WildCRU, or Wildlife Conservation Research Unit, is part of the University of Oxford Department of Zoology. Its mission is to achieve practical solutions to conservation problems through original scientific research, training conservation scientists to conduct research, putting scientific knowledge into practice, and educating and involving the public to achieve lasting solutions.
It was founded in 1986 by Professor David W. Macdonald. Members come from more than 30 countries and many have returned to hold influential roles in conservation. WildCRU research has been used to advise policy-makers worldwide. More than 300 scientific papers and 25 reports have been published, over 100 fruitful collaborations have been fostered, and over 45 students have completed doctoral theses.
WildCRU projects use all four elements of their Conservation Quartet: research to understand the problem, education to explain it, community involvement to ensure participation and acceptance, and implementation of a solution. The approach is inter-disciplinary, linking to public health, community development and animal welfare. In a new initiative concerning ‘biodiversity and business’, WildCRU is working directly to influence policy making processes in industry.
Current project areas include saving endangered species, resolving conflict, reconciling farming and wildlife, researching fundamental ecology, and managing wildlife diseases, pests and invasive species.
Specific projects include protecting the Ethiopian Wolf, Grevy's Zebra and endemic birds in the Galapagos Islands, finding solutions to bushmeat exploitation in West Africa, community conservation education in Africa, sustainable farming, badger ecology and behavior, and the impact of American Mink on native wildlife in Britain, Belarus and Argentina.