Global large herbivore conservation and international law

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review


Large wild herbivore species are important to ecosystems and human societies, but many of them are threatened and in decline. International wildlife treaties have a role to play in arresting and reversing these declines. This paper provides a global overview and analysis of relevant legal instruments and their roles regarding the conservation of the 73 largest terrestrial herbivores, i.e., those with a body mass of ≥ 100 kg. Outcomes reveal both significant positive contributions and shortcomings of the Ramsar Wetlands Convention, the World Heritage Convention, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species, the Convention on Migratory Species and its subsidiary instruments, the Convention on Biological Diversity, and a range of regional and bilateral treaties. Maximizing the potential of these treaties, and attaining their objectives regarding the conservation and restoration of large herbivores, requires substantial increases in funding and political will. Even before such game-changing increases occur, however, it remains worthwhile to seek and use the many opportunities that exist within the current international legal framework for enhancing the conservation of the world’s largest herbivores.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3891-3914
Number of pages24
JournalBiodiversity and Conservation
Issue number14
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2019


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