Conservation and the 4 Rs, which are rescue, rehabilitation, release, and research

Graham H. Pyke*, Judit K. Szabo

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


Vertebrate animals can be injured or threatened with injury through human activities, thus warranting their “rescue.” Details of wildlife rescue, rehabilitation, release, and associated research (our 4 Rs) are often recorded in large databases, resulting in a wealth of available information. This information has huge research potential and can contribute to understanding of animal biology, anthropogenic impacts on wildlife, and species conservation. However, such databases have been little used, few studies have evaluated factors influencing success of rehabilitation and/or release, recommended actions to conserve threatened species have rarely arisen, and direct benefits for species conservation are yet to be demonstrated. We therefore recommend that additional research be based on data from rescue, rehabilitation, and release of animals that is broader in scope than previous research and would have community support.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)50-59
Number of pages10
JournalConservation Biology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2018


  • citizen science
  • human impacts
  • vertebrate animals
  • wildlife management
  • wildlife rescue

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