Envisioning the future with ‘compassionate conservation’: An ominous projection for native wildlife and biodiversity

Callen, Alex and Hayward, Matt W. and Klop-Toker, Kaya and Allen, Benjamin L. ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-1533-0163 and Ballard, Guy and Beranek, Chad T. and Broekhuis, Femke and Bugir, Cassandra K. and Clarke, Rohan H. and Clulow, John and Clulow, Simon and Daltry, Jennifer C. and Davies-Mostert, Harriet T. and Di Blanco, Yamil E. and Dixon, Victoria and Fleming, Peter J. S. and Howell, Lachlan G. and Kerley, Graham I. H. and Legge, Sarah M. and Lenga, Dean J. and Major, Tom and Montgomery, Robert A. and Moseby, Katherine and Meyer, Ninon and Parker, Dan M. and Periquet, Stephanie and Read, John and Scanlon, Robert J. and Shuttleworth, Craig and Tamessar, Cottrell T. and Taylor, William Andrew and Tuft, Katherine and Upton, Rose M. O. and Valenzuela, Marcia and Witt, Ryan R. and Wuster, Wolfgang (2020) Envisioning the future with ‘compassionate conservation’: An ominous projection for native wildlife and biodiversity. Biological Conservation, 241:108365. pp. 1-12. ISSN 0006-3207


Abstract

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.


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Item Type: Article (Commonwealth Reporting Category C)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Current - Institute for Life Sciences and the Environment (1 Aug 2018 -)
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Current - Institute for Life Sciences and the Environment (1 Aug 2018 -)
Date Deposited: 11 Jan 2021 06:31
Last Modified: 19 Jan 2021 05:09
Uncontrolled Keywords: Captive breeding; Invasive species; Translocation; Contraception; Inbreeding
Fields of Research (2008): 05 Environmental Sciences > 0502 Environmental Science and Management > 050211 Wildlife and Habitat Management
Fields of Research (2020): 41 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 4104 Environmental management > 410407 Wildlife and habitat management
Socio-Economic Objectives (2008): D Environment > 96 Environment > 9608 Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity > 960805 Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity at Regional or Larger Scales
Socio-Economic Objectives (2020): 18 ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT > 1806 Terrestrial systems and management > 180606 Terrestrial biodiversity
Identification Number or DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.biocon.2019.108365
URI: http://eprints.usq.edu.au/id/eprint/40491

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