Conservation: From Observation to Action – Part 1: The Basics of Conservation

In this series research assistant S. Capitain introduces the topic of wildlife conservation and outlines the steps neccessary for conservation efforts to move from observation to action.

As the Marine Mammal Research Association, DMAD’s focus lies on the fate of marine wildlife both in the present and in the future. Because of this, one of our primary task is to study the changes of population abundance; report events such as strandings; and  monitor the health of the marine environment. Unfortunately, with developed countries and societies striving for exponential growth in economy and territory, motivation to protect marine mammals at a governmental level is low, and the outlook for the future of these animals is bleak.
Because of this, it is important to always keep the secondary element of our work at the forefront of our mind, the one all our research work is targeted on: the conservation of species and the marine environment. 
Wildlife conservation is defined as the practice of protecting wild species and their habitat in order to prevent them from going extinct. Current populations and habitats need to be preserved so species can prevail against further human impact. 
Conservation work comes in many different forms and sizes. It can range from small scale conservation efforts, such as increasing structural complexity in local parks as a refuge for urban-avoiding birds and mammals, all the way up to international institutions such as the International Union for Conservation of Nature and inter-country agreements. 
Such efforts cannot be based on the actions of dedicated NGOs alone. Conservation is a process that needs to be carried out by several groups of people and relies on wide-spread engagement. Its stages can be loosely defined as follows: 
  1. Research
  2. Planning
  3. Implementation
  4. Management
While each element works towards the common goal of successful species conservation, each stage strives to build the basis for the next. Tasks vary throughout the process, with groups reappearing at different stages to take the lead or supplement each other. The actual procedure, however, depends heavily on the subject and situation at hand, leaving room for diverse approaches and unique solutions.
In order to provide you with a basic understanding of conservation work and examples of success stories, we will take you along on a journey from observation to action. Based on successful conservation efforts from around the world, we will illustrate the intrinsic components of each stage, followed by an insight of DMAD’s involvement in each step. 
Join us in this conservation series on an educational trip from observation to action, through more positive reports and towards a hopeful future in the fight of preserving marine mammals and their environment. 
1) The national human education society (2019). Wildlife conservation. Online access: (last access 28.09.2019)
2) Hodgkison, S., Hero, J.-M., & Warnken, J. (2007). The efficacy of small-scale conservation efforts, as assessed on Australian golf courses. Biological Conservation, 135(4), 576-586