The Effectiveness of Wildlife Conservation

by Jenna Mallon (’18)

Fig. 1: Conservation of wildlife and the habitats they live in is a pressing issue.

Numerous organizations, such as the World Wildlife Fund, exist in order to help protect and save our environment and the animals that live in it. As scientists gain a better understanding of our impact on the world, wildlife conservation has become a more pressing issue. Since scientists must act fast in order to save species and ensure their propagation into the future, conversation is considered a “crisis discipline.” Wildlife conservation is necessary, but the effectiveness of current strategies is unknown.

Using a Theory of Change (TOC) model that helps to describe cause and effect, Emily Stebbings and a team of researchers from Durrell Conservation Training Limited evaluated a Mauritius species recovery project. The team used two different strategies to create their TOC model. They received internal reports from the Mauritian Wildlife Foundation (MWF) and conducted interviews with staff members. Field staff, coordinators, and senior management officials were all interviewed to evaluate their comprehension of the project objectives, personal growth throughout the project, and the impact their roles had.

From the TOC, the team was able to establish guidelines for future conversation projects. These included midterm evaluations to check for progress and how staff experience plays a role in overall effectiveness. Individual conservation projects are advised to create their own TOCs in order to track their progress and ensure effectiveness.



  1. Stebbings, et al., Applying systems thinking and logic models to evaluate effectiveness in wildlife conservation. Open Journal of Leadership 5, 70-83 (2016). doi:10.4236/ojl.2016.53007.
  2. Image retrieved from:

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