Research on wildlife and wild fish

Field researchers in Norway should also read the Norwegian version of this page.

Research on wild-living animals places special demands on experimental design, since it takes place under uncontrollable environmental conditions. There are also a range of ethical problems in addition to those which apply to all animal research.

Norecopa arranged an international consensus meeting in May 2008 entitled:
Harmonisation of the Care and Use of Animals in Wildlife Research
All the presentations from the meeting, as well as a consensus document written by the participants, can be downloaded. The document describes the status and challenges related to wildlife research. At the meeting, Dr. Penny Hawkins presented an overview of guidelines for wildlife research.
A follow-up to this meeting, entitled Harmonisation of the Care and Use of Wild and Domestic Mammals and Birds in Field Research, was held at Oslo Airport on 26-27 October 2017.

Is wildlife research "second-rate science"? What can lab animal and field scientists learn from one another? A 16-minute presentation by Adrian Smith, held at the 11th World Congress on Alternatives and Animal Use, August 2021.

Norecopa's database 3R Guide contains a list of guidelines for wildlife research.
Guidance on planning experiments is available in the PREPARE guidelines.
The STRANGE guidelines may be used to identify, and mitigate, potential sampling biases in field research.
Advice on wildlife research from the NC3Rs
Guidelines on the care and use of wildlife from the CCAC
Courses for wildlife researchers

Dr. Miriam Zemanova of the University of Technology, Sydney, has created a website on 3Rs Principles in Wildlife Research. It contains examples of peer-reviewed studies that implemented non-lethal or non-invasive methods and that can be used as guidance. The site also describes the importance of wildlife research, and potential animal welfare issues. The website includes a useful graphic, summarising ways in which the three Rs can be implemented.

Other literature references


Fish in research and telemetry tagging methods
Senior Research Scientist Dr. Niels Jepsen at DTU Aqua (the National Institute of Aquatic Resources at the Technical University of Denmark) has written an article entitled Fish in research and telemetry tagging methods for Norecopa and has made available his presentation from a workshop in Dublin in 2015 entitled Capture, Handling and Tagging of Fish for Telemetry Studies. A collection of references to his publications may be found below. More references may be found in the section on marking and identification of fish. A separate section covers resources about anaesthesia and analgesia in fish.

Literature references about tagging fish

Further reading


Image from Zemanova (2020)

This page was updated on 07 October 2021

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