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Conservation and Behaviour

  1. Richard Buchholz,
  2. Patrick Yamnik,
  3. Cassan N Pulaski,
  4. Chelsea A Campbell

Published Online: 15 DEC 2008

DOI: 10.1002/9780470015902.a0021217



How to Cite

Buchholz, R., Yamnik, P., Pulaski, C. N. and Campbell, C. A. 2008. Conservation and Behaviour. eLS. .

Author Information

  1. University of Mississippi, Department of Biology, Mississippi, USA

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 15 DEC 2008


Conservation behaviour is an area of conservation biology particularly suited to investigate problems of species endangerment associated with managing animals in fragmented habitats and isolated parks. It employs a theoretical framework that examines the mechanisms, development, function and phylogeny of behavioural variation in order to develop practical tools for preventing extinction. This framework can be used to attract animals to suitable habitat, restore migratory movements, identify individual reproductive strategies affecting conservation and focus protection on species most susceptible to extinction. The future success of conservation behaviour requires that behaviourists link individual variation in behaviour to processes that determine population viability.

Key concepts

  • Animal conservation will require active management.

  • Behavioural problems must be examined from four perspectives (mechanisms, ontogeny, adaptive function, phylogeny) simultaneously.

  • Behavioural strategies of individual animals change as habitat and populations are altered, and those changes could harm population viability.

  • Animal behaviourists must participate in conservation planning to protect the future of biodiversity.


  • conservation;
  • extinction;
  • wildlife management;
  • ethology