"Evidence for Hope in Wildlife Conservation" is Focus of Lecture at Canisius College

December 20, 2019

BUFFALO, NY – The Institute for the Study of Human-Animal Relations and the anthrozoology program at Canisius College will welcome to campus Kristen E. Lukas, PhD, director of conservation and science at Cleveland Metroparks Zoo, on Thursday, January 16.  Lukas will present a lecture titled “Helping People, Saving Gorillas: Evidence for Hope in Wildlife Conservation.”  The lecture begins at 7:00 p.m. in the Grupp Fireside Lounge, located on the second floor of the Richard E. Winter ’42 Student Center.  The event is free and open to the public.

Cleveland Metroparks Zoo

As director of conservation and science at Cleveland Metroparks Zoo, Lukas manages a large and diverse conservation program, which collaborates with staff of the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International in Rwanda, training students from the University of Rwanda in conservation science.  Additionally, Lukas is an adjunct professor of biology at Case Western Reserve University, where her research interests include environment and behavior, animal health and welfare, and conservation psychology.  Lukas is currently examining the effects that zoos, as informal education institutions, have on visitors and whether zoos inspire people to take conservation action. 

Diane Fossy

This latter area of research will be the focus of Lukas’ January 16 lecture.  She explains that while global environmental and conservation challenges seem overwhelming, evidence for hope may be as close as one’s local zoo or aquarium.  These institutions, notes Lukas, serve as metaphorical “front doors” to conservation for the public and play unique roles in the conservation landscape by increasing public awareness of and engagement with pressing conservation issues. 

Lukas is the author of 50-plus research papers in peer-reviewed journals and has delivered or collaborated on more than 125 presentations at professional conferences.  She is a member of the Africa Section of the World Conservation Union (IUCN) Species Survival Commission’s Primate Specialist Group.  Within the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), Lukas serves as chair of the Gorilla Species Survival Plan® and is chair of the AZA’s Gorilla Saving Animals from Extinction (SAFE) program, which aims to increase on-the-ground protection for Cross River gorillas and Grauer’s gorillas over the next five years.  Crain’s Cleveland Business recently recognized Lukas as a 2019 Cleveland’s Women of Note.  The award celebrates inspiring women whose dedication and achievements enrich Northeast Ohio, its institutions and its people.

The anthrozoology program at Canisius College explores human-nonhuman interactions in a variety of contexts and through the lens of environmental and conservation matters.  The master’s degree program is housed in the College of Arts & Sciences and educates under the umbrella of the Institute for the Study of Human-Animal Relations.  The institute is at the forefront of human-animal studies, engaging students and members of the community in outreach, advocacy and education on pressing issues of ethical thought as it pertains to humankind’s relationships with nature and other species. 

To learn more about the Institute for the Study of Human-Animal Relations at Canisius College or for additional information about the lecture, contact the Anthrozoology Department at 716.888.2770. 

One of 27 Jesuit universities, Canisius is the premier private university in Western New York. Canisius celebrates its sesquicentennial anniversary during the 2019-20 academic year, marking 150 years of Jesuit education and leadership in the city of Buffalo and Western New York. Visit https://www.canisius.edu/150 for more information about Canisius’ milestones and celebratory events.