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Based out of Washington State University in Pullman, WA, Dr. Thornton is a former Post-Doctoral Fellow with Panthera’s Jaguar Program. In his current position as a faculty member at WSU, Dr. Thornton continues to work closely with Panthera staff on the implementation of the Jaguar Corridor through scientific research, outreach, and fundraising activities. Specifically, Dr. Thornton’s research with Panthera involves the standardization and validation of interview-based data on jaguar and prey distribution in habitat corridors, ecological modeling of the umbrella value of jaguars, and assessment of jaguar-human conflict programs. These projects will be used to refine Panthera’s approaches to studying jaguars in corridors, and lead to a better understanding of how best to conserve landscape connectivity for the jaguar.
Prior to joining Panthera, Dr. Thornton earned his Master’s and Doctoral degrees in Wildlife Ecology and Conservation from the University of Florida, and served as a Post-Doctoral Fellow at Southwestern and Trent Universities. Dr. Thornton has conducted field studies of small and large carnivores in the United States and Central America, utilizing a variety of techniques, such as camera-trapping, radio-telemetry, and dietary analysis. To date, Dr. Thornton’s research has focused on understanding animal-landscape interactions, and specifically, the influence of human-caused alterations of landscapes on carnivore distribution and abundance. This has led him to study a diverse suite of issues, including the impacts of habitat loss and fragmentation on jaguars, pumas, and other neo-tropical carnivores in Guatemala and Argentina, the impact of climate change on bobcat and lynx distribution patterns throughout North America, and the response of bobcats to military activities in the southern United States.
Today, Dr. Thornton serves on several graduate committees at Trent University and Washington State University, and is the author of numerous scientific publications.