Yajaira García Feria
- Project name: Spatial ecology and population dynamics of volcano rabbit
- Project site: Milpa Alta, Mexico City, Mexico
- EDGE species: Volcano rabbit Romerolagus diazi
- Active: 2018 - ongoing
During her Masters degree Yajaira studied habitat use of volcano rabbits and two other species of leporids in the northern part of the Sierra Nevada, Mexico, for an initiative to implement a monitoring programme for volcano rabbits across their range. Following this she has collaborated with a number of governmental institutions including the National Commission of Protected Natural Areas (CONANP), the National Commission for the Knowledge and Use of Biodiversity (CONABIO) and General Management of Zoos and Wildlife (Dirección General de Zoológicos y Vida Silvestre DGZVS) to implement monitoring programmes for volcano rabbits. She has also contributed to a number of research projects at UNAM focused on the biology and ecology of captive volcano rabbits.
Yajaira sees the EDGE Fellowship as an opportunity to expand her knowledge of ecological monitoring, statistical analysis and conservation biology, and to exchange ideas and experiences with people who are interested in the conservation of vulnerable species in different parts of the world. She hopes to use the fellowship to guide the development of a research proposal for her to continue her studies at the PhD level. Yajaira will be one of the first Nat Geo Photo Ark EDGE Fellows.
Yajaira’s project aims to gather baseline ecological data and develop a long-term community monitoring programme for volcano rabbit. Her objectives are to:
- Estimate population size based on faecal pellets count, for a locality where the state of the population is unknown.
- Use radio telemetry to identify seasonal variation in habitat selection and patterns of space use.
- Determine habitat factors related to spatial ecology and abundance.
- Collect faecal pellets for future work to determine the genetic structure of populations by DNA faecal analysis.
- Train local community members in monitoring techniques to establish a long-term monitoring programme for volcano rabbit.