservation approaches that support both healthy wildlife populations an local communities.