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International consensus principles for ethical wildlife control.

  • Dubois, Sara1, 2
  • Fenwick, Nicole1
  • Ryan, Erin A1
  • Baker, Liv3, 4
  • Baker, Sandra E5
  • Beausoleil, Ngaio J6
  • Carter, Scott7
  • Cartwright, Barbara8
  • Costa, Federico9
  • Draper, Chris10, 11
  • Griffin, John12
  • Grogan, Adam13
  • Howald, Gregg14
  • Jones, Bidda15, 16
  • Littin, Kate E17
  • Lombard, Amanda T18
  • Mellor, David J6
  • Ramp, Daniel4
  • Schuppli, Catherine A2
  • Fraser, David2
  • 1 British Columbia Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, 1245 East 7th Avenue, Vancouver, BC, V5T 1R1, Canada. , (Canada)
  • 2 Faculty of Land and Food Systems, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, V6T 1Z4, Canada. , (Canada)
  • 3 College of the Environment, Wesleyan University, Middletown, CT, 06457, U.S.A.
  • 4 Centre for Compassionate Conservation, School of Life Sciences, University of Technology Sydney, NSW, 2007, Australia. , (Australia)
  • 5 Wildlife Conservation Research Unit, Department of Zoology, University of Oxford, Recanati-Kaplan Centre, Tubney House, Abingdon Road, Tubney, Oxfordshire, OX13 5QL, U.K.
  • 6 Animal Welfare Science and Bioethics Centre, Institute of Veterinary Animal and Biomedical Sciences, Massey University, Private Bag 11-222, Palmerston North, 4442, New Zealand. , (New Zealand)
  • 7 Detroit Zoological Society, 8450 W 10 Mile Road, Royal Oak, MI, 48067, U.S.A.
  • 8 Canadian Federation of Humane Societies, 30 Concourse Gate, Nepean, ON, K2E 7V7, Canada. , (Canada)
  • 9 Universidade Federal da Bahia, Salvador, Bahia, Brazil. , (Brazil)
  • 10 Born Free Foundation, Broadlands Business Campus, Langhurstwood Road, Horsham, RH12 4QP, U.K.
  • 11 University of Bristol, Bristol, City of Bristol, BS8 1TH, U.K.
  • 12 Wildlife Protection Department, Humane Society of the United States, 1255 23rd St NW, Washington, D.C., 20037, U.S.A. , (United States)
  • 13 RSPCA UK Wildlife Department, Wilberforce Way, Southwater, West Sussex, RH13 9RS, U.K.
  • 14 Island Conservation, 2161 Delaware Avenue Suite A, Santa Cruz, CA, 95060, U.S.A.
  • 15 RSPCA Australia, P.O. Box 265, Deakin West, Canberra, ACT, 2600, Australia. , (Australia)
  • 16 Faculty of Veterinary Science, University of Sydney, Sydney, NSW, 2006, Australia. , (Australia)
  • 17 Regulation & Assurance Branch, Ministry for Primary Industries, P.O. Box 2526, Wellington, New Zealand. , (New Zealand)
  • 18 Department of Biological Sciences, University of Cape Town, Rondebosch, Cape Town, 7700, South Africa. , (South Africa)
Published Article
Conservation Biology
Wiley (Blackwell Publishing)
Publication Date
Aug 01, 2017
DOI: 10.1111/cobi.12896
PMID: 28092422


Human-wildlife conflicts are commonly addressed by excluding, relocating, or lethally controlling animals with the goal of preserving public health and safety, protecting property, or conserving other valued wildlife. However, declining wildlife populations, a lack of efficacy of control methods in achieving desired outcomes, and changes in how people value animals have triggered widespread acknowledgment of the need for ethical and evidence-based approaches to managing such conflicts. We explored international perspectives on and experiences with human-wildlife conflicts to develop principles for ethical wildlife control. A diverse panel of 20 experts convened at a 2-day workshop and developed the principles through a facilitated engagement process and discussion. They determined that efforts to control wildlife should begin wherever possible by altering the human practices that cause human-wildlife conflict and by developing a culture of coexistence; be justified by evidence that significant harms are being caused to people, property, livelihoods, ecosystems, and/or other animals; have measurable outcome-based objectives that are clear, achievable, monitored, and adaptive; predictably minimize animal welfare harms to the fewest number of animals; be informed by community values as well as scientific, technical, and practical information; be integrated into plans for systematic long-term management; and be based on the specifics of the situation rather than negative labels (pest, overabundant) applied to the target species. We recommend that these principles guide development of international, national, and local standards and control decisions and implementation.

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