ICPC was formed to develop new approaches for dolphin and porpoise conservation, after the 2018 ESOCC Workshop in Nuremberg, Germany

At the 2018 Workshop on Ex Situ Options for Cetacean Conservation, biologists, veterinarians and species experts examined trade-offs and discussed lessons learned from recent attempts to save critically endangered small cetaceans using ex situ approaches.


Discussions at the workshop that led to the conclusions and recommendations in the workshop report covered a range of issues, including the need to better inform in situ research, wildlife management, and advocacy communities about the full range of ex situ options available, as many people confuse all such efforts with ‘captive breeding’.


In practice, the range of ex situ approaches includes actions such as safeguarding animals in protected environments, for example in semi-natural reserves and netted or fenced enclosures, as well as the recovery, rehabilitation, and release of stranded, bycaught or otherwise incapacitated individuals. The practice of ex situ management also applies to other actions, such as rescuing animals from imminent threats such as a disease outbreak or a climate catastrophe, drought that dries up river channels leaving stranded animals or fragmented groups, or a hurricane that causes animals to be stranded in unsuitable habitats.



Download the full Report of the 2018 “Ex Situ Options for Cetacean Conservation” workshop (pdf)

Download the Workshop Report Executive Summary (Chinese, English, French, German, Japanese, Portuguese, Spanish) (pdf)

CPSG and the One Plan approach

The holistic framework for species conservation planning, known as the One Plan approach”, was developed by the IUCN Species Survival Commission’s Conservation Planning Specialist Group (CPSG). CPSG’s mission is to save threatened species by increasing the effectiveness of conservation efforts worldwide. The group has been using scientifically sound, collaborative processes that bring together people with diverse perspectives and knowledge to catalyze positive conservation change for over 40 years.

CPSG is ICPC’s partner, guide, and inspiration!


The One Plan approach is also known as “integrated conservation planning”, and features direct involvement of as many stakeholders as possible – fishers, farmers, local community leaders, conservation scientists, relevant NGO representatives, government wildlife managers, and other experts with relevant expertise, such as veterinarians – combined with science-based decision making to create a species or population conservation action plan (Byers et al. 2013).

Integrated conservation planning takes advantage of a wide variety of backgrounds and expertise, with stakeholders and conservation scientists working together to consider critically needed conservation measures. The range of potential conservation measures considered can include both in situ and ex situ measures. The resulting action plan is considered an integrated conservation plan, even if after careful consideration of all available resources, no ex situ conservation measures are determined to be justified or necessary.

CPSG’s Guiding Principles

Well-designed and executed species conservation planning that adheres to CPSG’s seven core principles can improve existing efforts and stimulate greater ambition, collaboration and resourcing. Underpinning this philosophy is a commitment to the One Plan approach: the collaborative development of management strategies and conservation actions by all responsible parties to produce one comprehensive conservation plan for the species. The result is an integrated conservation plan that mobilizes the full suite of skills and resources available to species in trouble, giving them a better chance at a future in the wild.

• Promote inclusive participation

• Use sound science

• Ensure good design and neutral facilitation

• Reach decisions through consensus

• Generate and share products quickly

• Adapt to changing circumstances

IUCN SSC’s  Ex situ guidelines

The IUCN Species Survival Commission published the “Guidelines on the Use of Ex situ Management for Species Conservation” (IUCN 2014), developed by CPSG members working with representatives from all SSC Subcommittees, which provides guidance on if, when, and how to employ ex situ measures in a species conservation plan, the precise role(s) that the ex situ measures could play, and how to thoroughly integrate those activities into the overall conservation plan for the species. This integration can optimize environmental stewardship to decrease the risk of extinction. Such measures must be evaluated on a case-by-case basis, including a risk-averse cost/benefit analysis, transparency, and participation of a diverse set of stakeholders.

The Reintroduction and Invasive Species Specialist Group’s Translocation Guidelines

Conservation translocation is the deliberate movement of organisms from one site for release in another. It must be intended to yield a measurable conservation benefit at the levels of a population, species or ecosystem, and not only provide benefit to translocated individuals. Conservation translocations consist of (i) reinforcement and reintroduction within a species’ indigenous range, and (ii) conservation introductions, comprising assisted colonisation and ecological replacement, outside indigenous range. Translocation is an effective conservation tool but its use either on its own or in conjunction with other conservation solutions needs rigorous justification. Feasibility assessment should include a balance of the conservation benefits against the costs and risks of both the translocation and alternative conservation actions. The Guidelines For Reintroductions and Other Conservation Translocations are designed to be applicable to the full spectrum of conservation translocations.

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