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Article     |     Next >>   Contents Vol 39(5)

Publish or perish: why it’s important to publicise how, and if, research activities affect animals

Clive R. McMahon A D , Mark A. Hindell B and Robert G. Harcourt C

A Research Institute for the Environment and Livelihoods, Charles Darwin University, Darwin, NT 0909, Australia.
B Institute for Marine and Antarctic Research, University of Tasmania, Private Bag 129, Hobart, Tas. 7001, Australia.
C Department of Environment and Geography, Macquarie University, Sydney, NSW 2109, Australia.
D Corresponding author. Email: clive.mcmahon@cdu.edu.au
E All authors contributed equally to the development and writing of the paper.

Wildlife Research 39(5) 375-377 http://dx.doi.org/10.1071/WR12014
Submitted: 20 January 2012  Accepted: 2 March 2012   Published: 22 May 2012

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Wildlife researchers and conservation biologists are encountering growing research difficulties due to strong and effective advocacy of animal welfare concerns. However, collecting information on the basic biology of animals, which is often essential to effective conservation and management, frequently involves invasive research. The latter is unacceptable to some animal welfare advocates, even if it ultimately leads to better conservation outcomes. For effective biodiversity conservation it is imperative that conservation and wildlife researchers lucidly present the case for their research on individual animals. This requires conservation biologists and the research community in general, to present these arguments in the public domain as well as in peer-reviewed literature. Moreover, it is important to measure how these activities affect animals. Only then can we show that high quality research activities often have little or no effects on animal vital rates and performance.


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