Dr Eric Ash
My area of interest is improving protection of wild tigers and other felids through research and informed conservation interventions. My experience relates primarily to population dynamics, spatial ecology, and landscape connectivity.
I obtained a bachelor’s degree in 2010 in Environmental and Resource Studies from Trent University in Canada. In 2012, I joined Freeland Foundation in Bangkok, Thailand, working with its Surviving Together program. Under this program, I led wildlife surveys in Eastern Thailand, with a particular focus on Indochinese tigers (Panthera tigris corbetti). In 2016, under a partnership between Freeland and Panthera, I led a large-scale survey on tigers to generate a population density estimate in critical tiger habitat. This research documented the first recent records of breeding of tigers in Eastern Thailand, establishing this population as potentially one of only two viable breeding populations for Indochinese tigers remaining in the world. During my time with Freeland, I also assisted with implementing a range of activities aimed at improving protected area capacity in wildlife monitoring, law enforcement, community outreach, and management.
I first joined WildCRU in 2017 as a postgraduate student with the University of Oxford’s Department of Zoology, completing my DPhil in 2021. The goal of my thesis was to assess the ecology and conservation status of tigers in the Dong Phayayen-Khao Yai Forest Complex in Eastern Thailand. Specifically, I aimed to: 1) Assess tiger presence, persistence, breeding, and population density; 2) Explore important associations with habitat, prey, and threats that influence the population; 3) Investigate long-term habitat connectivity and population viability; and (4) Conduct novel assessments on methods commonly used in ecological research. During this time, I also assisted WildCRU in regional-scale analyses of clouded leopard (Neofelis nebulosa) and Sunda clouded leopard (Neofelis diardi) habitat selection and associations.
More recently, I re-joined WildCRU as a Postdoctoral Research Assistant working in spatial ecology. Together with other members of WildCRU, I am integrating dynamic spatial modelling of ecological processes with vast biodiversity datasets generated over the course of a decade of camera-trapping in Southeast Asia. I am also building upon my previous research to generate predictions of long-term population dynamics of tigers in the region.
I am enthusiastic about tigers, other felids, and their conservation. As such, my aim is to ensure my work contributes to efforts to effectively manage, safeguard, and recover wild populations so that a future for these species may be secured.
Ash, E., Cushman, S.A., Macdonald, D.W., Redford, T., Kaszta, Ż., 2020. How Important Are Resistance, Dispersal Ability, Population Density and Mortality in Temporally Dynamic Simulations of Population Connectivity? A Case Study of Tigers in Southeast Asia. Land 9, 415. https://doi.org/10.3390/land9110415
Ash, E., Hallam, C., Chanteap, P., Kaszta, Ż., Macdonald, D.W., Rojanachinda, W., Redford, T., Harihar, A., 2020. Estimating the density of a globally important tiger (Panthera tigris) population: Using simulations to evaluate survey design in Eastern Thailand. Biological Conservation. 241, 108349. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.biocon.2019.108349
Ash, E., Kaszta, Ż., Noochdumrong, A., Redford, T., Chanteap, P., Hallam, C., Jaroensuk, B., Raksat, S., Srinoppawan, K., Macdonald, D.W., 2020. Opportunity for Thailand’s Forgotten Tigers: Assessment of Indochinese tiger Panthera tigris corbetti and prey from camera-trap surveys in Eastern Thailand. Oryx 55, 204–211. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0030605319000589
Ash, E., Kaszta, Ż., Redford, T., Noochdumrong, A., Macdonald, D.W., 2020. Environmental factors, human presence, and prey interact to explain patterns of tiger presence in Eastern Thailand. Animal Conservation. 24:268–279. https://doi.org/10.1111/acv.12631
Ash, E., Macdonald, D.W., Cushman, S.A., Noochdumrong, A., Redford, T., Kaszta, Ż., 2021. Optimization of spatial scale, but not functional shape, affects the performance of habitat suitability models: A case study of tigers (Panthera tigris) in Thailand. Landscape Ecology. 36, 455–474. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10980-020-01105-6
Macdonald, D.W., Bothwell, H.M., Kaszta, Ż., Ash, E., Bolongon, G., Burnham, D., Can, Ö.E., Campos-Arceiz, A., Channa, P., Clements, G.R., Hearn, A.J., Hedges, L., Htun, S., Kamler, J.F., Kawanishi, K., Macdonald, E.A., Mohamad, S.W., Moore, J., Naing, H., Onuma, M., Penjor, U., Rasphone, A., Mark Rayan, D., Ross, J., Singh, P., Tan, C.K.W., Wadey, J., Yadav, B.P., Cushman, S.A., 2019. Multi-scale habitat modelling identifies spatial conservation priorities for mainland clouded leopards (Neofelis nebulosa). Diversity & Distributions. 25, 1639–1654. https://doi.org/10.1111/ddi.12967
Macdonald, D.W., Chiaverini, L., Bothwell, H.M., Kaszta, Ż., Ash, E., Bolongon, G., Can, Ö.E., Campos-Arceiz, A., Channa, P., Clements, G.R., Hearn, A.J., Hedges, L., Htun, S., Kamler, J.F., Macdonald, E.A., Moore, J., Naing, H., Onuma, M., Rasphone, A., Rayan, D.M., Ross, J., Singh, P., Tan, C.K.W., Wadey, J., Yadav, B.P., Cushman, S.A., 2020. Predicting biodiversity richness in rapidly changing landscapes: climate, low human pressure or protection as salvation? Biodiversity and Conservation. 29, 4035–4057. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10531-020-02062-x
Rostro-García, S., Kamler, J.F., Ash, E., Clements, G.R., Gibson, L., Lynam, A.J., McEwing, R., Naing, H., Paglia, S., 2016. Endangered leopards: Range collapse of the Indochinese leopard (Panthera pardus delacouri) in Southeast Asia. Biological Conservation. 201, 293–300. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.biocon.2016.07.001