Electronic versions

  • Alex Callen
    University of Newcastle, Callaghan
  • Matt W. Hayward
    University of Newcastle, Callaghan
  • Kaya Klop-Toker
    University of Newcastle, Callaghan
  • Benjamin L. Allen
    University of Southern Queensland
  • Guy Ballard
    The University of New England
  • Chad T. Beranek
    University of Newcastle, Callaghan
  • Femke Broekhuis
    University of Oxford
  • Cassandra K. Bugir
    University of Newcastle, Callaghan
  • Rohan H. Clarke
    Monash University
  • John Clulow
    University of Newcastle, Callaghan
  • Simon Clulow
    University of Newcastle, Callaghan
  • Jennifer C. Daltry
    Fauna & Flora International, Cambridge
  • Harriet T. Davies-Mostert
    University of Pretoria
  • Yamil E. Di Blanco
    Universidad Nacional de Misiones
  • Victoria Dixon
    University of Newcastle, Callaghan
  • Peter J. S. Fleming
    University of Southern Queensland
  • Lachlan G. Howell
    University of Newcastle, Callaghan
  • Graham I. H. Kerley
    Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University, Port Elizabeth
  • Sarah M. Legge
    University of Queensland
  • Dean J. Lenga
    University of Newcastle, Callaghan
  • Tom Major
  • Robert A. Montgomery
    Michigan State University
  • Katherine Moseby
    University of New South Wales
  • Ninon Meyer
    Fondation Yaguara Panama
  • Dan M. Parker
    Rhodes University
  • Stephanie Periquet
    Ongava Research Centre, Namibia
  • John Read
    University of Adelaide
  • Robert J. Scanlon
    University of Newcastle, Callaghan
  • Craig Shuttleworth
  • Cottrell T. Tamessar
    University of Newcastle, Callaghan
  • William Andrew Taylor
  • Katherine Tuft
    Arid Recovery, Australia
  • Rose M. O. Upton
    University of Newcastle, Callaghan
  • Marcia Valenzuela
    Instituto Politecnico Nacional, La Paz
  • Ryan R. Witt
    University of Newcastle, Callaghan
  • Wolfgang Wuster
The ‘Compassionate Conservation’ movement is gaining momentum through its promotion of ‘ethical’ conservation practices based on self-proclaimed principles of ‘first-do-no-harm’ and ‘individuals matter’. We argue that the tenets of ‘Compassionate Conservation’ are ideological - that is, they are not scientifically proven to improve conservation outcomes, yet are critical of the current methods that do. In this paper we envision a future with ‘Compassionate Conservation’ and predict how this might affect global biodiversity conservation. Taken literally, ‘Compassionate Conservation’ will deny current conservation practices such as captive breeding, introduced species control, biocontrol, conservation fencing, translocation, contraception, disease control and genetic introgression. Five mainstream conservation practices are used to illustrate the far-reaching and dire consequences for global biodiversity if governed by ‘Compassionate Conservation’. We acknowledge the important role of animal welfare science in conservation practices but argue that ‘Compassionate Conservation’ aligns more closely with animal liberation principles protecting individuals over populations. Ultimately we fear that a world of ‘Compassionate Conservation’ could stymie the global conservation efforts required to meet international biodiversity targets derived from evidenced based practice, such as the Aichi targets developed by the Convention on Biological Diversity and adopted by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature and the United Nations.


  • Captive breeding, Invasive species, Translocation, Contraception, Inbreeding
Original languageEnglish
Article number108365
JournalBiological Conservation
Early online date27 Nov 2019
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2020
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