Integrating Animal Cognition and Conservation Biology
Every moment sense organs of the animals living in the natural habitat are bombarded with information. Depending up on the sensory and cognitive abilities gifted by the evolution to the species and biological significance, response of the individuals to a specific stimulus may range from simple kinesis to an action based on the complex decision making. Hence cognitive abilities of a species – perception, processing of information, learning, memory, decision making etc. – play a vital role in coping with the pressure exerted by the constantly modifying environment on it and enhancing the fitness. However cognitive abilities being the product of the selection pressured experienced during the course of evolution, novel cues such as the Human Induced Rapid Environmental Changes (HIREC) or the individuals of an exotic species, could be decoded wrongly by the cognitive apparatus of the animal leading to the expression of behaviour not relevant to the context. In many contexts, such behavioural modification could work as an evolutionary trap leading to the extermination of the individual from its environment. Additionally, evidences are available to prove that rearing animals in artificial conditions could lead to cognitive deficit and negatively impact the success of restocking and reintroduction programmes. The present workshop will introduce the recent developments happening in the field of animal cognition research and the attempts to apply the results of such studies in developing effective strategies for enhancing the success of restocking and reintroduction of endangered species, management of animal-human conflict and mitigating threat of alien invasive species.