Background/Question/Methods What is participatory mapping and when is it a useful and appropriate tool for addressing inequities in ecology and conservation biology? I will answer these questions through an overview of the importance of participatory mapping, the main types and platforms for participatory mapping, and why, how, and in what contexts to get started with using this tool. To demonstrate the use of this tool for gaining a more holistic and socially just understanding of carnivore ecology and human-carnivore conflict, we integrated participatory mapping with ecological methods in Nakuru County, Kenya.
Results/Conclusions Through the case studies in Kenya, we discovered that people’s perceptions, values, and experiences can provide important insight into ecological processes and human-carnivore interactions. We learned that personal identity and experience, such as livelihood, gender, education, and types of exposure to wildlife, can alter potential interactions with wildlife and views on conservation. We also discovered that integrating ecological methods with participatory mapping can both contextualize and strengthen community-informed conservation. We can use this research as a starting point to dive into the ethics of participatory mapping, to understand our own positionality in research, and to discuss how people may avoid using this tool poorly and harmfully.