Many key concepts in conservation biology such as ‘endangered species’ and ‘natural’ or ‘historic range’ are universalistic, nation-blind and do not implicate the existence of geopolitical borders and sovereign states. However, it is impossible to consider biodiversity conservation without any reference to sovereign states. Consequently, the units of biodiversity and their ranges transform into ... [Show full abstract] legal concepts and categories. This paper explores the area that results from this transformation of the universalist idea into national policy targets. Conservation sovereignty denotes to right of each state to design and carry out its own conservation policies. To illustrate the problematic nature of conservation sovereignty, the paper focuses on two cases where the borders and the state play the key role: (1) the global division of conservation labour and (2) assisted migration. All in all, this paper takes a critical look upon the anomalies in universalism and conservation sovereignty.