Behavioral research is increasingly a part of species conservation, yet the debate over its relevance to conservation continues. We use New Zealand—a world leader in conservation management—as a case study to illustrate the integration of behavior and conservation. Advanced through adaptive management, conceptual behavioral research has been critical to the recovery of many threatened New Zealand species, and the percentage of published research addressing behavioral questions while being applied to conservation has grown considerably in the last 16 years. Much of this research has been incorporated directly into recovery plans for threatened species. Examples range from the cross-fostering of endangered native birds to behavioral plasticity of native fauna in the face of invasive rodents, to mating systems and potential control measures for invasive species. Our case studies not only address major themes in behavior but also provide reason for optimism about the future of the fledgling field of conservation behavior.
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Vol. 58 • No. 5