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Effective Conservation ScienceData Not Dogma$
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Peter Kareiva, Michelle Marvier, and Brian Silliman

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780198808978

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: December 2017

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198808978.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 06 May 2021

Rehabilitating sea otters

Rehabilitating sea otters

Feeling good versus being effective

Chapter:
(p.128) Chapter 20 Rehabilitating sea otters
Source:
Effective Conservation Science
Author(s):

James A. Estes

M. Tim Tinker

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/oso/9780198808978.003.0020

This chapter examines the complexities of assessing the merits and drawbacks of wildlife rehabilitation. Wildlife rehabilitation is often costly, and the resulting benefits differ depending on whether one’s interest is in the welfare of individual animals or conserving populations. Two examples of this dilemma include the rehabilitation of oiled sea otters following the Exxon Valdez spill in Prince William Sound, Alaska, and the rehabilitation of stranded sea otter pups in central California. In the first example, substantial financial investment resulted in little or no benefits for population conservation. In the second example, the potential for population-level benefits is context dependent: in populations near carrying capacity the conservation impacts are negligible, whereas in isolated, low-density populations rehabilitation and release can be an effective conservation tool. Wildlife rehabilitation is valued by people for various reasons, but recognizing and acknowledging the difference between individual and population welfare is an important step toward effective wildlife conservation.

Keywords:   animal welfare, oil spill, population welfare, Exxon Valdez, sea otters, wildlife rehabilitation

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