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Niall McCann

Niall McCann completed his PhD with financial and field support from the Operation Wallacea Honduras forest programme as a part of a CASE BBSRC studentship. His thesis is entitled “Habitat fragmentation and dispersal in Baird’s tapir.” This project will examine the effects of forest fragmentation on the distribution, population structure and viability of Baird’s tapir in Honduras. Understanding the impact of fragmentation is key to managing this and other species in the region. This study will use patch occupancy analysis based on tracks and signs and DNA profiling of faecal samples to assess tapir populations in a range of forest protected areas of different sizes and degrees of isolation. Habitat surveys and spatial analysis using GIS will identify the factors affecting occupancy. These sources of information will be combined to model the impacts of increases in fragmentation and connectivity on tapir populations in Honduras and throughout Central America, providing crucial information for management authorities, with whom Operation Wallacea work closely. Baird’s tapir is Central America’s largest mammal and is listed as Endangered by the IUCN. It is hoped that this study will provide a management template that can be used in the conservation of other endangered large mammals.

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