Our ability to evaluate the effectiveness of conservation interventions is primarily reliant on and often limited by the available evidence. As claimed conservation success (or failure) might merely be an artefact of the quantitative approach used for evaluation, both in terms of locating and analysing data, cross-validation of results is recommended. By cross-validation we mean using two (or more) different methods for evaluation and comparing the results. An initial assessment of the effectiveness of African wild dog (Lycaon pictus) reintroductions in South Africa was re-evaluated using a systematic review approach. This cross-validation differed from the previous evaluation in two important aspects, which define the systematic review process: comprehensive data searching; and meta-analysis. The original dataset was confirmed to be complete by an exhaustive search to locate additional data. Both the initial assessment and the meta-analysis suggested that wild dog reintroductions are successful in the short-term, with high survival rates of the released animals and their offspring. The meta-analysis corroborated the importance of pre-release socialisation in promoting post-release survival at the pack level. In contrast, the initial assessment found that additional covariates affect the survival of reintroduced wild dogs at the individual level. This study emphasises the importance of cross-validating management recommendations in endangered species recovery programmes using an evidence-based approach to assess and communicate the reliability of results. (C) 2009 Elsevier GmbH. All rights reserved.