Beginning Jan. 18, 2022, the Zoo is open Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. (last admittance 2:30 p.m.). Select animal buildings remain closed. Entry passes are required for all guests, including infants. All visitors ages 2 and older are required to wear a mask in all indoor spaces at the Zoo, regardless of their vaccination status. Fully vaccinated visitors do not need to wear a mask in outdoor areas.

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Hila Shamon, Ph.D.

Landscape Ecologist
B.S., Tel Hai College; M.S., Tel Aviv University; Ph.D., Tel Aviv University

Hila Shamon is a landscape ecologist and mammalogist at Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute's Conservation Ecology Center. Shamon is focused on understanding the role of ecosystem engineers in a human-dominated landscape, and at what scales ecosystem engineers provide desired outcomes to supports ecosystem intactness. This work, in partnership with the American Prairie Reserve, is part of a restoration initiative of North American’s Great Plains.

Shamon’s study revolves around two grassland ecosystem engineer species, American bison and black-tailed prairie dogs. American Prairie Reserve began reintroducing American bison to northeastern Montana more than a decade ago. Bison were once a dominant ecological force of the North American Great Plains, up to their near extinction by European settlers in the 1800s. They are considered ecosystem engineers, supporting landscape heterogeneity through grazing, trampling and wallowing activities, which influenced the diversity and abundance of hundreds of prairie species. Shamon investigates how pasture size effects bison movement patterns and behavior, and how these patterns effect other grassland species. Shamon also examines the population dynamics and disease ecology of the black-tailed prairie dog, a nearly extinct keystone species, and tries to understand how prairie dogs influence vegetation composition and mammals’ habitat use in grasslands.
Shamon uses a multi-species, multi-trophic approach to answer local- and landscape-level questions that unveil mechanistic processes and cascading processes, combining several modeling methodologies, and collects data from the field using several remote sensing technologies, such as camera traps, audio recordings, GPS tags and aerial image processing.
Shamon works in Phillips County, Montana, during the warm months and in Bozeman, Montana, during the winter.
Recent Publications: 

Shamon, Hila, Shlomo Cain, Uri Shanas, Avi Bar-Massada, Yariv Malihi, and Idan Shapira. 2018. Spatio-Temporal Activity Patterns of Mammals in an Agro-Ecological Mosaic with Seasonal Recreation Activities. European Journal of Wildlife Research, 64 (3): 35. doi.org/10.1007/s10344-018-1196-8.

Shamon, Hila, Roi Maor, David Saltz, and Tamar Dayan. 2018. Increased Mammal Nocturnality in Agricultural Landscapes Results in Fragmentation Due to Cascading Effects. Biological Conservation, 226: 32–41. doi.org/10.1016/j.biocon.2018.07.028.

Shamon, Hila, Tamar Dayan, and David Saltz. 2017. Cattle Grazing Effects on Mountain Gazelles in Mediterranean Natural Landscapes. The Journal of Wildlife Management, 1–12. doi.org/10.1002/jwmg.21323.

Shamon, Hila, David Saltz, and Tamar Dayan. 2017. Fine-Scale Temporal and Spatial Population Fluctuations of Medium Sized Carnivores in a Mediterranean Agricultural Matrix. Landscape Ecology, 32 (6): 1243–56. doi.org/10.1007/s10980-017-0517-8.