The Large Carnivore Conservation Lab in the Wildlife Program of the School of the Environment (SOE) at Washington State University (WSU) is an academic research unit that conducts field research on the ecology of large carnivores and their prey.
The lab is renowned in the carnivore research and management community for conducting controversial, cutting edge research and management programs. Our research on effects of hunting male carnivores was listed among the top 15 biggest and best ideas ever produced at Washington State University by Washington State Magazine in 2010. The Director was ranked among top 100 researchers at WSU by Office of Grant and Research Development (2010). Total grant awards = $4,978,256.
Our mission is to research and help maintain viable, large carnivore populations and predator – prey communities in the Pacific North West (and wordwide). We specialize on sensitive, threatened, and endangered large mammals and the ecosystems in which they reside. Some typical species that we study include cougars, wolves, lynx, grizzly bears, European brown bears, black bears, and their prey (mule deer, white-tailed deer, elk, mountain caribou, and snowshoe hares).
We are a non-profit wildlife research organization that prides itself on rigorous, scientifically based conservation biology. All of our research is designed for publication in peer-reviewed journals (see completed projects). Our research is strongly quantitative – focusing on effects of anthropogenic disturbance (hunting, forestry, etc) on predator and prey population growth & persistence. Our research integrates theoretical and applied population ecology and includes behavioral, habitat, population, and community ecology.
The director of the Lab is Dr. Robert Wielgus – Associate Professor of Wildlife Ecology at WSU. The Assistant Director is Dr. Ben Maletzke – Adjunct Professor of Wildlife Ecology at WSU and Carnivore Biologist for WA Dept. of Fish & Wildlife (WDFW). Grad students and agency (e.g.WDFW, USFW, USFS) biologists comprise the other researchers in the lab.