Conservation Versus Preservation

Understanding Conservation & Preservation Objectives

Conservation Versus Preservation

There are differences between conservation and preservation that can be seen in the treatment of species. The Mexican Wolf is an example of conservation as its populations have been diminished but maintained in captivity and in regions less suitable for them to thrive. The Mexican Wolf is an example of conservation as it is being reintroduced to the wild in the hopes of balancing the ecosystems where it once lived.

The snail darter is an example of preservation as it has always been rare and endangered since its discovery in the 1970s (Britannica , 2015). The snail darter is a preservation example as it has been introduced into new habitats in order to help it flourish and survive.

Attempts to conserve the Mexican Wolf have proven successful as there are now 110 wolves living in the wild. With continued protection from hunting these wolves will likely grow into a sustainable population. The wolves are already helping to control populations of “elk, mule deer, white-tailed deer, javelina, rabbits, and other small mammals” which have not had a natural predator since the loss of the wolf (US Fish and Wildlife Services, 2015).

The snail darter has been successfully preserved by introducing it into new habitats such as Hiwassee River (Britannica , 2015). The darter remains endangered because of its rare nature but it has been discovered in other lakes throughout the US raising its populations. The darter has survived in the wild continues to grow in population (Britannica , 2015).

Measuring Conservation Success

The defining measure of conservation success has been the idea of sustainability with a particular resource or species (Gerber, DeMaster, & Roberts, 2015). Can the resource be sustained or can the species sustain its population? While this is a good measure it does not take into account the complexity of conservation efforts and the needs of the environment or species. For instance, because the buffalo have recovered does this mean that they are successfully thriving? To what extent are human factors still pressuring the existence of the species?

More factors should be considered when discussing the success of conservationism. Conservation should be measured on anthropogenic factors such as the number of human issues which interfere with the conservation effort (Gerber, DeMaster, & Roberts, 2015). For example, if a wolf is reintroduced into the wild, what factors that are human focused are impacting this reintroduction? This could be industry, agriculture, poaching, etc.


Britannica . (2015). Snail Darter. Retrieved from Britannica:

Gerber, L., DeMaster, D., & Roberts, S. (2015). Measuring the succerss in conservation. Retrieved from American Scientist:

US Fish and Wildlife Services. (2015). The Mexican Wolf Recovery Program. Retrieved from US Fish and Wildlife Services:


Vincent Triola. Fri, Jan 29, 2021. Conservation Versus Preservation Retrieved from