Invited Host and Speaker Abstracts
Thomas Abeli(1), Sarah Dalrymple(1), Sandrine Godefroid(1), Andrea Mondoni(1), Jonas V. Muller(1), Simone Orsenigo(1), Graziano Rossi(1)
1. Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of Pavia, Pavia, Italy
The challenge of plant de-extinction: an overview
Conservation Biology is moving towards very complex actions such as de-extinction, made possible thanks to technological advances in many fields of biology. With respect to plants, the recent growth of a date palm from seeds found in a Roman archeological site in Israel and dated back to the first century BC, suggest that genotypes lost long ago can be recovered or "resurrected". Phoenix dactylifera L. exceeded the previous record of a viable seed of Canna compacta Roscoe which had been dated as being 550 years old. The case of Silene stenophylla Ledeb. individuals resurrected from plant tissues preserved in the Siberian permafrost and dating to 30,000 years ago is even more interesting and presents tangible evidence that the resurrection of extinct plant species might be possible. However, to date the issues related to ex situ source material such as herbaria, seed banks and botanical gardens have allowed the successful recovery of very few species extinct in the wild. A worldwide overview of 17 plant species formerly extinct in the wild and reintroduced highlights the key role of ex situ collection in preserving threatened species. On the other hand, it suggests that paucity of material, low genetic variation, directional selection and low seed viability will be the major challenges to plant de-extinction, that will rarely become common conservation actions.
1. Massey University
Predicting the fates of reintroduced populations
All translocations programmes involving predicting the fates of populations, as these predictions as essential for making decisions about whether or not to translocate and then for making decisions about ongoing management. All such predictions require models, but there is great variation in how clearly models are articulated, in the sophistication of the analyses used, and the data available. Models can be parameterised by expert opinion, post-release data, pre-release data from other populations, or a mix of these. I briefly review the modelling approaches that have been used over the last 25 years to predict fates of reintroduced populations, and highlight some key recent developments. I particularly emphasise the need to: 1) clearly articulate models used, regardless of the data available; 2) use reliable methods for eliciting expert opinion; 3) acknowledge and quantify uncertainty; 4) integrate pre-release and post-release inferences; 5) integrate multiple types of data if available to make the best possible inferences; and 6) tailor modelling and monitoring to the decisions that need to be made. Models formed at the start of programmes can potentially be used to predict the value of monitoring data for future decision-making, and this is likely to be a key area for future research.
John Bender(1), Evan Rehm(2), Julie Savidge(4), Evan Fricke(3), Haldre Rogers(3)
1. Lincoln Park Zoo
2. University of California-Santa Barbara
3. Iowa State University
4. Colorado State University
Determining seed dispersal services by avian frugivores to guide rewilding efforts
Rewilding to restore ecological function is gaining attention as a conservation tool. Guam is a prime candidate for rewilding given the invasion of Brown Treesnakes (BTS) and subsequent extirpation of almost all native avian species has severely altered ecosystem structure and function. The loss of avian frugivores resulted in major disruptions to the seed dispersal network, leading to altered forest dynamics as the majority of tree species rely on birds for seed dispersal. Prior to BTS introduction there were four main frugivorous birds native to Guam: Bridled White-eye, Micronesian Starling, Mariana Fruit-dove, and White-throated Ground-dove. We sought to evaluate the effectiveness of each frugivore in order to prioritize restoration efforts.
BTS have yet to reach the nearby island of Saipan, leaving the avian community relatively intact. To assess the diet of all avian frugivores, we collected fecal samples from wild-caught birds and fed seeds to captive birds. We paired movement patterns from radio telemetry with gut passage times (GPT) to build species-specific dispersal kernels and compare dispersal distances between the frugivore species.
Fecal samples revealed that Mariana Fruit-doves, Micronesian Starlings and Golden White-eyes account for the majority of avian interactions with plant species (28 of 33 interactions).
In summary, two species formally found on Guam are effective seed dispersers on Saipan, with starlings dispersing seeds over 3 times further away from the source tree than fruit-doves. Two additional frugivores likely disperse few seeds because they act as seed predators or have morphological restrictions to seed ingestion.
1. Nottingham Trent University
Utilising individual personality differences to develop reintroduction strategies
Integrating consideration of animal personality into conservation management may increase the likelihood of survival at the individual level, thus ultimately assisting population level goals. Findings from personality studies within species management and reintroduction programmes illustrate the impact of personality on survival, dispersal, and reproduction. Post-release survival and movements of reintroduced captive-bred swift fox (Vulpes velox) were shown to relate to individual boldness levels, with mortality and increased movement correlated to high boldness. Captive California Channel Island fox (Urocyon littoralis catalinae), released on Catalina Island with no predators, demonstrated higher boldness as positively associated with earlier pairing of mates and higher reproduction. Boldness influenced survival, dispersal and reproduction of free-living San Joaquin kit fox (Vulpes macrotis mutica) in two habitats with differing selection pressures, with a trade-off effect between boldness and survival or reproduction observed. These findings suggest that behavioural diversity in release groups would provide greater likelihood of success. To assess the effect of personality-based group composition on post-release survival and site retention, experimental release groups of wood mice (Apodemus sylvaticus) of differing personality types (All Bold, All Shy and Mixed) were created in a simulated reintroduction programme. The behaviourally diverse 'Mixed' group demonstrated the highest levels of survival and site retention. Based on these findings, it is recommended that consideration of personality composition should be incorporated into reintroduction planning, to allow strategies to be tailored at the habitat or individual level.
Stefano Canessa(1), Fabrizio Oneto(2), Dario Ottonello(2), Giacomo Rosa(2), Sebastiano Salvidio(2)
1. Ghent University, Belgium
2. Università di Genova, Italy
Simple adaptive management for moving little toads
Adaptive management is both a very valuable tool for conservation and one of its greatest clichés. One of the most common misconceptions is that formal adaptive management requires large-scale, long-term programs with considerable dedicated resources. Here, we present a clear example of why this is a false belief, and adaptive management is easy to scale and implement. We faced a decision problem when planning the reintroduction of endangered yellow-bellied toads Bombina variegata in northern Italy. We needed to choose how to produce animals for release: full captive breeding (small-scale due to insufficient funding), wild-wild translocation of eggs (cheap but risky), or headstarting wild-harvested eggs and releasing juveniles (a potential compromise)? In the first year, we actively compared egg translocation and headstarting, targeting monitoring to the survival of released individuals under the two methods and updating our estimates. Based on this additional knowledge, in the second year we adjusted our decisions and switched to a passive strategy: we put all our resources into headstarting and continued monitoring to verify that outcomes confirmed this was the best method. The project is now in its third year and survival of released animals continues to improve. We achieved success with grassroots-level resources, showing that adaptive management is not the reserved domain of large, complex programs with state-of-the-art technical skills and big budgets. Small reintroduction projects can benefit greatly from being managed adaptively: the key is to truly understand some key principles, to have a desire to act rationally and to do some hard thinking.
1. Griffith University, Australia
Overview of challenges and opportunities for future conservation translocations
The future looks bleak for threatened species; there are too many of them coupled with not enough funding for conservation, and the situation is only expected to worsen. Conservation translocations have the potential to be among the most efficient tools for preventing species extinction. However, despite being widely used across many taxa, there are significant challenges to their success. Stakeholders and their decisions at the local, national, and international level can influence whether a translocation succeeds at establishing free-ranging populations. I will present an overview of the challenges faced by conservation translocation at those levels, through environmental, social, and technical lenses. I will then address how we could use established knowledge and methods from other disciplines to find solutions to these problems (e.g. decision science, economics, and engineering). The key to future success of conservation translocations may be thinking outside the box today to anticipate tomorrow's challenges.
Tara Chestnut(1), Jason Ransom(1), Dave Werntz(1), Jeff Lewis(1), Hannah Anderson(1), Kristy Palmantier(2), Hanford McCloud(2), Mark Nuetzmann(2), Bill Iyall(2)
1. North Cascades National Park Service Complex, Conservation Northwest, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife
2. BC Ministry of Forest, Lands and Natural Resources Operations, Nisqually Indian Tribe, Confederated Tribes and Bands of the Yakama Nation, Cowlitz Indian Tribe
Cultural competence in conservation biology: a case study by the Washington Cascades Fisher Restoration Team
Conservation biology is an interdisciplinary field of study focused on the protection of biodiversity, which includes species, their habitats, and ecosystems. Each discipline brings diverse interests and values that are considered during the decision-making process. Policies such as the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and Canadian Environmental Assessment Act (CEAA) are in place to ensure federal agencies assess the environmental effects of a proposed action prior to decision making, including human health, economic, and social effects. Additionally, consultations with co-managers ensure an opportunity for Tribal and First Nations input on proposed actions and decision-making. These policies and consultations have direct implications to conservation projects which may alter project implementation based the outcome of interdisciplinary evaluations. Using a model of cultural competence that extends beyond established policies and consultations can facilitate more effective collaborations between disciplines and co-managers, which can provide opportunities for new insights, and result in increased trust and long-term conservation successes. The Washington Cascades Fisher Restoration Team presents an example of cultural competence in practice that was implemented during fisher translocations from central British Columbia and release events in the southern Washington Cascades.
1. U.S. Geological Survey, Washington Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit, School of Environmental and Forest Sciences (SEFS) & School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences (SAFS), University of Washington
Reintroductions and uncertainty: avoiding paralysis
Our satisfaction with the outcomes of conservation efforts is strongly influenced by the quality of the decision-making processes we undertake. That is, good decisions lead to better outcomes, on average. The complexity of conservation decisions, and particularly the decisions required in management of reintroductions, means that informal approaches to decision-making require decision makers to take substantial cognitive shortcuts to process all the relevant information. Formally structuring our conservation decisions is the better approach, and the science and practice of decision analysis provides us with the tools needed to do so. I will review the philosophy and process of decision analysis as applied to reintroduction decisions, including development of measurable objectives, articulation of the broadest feasible set of alternative strategies, development of predictive models, and identification of optimal actions through appropriate solution algorithms. Perhaps the single greatest challenge in making reintroduction decisions is dealing with uncertainty. Uncertainty is ubiquitous in conservation management; and the management of reintroduction efforts is particularly hampered by uncertainty. I will focus particularly on methods for making decisions under uncertainty. The promise of adaptive management - learning while doing - is particularly rich for reintroduction decisions, though applications are rare. I will close by discussing ways of making adaptive management more accessible to reintroduction managers and associated researchers.
Saul Cowen(1), Colleen Sims(1), Sean Garretson(1), Kelly Rayner(1), Keith Morris(1)
1. Western Australian Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions
Returning to 1616 - the ecological restoration of Western Australia's largest island
Island refuges have proved critical in safeguarding the futures of many threatened species, particularly from the threat of invasive species. However, in the example of Dirk Hartog Island in Western Australia, the removal of non-native herbivores and predators represents a significant opportunity, not just to establish another sanctuary, but to restore an entire ecosystem to an equivalent of its pre-European functional state.
The next stage in the ecological restoration of the island is the reconstruction of the island's former fauna assemblage, with 12 mammals and one bird nominated for translocation. Some of these species are understood to be modifiers of their own physical environment and it is hoped that the return of diggers, burrowers, grazers, browsers and nest-builders will help restore long-lost ecosystem function. It is also hypothesised that some herbivores may act as biological control agents for weedy plant species, but there is a risk they may also be beneficial to other weeds. Interactions between reintroduced fauna and their 'new' environment may be complex and unpredictable, and a research-focused monitoring program is being developed to investigate the impact of these translocations on the ecosystem as a whole.
Kyran Kunkle(1), Colleen Crill(1), Daniel Kinka(1)
1. American Prairie Reserve
Reintroducing flagship and keystone species to restore North Central Montana's mixed grass prairie ecosystem
The prairie ecosystem is one of the world's richest, and most imperiled. American Prairie Reserve (APR) is working with governmental and NGOs, local tribes, and private landowners to create the largest wildlife reserve in the lower 48, and to restore a fully functioning ecosystem, complete with the full suite of native prairie plants and animals.
In 2005 we successfully reintroduced bison to the landscape, after a 120-year absence, with a goal of at least 10,000 bison. We translocate and otherwise actively enhance prairie dog colonies on APR property, currently 400,000 acres and growing, which efficiently enhances habitat for over 150 associated species, many imperilled, and will include black-footed ferret reintroduction. One next step is returning swift fox (Vulpes velox) to the landscape.
Swift fox (fox) were historically abundant across Eastern Montana, but suffered heavily under extermination campaigns targeting wolves. By 1969 foxes were believed to be extinct in Montana. Since then, foxes have been successfully reintroduced in locations across the Northern Great Plains, and we intend to continue that legacy. We assessed the suitability of habitat on APR and surveyed for fox and determined that we and surrounding landscape contain abundant suitable habitat, currently uninhabited by foxes.
We propose to translocate foxes from a secure population in Montana, and re-establish them in the greater APR ecosystem. This population will provide a stepping stone to reconnecting the disjointed Northern and Southern populations, and bring us closer to restoring the full functionality of a Great Plains prairie ecosystem.
1. Liverpool John Moores University, Liverpool, UK
Everything is connected: ecosystem functioning as a rationale for, and to improve the effectiveness of, conservation translocations
Our success in slowing the global decline of biodiversity will in part, depend on maintaining abiotic and biotic interactions that deliver niche requirements of threatened species. Being able to accurately describe the dimensions of an ecological niche is key to the effectiveness of interventions such as conservation translocations and every attempt to create a population of an endangered fungi, plant or animal is essentially a test of our understanding of the species' niche. However, organisms are not passive receptors of whatever their surroundings throw at them, and they in turn impact upon the environment and other organisms around them. This leads to the key message of this talk: while ecosystem-level processes are essential to maintain survival of the species we prioritise and conserve, they are also part of the rationale for undertaking a translocation and as conservation scientists, we have a responsibility to understand and facilitate these community-level roles. Growing evidence suggests that rare species deliver distinctive functions that can sustain biogeochemical processes and maintain ecosystem resilience to external perturbations. In a world where we cannot save everything, species that are functionally distinct should be prioritised more highly than those that might be equally rare, but functionally redundant. The evaluation of species contributions to ecosystem function in the context of past or proposed conservation translocations is likely to improve our understanding of the threatened systems we are trying to protect, the success of conservation translocations, and ultimately, will help maintain resilience in systems facing multiple threats and their cumulative impacts.
Sebastián Di Martino(1), Ignacio Jiménez Pérez(1), Sofía Heinonen(1), Guastavo Solís(1), Alicia Delgado(1), Jorge Peña(1), Ana Carolina Rosas(1), Emanuel Galetto(1), Maite Ríos Noya(1), Alejandro Benítez(1), Talía Zamboni(1), Noelia Volpe(1), Rafael Abuín(1), Nicolás Carro(1), Leandro Vázquez(1), Camila Vallejos(1), Giselda Fernández(1), Juan Pablo Vallejos(1), Magalí Longo(1), Fabián Yablonski(1), Elena Martín(1), Niolás Medrano(1)
1. The Conservation Land Trust Argentina
Multispecies reintroduction approach to restore the big herbivores, frugivores and carnivores in the Iberá Wetlands ecosystem (Corrientes, Argentina)
Corrientes province (Argentina) lost several species of large animals in historic times. In the Iberá Wetland, The Conservation Land Trust (CLT) helped to establish a Provincial Park of 550,000 ha and acquired 150,000 ha of neighboring lands to create the Iberá National Park. In 2007 CLT started the Iberá Rewilding Program, with the aim of reintroducing all animal species that had been extirpated in historic times So far, self-sustaining populations of giant anteaters (Myrmecophaga tridactyla) and pampas deer (Ozotoceros bezoarticus), and initial population nuclei of giant anteater, pampas deer, collared peccaries (Peccary tajacu), tapirs (Tapirus terrestris) and green-winged macaws (Ara chloropterus) have been established. Also an onsite breeding program for the reintroduction of jaguars (Panthera onca) has been started. Population founders come from captivity with the exception of pampas deer which are translocated from the wild. Animals go through soft-releases and are monitored by VHF telemetry. Major obstacles faced during the rewilding process included advocating the idea of reintroduction, bureaucratic challenges and species-specific challenges. Future plans include initial reintroductions of species such as the bare-faced curassow (Crax fasciolata) and the giant otter (Pteronura brasiliensis). This experience demonstrates that rewilding projects require abundant suitable habitat, long-term financial and organizational commitment, a solid interdisciplinary team and a high level of flexibility. The Iberá Rewilding Program represents the largest effort to reestablish extirpated species in the Americas, and is being adopted by public and private organizations in Argentina, as a model for proactive conservation.
John Ewen(1), Stefano Canessa(2)
1. Institute of Zoology, Zoological Society of London, UK
2. Ghent University, Belgium
Future opportunities: how our science can best support conservation translocations
The Earth's biodiversity is suffering at our hands. In response, an increasingly strong conservation movement has emerged, and with it a field of science dedicated to providing both a reliable understanding of how biodiversity is changing and a strong evidence-base to counter this process. Conservation translocations are exemplary of this. They will likely continue to increase in frequency as our Earth changes and conservation reach increases. At the same time, the science we use to inform translocations is also changing in fascinating ways, following technological advances and deeper thought processes. I will review how our science has been used to support conservation translocations, how we might best ensure that exciting scientific advances continue to provide this support, and how the IUCN specialist group supporting conservation translocations is working to ensure they are most effective. Our future is one of conservation challenges, but one an increasing number of people are rising to meet. Our task is to ensure that the science we produce is not only interesting but also that it makes the greatest possible contribution to real conservation.
Lisa Faust(1), Colleen Lynch(2)
1. Alexander Center for Applied Population Biology, Lincoln Park Zoo
2. Riverbanks Zoo and Garden & AZA Population Management Center, Lincoln Park Zoo
Applying ex situ population management tools to reintroduction programs
Translocations often blend in situ and ex situ conservation strategies. Although the science applied to managing ex situ populations can support successful reintroduction programs, reintroduction practitioners may be less familiar with its application. This talk will focus on key population biology principles and analytical software tools used in the ex situ community. We will illustrate the application of these concepts and tools to reintroduction programs with examples from our collaborations, including Puerto Rican parrots, red wolves, Channel Island foxes, Andean condors, San Clemente loggerhead shrikes, and Guam rails. These examples will showcase the management strategies which are applied to 1) formation of an ex situ source population, 2) data management practices to support decision-making, including creation of studbook databases for individually-monitored populations using software such as PopLink, SPARKS, or ZIMS; 3) selection of breeding and management strategies within the ex situ population to maintain genetic and demographic health using software such as PMx; 4) evaluation of release strategies (numbers, sex ratios, frequencies, genetic criteria) to create a viable in situ population using PMx and population viability analysis (PVA) tools such as Vortex and Zoorisk; and 5) evaluation of tradeoffs in the viability of all subpopulations to best advance species recovery using PVAs. These tools will assist managers with collecting high-quality individual-level data and applying those data to implement science-based decision making to support reintroduction programs.
Stephanie Galla(1)*, Ilina Cubrinovska(1)*, Natalie Forsdick(2), Marc Hoeppner(3), Dave Houston(4), Michael Knapp(2), Richard Maloney(4), Roger Moraga(5),(6), Anna Santure(7), Tammy Steeves(1)
1. School of Biological Sciences, University of Canterbury
2. Department of Anatomy, University of Otago
3. Institute of Clinical Molecular Biology, Kiel University
4. New Zealand Department of Conservation
5. Tea Break Bioinformatics, Ltd.
6. AgResearch New Zealand
7. School of Biological Sciences, University of Auckland
*Co-authors/Co-presenters contributing equally to this work
Choosing the best individuals for pairing in conservation translocation breeding programmes: a proof of concept in a critically endangered New Zealand bird
For recovery programmes of the 400+ threatened species around the globe that are bred for conservation translocations, a common question asked is: How can we choose the 'best' individuals for pairing to minimise inbreeding and maximise genetic diversity to enhance species recovery? Pairing decisions are generally based on relatedness measures using a pedigree; however recovery programmes struggle to use this approach if pedigrees are shallow or incomplete. While genetic approaches using relatively few genome-wide markers (i.e., microsatellites) can measure relatedness, emerging evidence indicates this approach lacks precision in genetically depauperate species and more accurate measures may be obtained from genomic data (i.e., thousands of genome-wide single nucleotide polymorphisms, SNPs). Here, we compare relatedness measures using pedigree, genetic, and genomic approaches to determine the most effective and efficient method for making captive-pairing decisions using a critically endangered New Zealand bird (kakī/black stilt, Himantopus novaezelandiae) as Proof of Concept. Our findings, based on known parent-offspring and sibling relationships, indicate that genetic measures of relatedness are indeed the least informative. Additional research indicates that existing genomic resources, including reference genomes from closely related species, can enable the use of SNPs as a cost-effective method for estimating relatedness when robust pedigrees are absent. Beyond kakī, we will apply this approach to the endangered tuturuatu/shore plover (Thinornis novaeseelandiae) and show how it can be readily applied to conservation translocation breeding programmes worldwide.
Alexandre Garnier(1), E.Sourp(1), J. Lafitte(1), J.P. Crampe(1), J. Estebe(2), Y. Barascud(2), E. Quéméré(3), S. Aulagnier(3), G. Gonzales(3)
1. Parc national des Pyrénées, 65000 Tarbes, France
2. Parc naturel régional des Pyrénées Ariégeoises, 09240 La Bastide de Séroux, France
3. Comportement et Ecologie de la Faune Sauvage, I.N.R.A., 31326 Castanet-Tolosan cedex, France
The reintroduction of the Spanish ibex (Capra pyrenaica) in the French Pyrenees, after a century of absence: first assessment and spatial behavior
The Pyrenean ibex (Capra pyrenaica pyrenaica) has been completely extirpated from the French Pyrenees in 1910, and the last Spanish individual was found dead in 2000. Then, a restoration project, including the translocation of wild Spanish ibex, has been developed. From 2014 to 2017, 204 individuals (120 females and 84 males) have been released in four areas in the Pyrenees National Park and in the Regional Natural Park of Ariège Pyrenees. Ibex were ear-tagged and fitted with VHF and GPS collars to assess the reintroduction success and to analyze their spatial ecology.
After the first four years, the reintroduction in the French Pyrenees is on the way, with a high survival rate (~0.85), and a good reproductive success. Genetics could be the main concern for the future of this population as the first analyses show quite low diversity and heterozygosity among founders.
We studied the distance to release site for 170 individuals during the first year following their reintroduction. Distances ranged from 0.2 to 48.8 km for females and from 0.3 to 46.2 km for males. We analyzed factors that could affect this distance (age, sex, sociality, period of release). We concluded that resource managers planning ibex reintroduction should favor spring for translocations, and avoid the summer and rutting season. Releasing large reproducing males is hazardous, as these individuals are more susceptible to move far from the release area. Successive translocations on the same site could also be a good tool to maximize ‘effective’ population dynamics.
Martin Gaywood(1), Pete Hollingsworth(1)
1. Scottish Natural Heritage, Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh
Conservation translocations in Scotland - people and species
Over the last few years Scotland has been developing a more rigorous and inclusive approach to reintroduction and other conservation translocation projects. Conservation translocation has been a frequently used tool in Scotland, at national at more local scales, and involving species from a range of animal and plant taxa (for example through Scotland's 'Species Action Framework' programme of targeted species management). A minority of these projects have been particularly high profile and contentious, for example the reintroduction of the white-tailed eagle and Eurasian beaver. These experiences resulted in the setting up of the National Species Reintroduction Forum, made up of 28 public and NGO organisations, not only from the conservation community, but also land use bodies who represent people who can be directly affected by such projects. In 2014 the Forum produced the 'Scottish Code for Conservation Translocations', launched by Scottish ministers, which provides an increased focus on socio-economic requirements, as well as biological and legal ones, and closely linked to the revised 2013 IUCN Guidelines. The presentation will look at some projects where there have been particular socio-economic challenges, assess how the Code approach to stakeholder engagement is working, and look ahead to how conservation translocation best practice may be further refined in Scotland.
James P. Gibbs(1), Washington Tapia(1), Linda J. Cayot(1)
1. Galapagos Conservancy; State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry
Reintroductions to restore a species complex: the science-based future of giant tortoise restoration in Galapagos
Giant tortoise restoration in Galapagos depends heavily on reintroduction of captive-reared individuals. A major recent catalyst for tortoise restoration has been the Giant Tortoise Restoration Initiative, established expressly to address the Galapagos National Park Directorate's need for scientific guidance on giant tortoise restoration. A loosely coordinated group of national and international scientists supported by funds from their respective countries and in many cases considerable in-kind support from the Galapagos National Park Directorate has created a unique "science-management synergy" that greatly informs the reintroduction process. Genetics has proven vital in several respects: identifying best sources of "replacement" species to translocate to provide a substitute for long-lost endemic species, detecting living hybrids with significant levels of ancestry from extinct species to resurrect lost lineages, and providing clear guidance on best breeding strategies in captivity. Demographic analysis provides evaluation of success of reintroduction programs, while population modeling is being used to evaluate competing reintroduction scenarios. Ecosystem-level investigation of plant-tortoise interactions has resulted in a re-conceptualization of giant tortoises as agents of ecosystem dynamics, identified cases where ecosystem restoration may be required, and greatly expanded the rationale for tortoise reintroductions. Outside scientists working closely with the Galapagos National Park authorities have brought to bear cutting-edge scientific perspectives on captive-rearing, reintroduction, and restoration practices in Galapagos to inform decision-making and substantially enhance success of tortoise restoration efforts for this species complex.
Tania Gilbert(1), Philip Riordan(1), Marie Petretto(1), Tim Woodfine(1), Salem Trigui(2), Mohamed Nouioui(2)
1. Marwell Wildlife, UK
2. Direction Générale des Forêts, Tunisia
Thirty years of scimitar-horned oryx reintroductions in Tunisia: born to re-wild?
Scimitar-horned oryx Oryx dammah were first released from zoos into a Tunisian national park in 1985. Since then the species has been re-established in three more fenced protected areas in Tunisia, creating a metapopulation within the protected area system. Set against a background of environmental and socio-economic change, the re-establishment of scimitar-horned oryx in Tunisia might at first appear trivial. The validity of such conservation actions might be further questioned when we consider whether these animals truly represent their wild forebears, or even whether these released populations can be considered 'wild'. Certainly, the re-established populations do not meet the criteria for 'wild populations' under the IUCN SSC 'Red List of Threatened Species' and the scimitar-horned oryx remains 'Extinct in the Wild' despite thirty-years of 'reintroductions' in Tunisia. In a world where ecosystems are coming under increasingly anthropogenic pressure, what can we anticipate the 'wild' to even look like in the future?
In order to act, and for our actions to have significant and lasting impact, we must openly and truthfully acknowledge and address often uncomfortable considerations. The conservation of scimitar-horned oryx in Tunisia offers insights into how we might conserve large-bodied animals in fragmented landscapes, particularly within the Sahelo-Saharan region of North Africa. Here, we review the historical steps taken, and examine the outcomes, in terms of individual, population and ecosystem responses. By anticipating change, we highlight key areas in which action might be targeted to greatest effect and aligned with wider goals to maximise the value of our efforts.
1. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Adapting to the black-footed ferret reintroduction reality
First impressions in various life experiences often can be wrong. Wildlife managers who think that other stakeholders associated with their management conundrums think as they do will endure repeated frustrations if they can't honestly, and regularly, assess and appreciate all perspectives. A few black-footed ferrets (ferret), one of the most endangered mammals in North America, were rescued from the wild on private ranches in Wyoming in the mid 1980s. They and their progeny were then captive bred at several zoos, and have been reintroduced annually on private, government, and Tribal lands since 1991. Reintroduction efforts have occurred at 30 sites in eight western states, Mexico, and Canada. Along the way, hundreds, probably thousands, of individuals from many diverse perspectives have been involved. The coordination of ferret recovery interests and efforts, particularly with those outside the wildlife community, has been an essential element for ferret conservation. Flexible accommodations developed to support a voluntary, non-regulatory, and incentive based approach to ferret recovery in the context of established social, political, economic, and legal norms have resulted in broad endorsement by both wildlife interests and parties often inimical to endangered species recovery. Finding common ground among uncommon partners is a continuing challenge.
Thomas NE Gray(1), Nick Marx(1), Rachel Crouthers(2), Jonathan Eames(3)
1. Wildlife Alliance, Phnom Penh, Cambodia
2. WWF Cambodia, Phnom Penh, Cambodia
3. Raising Phoenix PLC, Phnom Penh, Cambodia
Returning Cambodia's roar: tigers and other re-wildling opportunities in South East Asia
South-East Asia is at the epicenter of the global extinction crisis with widespread extirpations and population declines of keystone species impacting ecosystem functionality. Given this degradation of ecosystems what role can re-wildling and reintroduction science play in the region?
At least five re-wildling projects are underway or in development within Cambodia. The motivation of these projects varies from threatened species conservation, to restoring ecosystems, to flagship projects for landscape conservation. The ubiquitous illegal wildlife trade across the region presents an opportunity for sourcing animals for re-wilding. Such stock has been used to return pileated gibbon and Indochinese lutung to the forests surrounding the iconic temples of Angkor Watt. In contrast to re-wildling in Europe these projects look to recreate ecosystems present <50 years ago. As such societal support for re-wildling may be higher than in places where species were extirpated in the more distant past. A Structured Decision Making process to clarify the motivations for undertaking tiger reintroduction highlighted the potential role of tigers as a flagship for landscape conservation as the most important objective followed by a project which would appeal to the government. A strategy involving fencing a proportion of the release protected area and the managed re-wildling of domesticated buffalo, to supplement tiger prey, was identified as the optimal strategy. Despite the challenges tiger reintroduction, and other iconic re-wildling projects, have the potential to galvanize conservation within South-East Asia and leverage the political and financial support necessary to transform conservation in the region.
Alison Greggor(1), Bryce Masuda(1), Ron Swaisgood(1), Joshua Pang-Ching(1), Jackie Gaudioso-Levita(2), Donna Ball(3), Jay Nelson(4), Paul Banko(5), Colleen Cole(6), Alex Wang(7), John Vetter(4), Susan Farabaugh(8), Ron Swaisgood(8)
1. Hawai'i Endangered Bird Conservation Program, Volcano, HI.
2. DLNR Division of Forestry and Wildlife, Hilo, HI.
3. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Hilo, HI.
4. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Honolulu, HI.
5. U.S. Geological Survey, Volcano, HI.
6. Three Mountain Alliance, Volcano, HI.
7. Hawaii Natural Area Reserve System, Hilo, HI.
8. San Diego Zoo Global, San Diego, CA
Using tools from animal behavior and learning to help save the 'Alalā
Insights from the field of animal behavior and learning can serve as valuable tools in conservation management, especially in reintroduction programs. When captive bred animals are released into the wild, it cannot be assumed that they have retained the survival skills they need to succeed. We explain how we implement and rely on behavioral training as part of the reintroduction program for the critically endangered 'Alalā (Corvus hawaiiensis). As a long-lived, intelligent species, the 'Alalā are particularly susceptible to the effects of life in conservation breeding facilities. We detail the behavioral methods and evaluative steps we take to prepare the birds for life in the wild. By using realistic, biologically relevant stimuli and focusing on learning mechanisms, we promote anti-predator behavior, track native fruit foraging proficiency and monitor the social interactions of the release cohorts. Together these tools allow us to assess an individual's readiness for release and to evaluate reintroduction success. Therefore, animal behavior research offers opportunities for improving reintroduction outcomes.
1. School of Biological Sciences, University of Western Australia, Crawley, WA 6162, Australia
Restoration ecology and reintroduction
Restoration and reintroduction can be regarded as two complementary tools in the endeavor to conserve the world's biodiversity and maintain functioning ecosystems. It is only recently that the links between these two activities have been made more apparent - however, there is much to be gained from examining the areas of overlap and synergy. Moving species from one place to another, whether this is classed as reintroduction or some other form of assisted movement, requires that the habitat into which the species is being moved is likely to sustain a viable population of the moved species. In the case of reintroduction, this should mean treating the causes of the species' decline in its former range, which often involves threat abatement and/or habitat modification. Hence restoration activities, broadly defined, need to be an integral part of reintroductions. On the flip side, reintroducing key species, such as top predators and ecosystem engineers, can have cascading effects in ecosystems that restore former patterns and processes much more efficiently than other more traditional forms of restoration. Increasing numbers of examples illustrate the potential for species movement to play an important role in large scale restoration. I explore these synergies and the opportunities and potential pitfalls involved, using a range of examples from different parts of the world.
Carolyn J Hogg(1), Catherine E Grueber(1), Kathy Belov(1)
1. University of Sydney
The future is here - the benefits of genetic tools in translocations!
Since the publication of the human genome in 2001, the development of genetic and genomic tools for conservation management have come forward in leaps and bounds. While genetic data used to be considered an academic "nice to have", it is fast becoming an essential item in the translocation of endangered species. IUCN guidelines recommend that translocations should occur when the threatening process has been reduced or removed. However, when infectious diseases are a threatening process, alternative management strategies are required. We will show how genetic data have informed the translocation of two of Australia's most endangered species, Tasmanian devils and orange-bellied parrots (OBP), in the presence of infectious diseases. Devil facial tumour disease has decimated populations by 77% over the past 20 years. Modelling indicates that this genetically depauperate species will succumb to small population pressures, such as inbreeding depression, if augmentation of wild populations do not occur. The OBP wild population consists of 15 individuals, which is augmented on an annual basis. This species suffers from beak and feather virus as well as Psuedomonas. Since 2011, we have implemented a strict genetic and demographic management strategy for both OBPs and devils, both in the wild and in captivity. Our strategy is directly informed by molecular genetics. We will describe the benefits, our successes and our failures in using cost-effective genetic tools in the augmentation of wild populations of two iconic native Australian species.
Paige Howorth(1), Spring Strahm(2)
1. San Diego Zoo Global
2. Conservation Biology Institute
The boom and bust butterfly: finding a way for the Quino checkerspot
First listed as federally endangered in 1997, the Quino checkerspot butterfly continues to face numerous threats to sustainability, including climate change and habitat loss. Its population abundance in times of adequate rainfall and virtual disappearance amid drought conditions-an increasingly new "normal" for its Southern California habitat-have challenged recovery strategies for decades.
San Diego Zoo Global and Conservation Biology Institute joined with Creekside Science and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in 2013 to create a captive rearing and monitoring program for potential reintroductions of this elusive San Diego native. Given the unique biology of the Quino checkerspot butterfly and its scarcity during the drought of 2012-2015, the program required flexibility and innovation from the start.
To guide our work, we sought to answer the following questions: what is the best strategy for rearing large numbers of larvae, and how can we provide the most honest signals in a laboratory environment? What is the best life stage for the release of this butterfly, and what methods will we employ for release and monitoring? Finally, upon release, how do we measure success and plan for the future, given the natural variability of the butterfly's populations?
After two successive years of releases, more than 6,600 larvae and a multitude of changes along the way, we have some unexpected answers that show promise for the recovery of this resilient butterfly.
David S. Jachowski(1)
1. Clemson University
Improving success in working reintroduction landscapes: How changing socio-political dynamics support multi-species restoration in the Northern Great Plains
Reintroduction biology, a field and profession largely created by biologists, has traditionally had a strong ecological background. While the importance of having an understanding of social science and governance has often been in the subtext of all reintroduction decision making, only recently has it been explicitly accounted for in reintroduction planning and coordination. Over the past 100 years, and particularly in the past 30, the Northern Great Plains of North America has been the focus on wide-scale wildlife restoration efforts on species ranging from bighorn sheep and bison, to black-footed ferrets and prairie dogs. Taking a longitudinal perspective on how these recovery efforts have unfolded in this underappreciated crucible for reintroduction biology can shed light on the interactive and complex ways in which changing socio-political dynamics can influence reintroduction planning and success. In particular, a recent change in the socio-political structure in this system (e.g., new stakeholders, incentives, motivations, and governance) is changing the reintroduction approach away from government-sponsored single species reintroduction approaches, to collaborative, multi-stakeholder multispecies restoration initiatives. Lessons learned from this rapidly evolving framework for advancing multi-species reintroduction offers key insights into how typically controversial wildlife reintroductions can potentially be enhanced in similar multi-stakeholder or "working" landscapes globally.
Ignacio Jiménez Pérez(1)
1. The Conservation Land Trust Argentina
Achieving political and social support for reintroductions: a communications framework
Success in translocations depends on having enough good-quality habitat, accessing sufficient animals for release, carrying out the needed releases, post-release monitoring, managing threats facing the reestablished population, and building a professional team that can handle these interdisciplinary tasks. In all projects most of the tasks will rely on direct support from key groups having enough influence to stop or derail any translocation effort. Among these groups are wildlife authorities (i.e. politicians and civil servants), conservationists and their academic peers, neighbors and landowners, big businesses, the general public and donors. The best way to achieve support from these groups relies on using different communication tools, messages, and messengers for each of them, which should include a combination of cognitive and emotional approaches. Communication tools can be as diverse as person-to-person conversations, films, social networks, websites, books, presentations, meetings with journalists, technical reports, scientific articles, newsletters, etc. All these tools should convey an inspirational story that considers the interests and myths of groups that have a direct effect on translocation success. In order to train and empower our translocation teams we must promote practice-based learning based on exchanges with similar projects, and from the continuous monitoring and evaluation of our own actions. Finally, due to their positive message of restoration, translocation efforts have great potential to inspire society and promote a wider biodiversity conservation agenda, so long as they can show real results that are communicated in a proactive and inclusive manner.
1. Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust, Mauritian Wildlife Foundation
Restoring lost and damaged island ecosystems, the role of reintroductions
Island ecosystems are among the most damaged, with high rates of extinction. We draw upon four decades of experience of working on Mauritius in the Indian Ocean, where we have been restoring systems and reactivating lost ecological interactions. We have reintroduced, or translocated, seven native or endemic species of land-birds, five seabirds, seven reptiles, and over a hundred and fifty species of plants. These have been used to rebuild ecosystems on the main islands of Mauritius and Rodrigues, and on smaller off-shore islands. We discuss how reintroductions have become a major driver for this work. We discuss the challenges in restoring systems in which there ae missing species and the potential value of ecological replacements. The extinction of endemic tortoises has left unfulfilled ecological interactions that we are correcting by using Aldabra Tortoises which are restoring the largely lost grazing climax plant community that is rich in endemic plants.
Leah Kemp(1), John Kanowski(1), David Roshier(1), Rod Kavanagh(1), Wayne Boardman(1)
1. AWC, University of Adelaide
Multi-species, multi-site - opportunities, limitations and challenges in threatened fauna reintroductions programs
Australia has the highest recent mammal extinction rate in the world due to the interacting effects of introduced feral predators and herbivores, land clearing and changed fire regimes. The Australian Wildlife Conservancy (AWC) has established and manages the largest feral-free conservation-fenced areas and reintroduction/restoration projects on mainland Australia. Currently, three new major projects are occurring simultaneously across south-east and central Australia. These will establish approximately 85,000ha of conservation-fenced land. This will involve the translocation of up to 18 species across the three new projects, with the aim of rebuilding the faunal assemblage that once occurred in these areas.
While IUCN guidelines and translocation templates are well established to assist fauna translocation programs for single species reintroductions, multi-species, multi-site programs occurring simultaneously pose another level of complexity. These complexities include: securing sufficient source stock of an ideal genetic founder composition to build populations rapidly; consideration of disease risks associated with mixing species and release cohorts to/from different sources and recipient sites; jurisdiction regulation restrictions across states, seasonal limitations on access to land; population fluctuations of source populations; programming the timing and release sequence of species to facilitate establishment and monitoring feasibility; selecting success criteria based on feasible monitoring, and; using the opportunity to inform future translocations, given limitations in logistical and monitoring capacity. Here we present the scope of AWC's reintroduction proposals in Australia, the challenges involved, and the measures being taken to ensure the successful establishment of fauna assemblages that reflect those that occurred at each of the three sites.
1. Aspinall Foundation
Can captive zoo populations play a role in primate reintroductions?
One of the roles of zoos is to breed species in captivity for potential release into the wild. However when opportunities arise for releasing captive animals, there can often be a lack of consensus within the zoo community about the justification for providing animals as founder stock for reintroduction or other translocation projects. I will draw on two decades of experience within various primate conservation, reintroduction and reinforcement projects to highlight reasons why the zoo community might contain conflicting views of primate translocation projects, and to provide evidence from extensive post-release monitoring of four primate species (western lowland gorillas, Javan gibbons, ebony langurs and grizzled langurs) that can aid future collaborative decision-making.
Blake Klocke(1), Brian Gratwicke(1), Roberto Ibáñez(1), Jorge Guerrel(1), Orlando Ariel Garćes(1), Elliot Lassiter(1), Heidi Ross(1)
1. Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute
Reintroduction efforts for two species of Panamanian Harlequin frogs (Atelopus sp.) threatened by amphibian chytrid fungus
The emergence of the amphibian chytrid fungus in Panama resulted in catastrophic population declines or extinction in the six species of Atelopus that occur within the country. The Panama Amphibian Rescue and Conservation Project is an ex-situ captive breeding project that was established to prevent the extinction of the most susceptible Panamanian amphibians. Captive assurance populations of five Atelopus spp. (Atelopus certus, Atelopus glyphus, Atelopus limosus, Atelopus varius, and Atelopus zeteki) have been successfully maintained and bred in Panama. Release trials with captive bred F1 individuals of two species, Atelopus limosus and Atelopus varius, were completed to understand dispersal patterns, survivorship, susceptibility to chytrid, and increase efficacy of future reintroductions. We equipped several adult A. limosus and A. varius from each release trial with VHF radio transmitters to track daily movements and obtain weekly weight measurements and determine chytrid status. We attempted mark and recapture surveys with animals that did not have a radio transmitter with limited success. Understanding disease dynamics in relation to climatic variables and how the introduction of susceptible individuals would affect the prevalence of amphibian chytrid in the existing amphibian community were priority questions in need of answering. These initial efforts will guide the development of reintroduction strategies in the presence of the pathogen driving the declines of Panamanian amphibians.
Ox Lennon(1), H.U. Wittmer(1), N.J. Nelson(1)
1. Victoria University of Wellington
Mitigation translocations as an opportunity for conservation
Habitat loss and degradation are having adverse effects on wildlife worldwide. Conservation translocations, including reintroductions, have increasingly been used in restoring declining or extirpated populations. However, mitigation translocations, which move wildlife away from development sites, are in many countries more numerous and better-funded than either conservation or research translocations. Furthermore, mitigation translocations may be carried out to fulfil regulatory requirements rather than to provide conservation benefit. My aim is to determine whether mitigation translocations can be used to meet conservation goals. I collaborated on a mitigation translocation of endemic lizards at a major road construction in New Zealand, along with collaborators from the private and state sectors and indigenous stakeholders. Lizards were salvaged over several years and released, and monitoring is underway to compare outcomes to established benchmarks for conservation translocation success. Low numbers of individuals salvaged, changing dates, and deviations from management plans have hindered the pre-release phases of this project, leading to a released population with uncertain population viability. Contracted ecologists are well aware of conservation best practices, but often lack a mandate to implement these in mitigation translocations, due in part to the differences between mitigation and conservation goals. Collaborative mitigation translocations represent a huge opportunity for conservation and restoration due to their increasing prevalence and the opportunity to access a different stream of funding. However, we need to ask the question: are mitigation translocations worth the current investment, or would it be better, when circumstances permit, to focus on prioritized conservation areas?
Natasha A. Lloyd(1), Nathan J. Hostetter(2), Cheyney L. Jackson(3), Sarah J. Converse(4), Axel Moehrenschlager(1)
1. Centre for Conservation Research, Calgary Zoological Society, Calgary, Alberta, Canada
2. U.S. Geological Survey, Patuxent Wildlife Research Center, Maryland, USA
3. Marmot Recovery Foundation, British Columbia, Canada
4. U.S. Geological Survey, Washington Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit, School of Environmental and Forest Sciences (SEFS) & School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences (SAFS), University of Washington, Washington, USA
Optimizing release strategies: a stepping-stone approach to reintroduction
Evaluation of alternative release strategies enables informed management decisions to accelerate species recovery. For reintroductions, post-release survival to reproductive age is a key parameter influencing population growth. Here we trial a 'stepping-stone' method to maximize the success of captive-born animals when the availability of more suitable wild-born release candidates is limited. Our approach makes use of relatively safe and established wild populations to acclimatize captive-bred individuals prior to translocation to a final release destination, thus building resilience through establishment of multiple populations over time. We developed an innovative hierarchical multievent mark-recapture-recovery model integrating encounter history data and supplementary biotelemetry data to evaluate reintroduction strategies for the critically endangered Vancouver Island marmot (Marmota vancouverensis). We compared post-release survival of 175 individuals (52 wild-born, 47 captive-born marmots released directly to destination populations, and 76 captive-born marmots released with a stepping-stone approach). Our analysis indicates that post-release survival varies by source population and release method, as well as age, season, year, and years since release. Conditional on an objective of maximizing survival to prime breeding-age, our results suggest that using wild-born marmots for translocations as often as possible, and stepping-stone captive-born marmots prior to final release, will result in the best outcomes. Indeed, survival to prime breeding-age in the wild was nearly three times greater for captive-bred marmots released using a stepping-stone approach than for captive-bred individuals that were directly released to destination sites. Optimizing the combination of release candidates, sites, and timing can thereby increase the effectiveness of reintroductions.
1. United States Fish and Wildlife Service, State Agencies, Comision Nacional De Areas Naturales Protegidas, Association of Zoos and Aquariums, Peregrine Fund and and Ventana Wildlife Society
California condor - back from the brink of extinction
The California condor is one of North America's most iconic species. In 1982 the condors faced extinction when there were only 22 remaining in the world. After continuous debates regarding the dilemma of allowing the condor to go extinct or save it, the USFWS partnered with San Diego Zoo Global and Los Angeles Zoo to save the condor. In 1987 the remaining condors were removed from the wild and for the first time in 10,000 years extinct in the wild. The program began to expand to other zoos and NGO's. The condors produced within Association of Zoos and Aquariums were released back into the wild and a full recovery program was underway. There have been anticipated and unforeseen challenges to save the condor. Many lessons have been learned that now apply to saving other endangered species. The condor serves an important ecological role and losing it to extinction would have had catastrophic effects. Today there are more than 450 condors with 275 flying in the wild in California, Arizona, Utah and Baja California, Mexico. The program is a bi-national effort. The AZA coalition working closely with the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, state agencies, NGOs, including various Native American groups in California, Arizona, Utah, and Oregon have been committed for 35 years and more than $40,000,000 to save the condor from extinction. The California condor program is one of the most collaborative and comprehensive in history. This iconic species serves as globally recognized model for international species conservation.
Thomas Maloney(1), Ben Novak(1)
1. Revive & Restore
Genetic rescue of black-footed ferret from conservation reliance
A species is conservation reliant when the threats that it faces cannot be eliminated, only managed. There are two forms of conservation reliance: population-management and threat-management reliance. The black-footed ferret (Mustela nigripes) represents a re-introduced species that is currently reliant on conservation management. Fortunately, recent advances in biotechnology enable conservation interventions that provide potential strategies to move the black-footed ferret into a more sustained recovery status. Proposed work by Revive & Restore on the black-footed ferret will illustrate the possibilities to move species into a more sustained state of recovery. The proposed work addresses population-related conservation reliance by attempting to increase allelic diversity (thereby reversing in-breeding depression) by cloning two non-founder cell lines from the original re-discovered Wyoming population stored at the San Diego Frozen Zoo. Additionally, Revive & Restore and its partners propose to address threat-related conservation reliance by attempting to convey heritable disease resistance to the fatal non-native disease sylvatic plague (Yersinia pestis) through a process known as vectored immuno-prophylaxis. The author will present and discuss the broader applicability of these tools as well as the social, ethical and regulatory implications. Ultimately, successful responses to factors of conservation reliance may enable a de-listing from protected status. This may provide expanded opportunities for a broader spectrum of federal, state, tribal, and private interests to participate in conservation.
Jean-Baptiste Mihoub(1), Nina King-Gillies(1), Cécile Tréhin(1), Nastasia Faure-Michaels(1), Christian Kerbiriou(1), François Sarrazin(1)
1. UMR 7204 CESCO, MNHN-CNRS-SU
Assessing progress toward success of local reintroductions within a metapopulation: the example of the bearded vulture restoration in Southern France
Criteria based on long-term population viability have been recently suggested to assess the success of local reintroduction programs. Nevertheless, evaluating progress toward success remain challenging, especially for long-lived species. Besides, it is unclear how the proposed criteria could be applied when reintroductions aim at restoring a metapopulation dynamic between isolated remnant populations, since it implies between population movements of individuals that can increase the risk of local reintroduction failure and / or interfere with the of three main phases of reintroduced population dynamics i.e. establishment, growth and regulation. The LIFE Gypconnect project offers a unique opportunity to address this issue since its main objective consists in connecting the native population of Bearded vultures (Gypaetus Barbatus) in the French Pyrenees with the local populations reintroduced in the Alps since the 80's by establishing newly reintroduced populations in between. Although the reintroductions started in 2010 with 30 individuals released in three sites up to 2017, interim assessments are required both to measure progress toward the ultimate goals of the project and eventually, to evaluate whether and how adjusting the reintroduction strategy would be necessary. Therefore, a substantial part of the project focuses on a priori developing a relevant set of indicators of progress at various temporal and spatial scales. These indicators primarily target demographic components of population viability at both local population and metapopulation scales and would be compared to the data regularly obtained from the monitoring of released individuals and following generations as the project will go on.
Axel Moehrenschlager(1), Natasha Lloyd(1)
1. Centre for Conservation Research, Calgary Zoological Society, Calgary, Alberta, Canada
Future opportunities for conservation translocation actions around the globe
The use of conservation translocations has increased exponentially, and regional policy documents suggest that such trends will continue. Reinforcements are generally as numerous as reintroductions, while ecological replacements and assisted colonizations are on the rise across taxa. The desire to move species for apparent benefit is continuing to push conceptual boundaries as mitigation translocation, rewilding, and de-extinction increasingly cross the conservation translocation space. Are such issues distractions or opportunities for meaningful action? Moreover, recent evidence suggests that releases from conservation breeding programs in zoos and aquaria are relatively rare, and better strategic alignment could yield increased opportunities to aid wild populations in need. While thousands of species are confiscated or rehabilitated around the globe, and while most are likely unsuitable for conservation translocation programs, potential synergy in some cases might yield yet unexplored benefits. North America, Europe, and Oceania are apparently most active in conservation translocations, but untapped potential may be especially promising in other biodiverse countries where this tool could help but is underutilized. Increasing evidence of success signals to political decision makers, investors, and the general public that support for science-based conservation translocation action should increase to help meet international commitments for biodiversity and humanity.
Katherine Moseby(1), Hugh Bannister(1), Melissa Jensen(2), Rebecca West(2)
2. Arid Recovery
Does individual variation in physical or behavioural traits significantly affect reintroduction success?
Many factors influence reintroduction success including habitat quality, the presence of introduced predators, source populations and release protocols. More recently, the individual behavioural traits of release animals have been shown to influence reintroduction outcomes. But how important are the physical and behavioural traits of individuals in reintroduction programs? We measured the physical and/or behavioural traits of released individuals from a range of threatened species and compared them with post-release parameters including survival and movement. Importantly we also measured individual variation in the physical traits of a resident exotic predator and compared them with predation rates on reintroduced prey. Results suggest that whilst behavioural traits of released animals did not affect survival, some physical traits significantly affected their chance of being killed by predators after release. In some cases these trends were consistent between different prey species. More importantly, individual variation in the hunting efficacy of resident predators had a real and significant impact on post release survival of reintroduced prey species. We present preliminary results for trials aiming to address the effects of individual traits on reintroduction success including toxic implants, grooming traps and selective breeding.
Bryony Palmer(1),(2), Leonie Valentine(1), Richard Hobbs(1)
1. University of Western Australia, Perth, Australia
2. Australian Wildlife Conservancy, Perth, Australia
A digger's gotta dig: assessing the impacts of reintroducing digging mammals in Australia
Reintroductions are likely to impact the recipient ecosystem and its elements, but this is not always explicitly addressed in reintroduction planning and monitoring. Ecosystem impacts may be positive (e.g. the restoration of ecosystem services), but negative outcomes are also possible (e.g. competition with, or predation on, other species of concern). Ecosystem engineers, species that change resource availability for other organisms through physical alterations to their environment, are likely to have greater impacts. Digging mammals are considered to be ecosystem engineers because their digging activities provide shelter for other organisms and have significant effects on soil structure, nutrient content and water availability. Many Australian digging mammals have experienced dramatic declines and are threatened. As a result, these species have been the focus of many reintroduction programs. It has been suggested that, in addition to the conservation benefits, reintroducing these species may restore ecosystem processes. However, despite some understanding of their roles, information about the impacts of reintroducing digging mammals on recipient ecosystems is lacking. Here we review Australian digging mammal reintroductions to determine how often effects on recipient ecosystems were addressed in the program goals or predicted outcomes and whether these were then monitored. For programs that included some form of ecosystem monitoring, we investigate what effects the reintroduction had on the recipient ecosystem. Understanding how reintroductions affect ecosystems will help management agencies set priorities, make decisions on which species to include in reintroduction programs, and may help to explain or set into context observed changes to ecosystems and ecosystem elements.
Kevin A. Parker(1)
1. Parker Conservation and Massey University
Beyond single species - planning multi-species conservation translocations for ecological restoration
The history of conservation translocations is rooted in rescuing highly threatened species from the brink of extinction. Last minute translocation will remain an essential conservation tool but it is risky, expensive and best avoided wherever possible. Many conservation translocations now focus on building resilience through translocation before a species reaches the brink. An additional development is conservation translocations of species in lower or non-threatened categories. This is usually presented as ecological restoration but often includes equally important social and economic motivators. Every conservation translocation requires context to be successful and the best way to achieve this is through the development of a translocation plan at the site, regional or even national level. However, I suggest that greater conservation and restoration gains can be made by taking translocation plans beyond a single species focus and instead producing multi-species translocation plans. This provides a road map for single species recovery integrated with ecosystem restoration while engaging, exciting and motivating local communities. I demonstrate this concept, and how it can be enacted, with 12 recent examples from Aotearoa New Zealand, ranging from very small community based projects to very large institution driven projects. This approach is ambitious and challenging, especially at large scale, and requires genuine engagement and partnership at the local, regional, national and even international level. However, it provides a means to recover highly threatened species in a broader context, enrich local biodiversity through the return of missing species, regardless of threat status, and build resilience in a changing world.
Elizabeth H. Parlato(1), Doug P. Armstrong(1)
1. Wildlife Ecology Group, Massey University
Predicting reintroduction outcomes for highly vulnerable species using data from multiple sites and species
Predicting reintroduction outcomes before populations are released is inherently challenging. An even greater challenge exists when the species being considered for reintroduction no longer co-exists anywhere with the key threats present at the candidate site. However, data from other species facing the same threats can be used to make predictions under these circumstances. We present a modelling approach for predicting growth of a reintroduced population at a range of predator densities when no data are available for the species in the presence of that predator. North Island saddlebacks were extirpated from mainland New Zealand by introduced mammalian predators, particularly ship rats, but are now being considered for reintroduction to sites with intensive predator control. We first model data from previous saddleback reintroductions to predator-free sites to predict population growth at a new predator-free site. We then predict population growth at different rat tracking rates by incorporating a previously modelled relationship between rat tracking and vital rates of another predator-sensitive species (the North Island robin), and account for the greater vulnerability of saddlebacks to rat predation using information on historical declines of both species. Our results suggest that saddlebacks could be successfully reintroduced to mainland sites with very low rat densities. This approach allows population growth to be predicted as a function of management effort while accounting for uncertainty.
Lea Randall(1), Richard A. Griffiths(2), Gemma Harding(2), Natasha Lloyd(1), Axel Moehrenschlager(1)
1. Calgary Zoological Society
2. University of Kent
Translocations as a tool to mitigate development impacts: conservation or cosmetic surgery for species at-risk?
Mitigation translocation involves moving animals that would otherwise be destroyed or negatively affected by development activities to an alternate release site. Mitigation translocations are conservation translocations if they benefit at-risk species or populations. The use of translocation as a mitigation measure for threatened amphibians and reptiles are increasing worldwide, but conservation targets are often not clear and risks to the target species can be high. The practice can result in injury, mortality, stress and exposure to pathogens and genetic risks for the translocated animals or animals at the release site. Little is known about the success of these types of translocations but success rates are often low, mainly due to dispersal from the release site or homing to the collection site, or because release sites lack suitable habitat to meet the needs of all life-stages. For these reasons, translocations should only occur when all other alternatives to avoid and minimize project impacts on the species are exhausted. Best management practices are needed to avoid mitigation translocations, and if translocation cannot be avoided, clearer guidance is required on how to plan, implement, and monitor translocations. We compare the logistical, political and conservation issues associated with mitigation translocations in the UK and Canada.
Marcelo L. Rheingantz(1), Fernando A.S. Fernandez(1), Luisa Genes(1), CF Kenup(1), M Galliez(2), T Cezimbra(1), Bruno Cid(1), L Macedo(1), BBA Araujo(1), BS Moraes(1), A Monjeau(3), C Kreischer(1), P Uchoa(1), R Sepulvida(1), A Landim(1), Alexandra S. Pires(4)
1. Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro
2. Instituto Federal do Rio de Janeiro
3. Fondación Bariloche & Conicet
4. Universdiade Federal Rural do Rio de Janeiro
Refaunating the Brazilian Atlantic Forest to restore lost ecological interactions
Wildlife local extinctions and populations decrease in Neotropical forests result in the loss of ecological interactions, affecting ecological systems as a whole. Refaunation is one of the few viable strategies to reverse those trends. In the Brazilian Atlantic Forest, most areas have lost most of their medium and large-sized seed dispersers, with the need to reintroduce sets of species. We started by evaluating local extinctions and developing the REFAUNA network to connect researchers, reserve managers and animal keepers throughout the biome. In 2010, we started the REFAUNA project by reintroducing two seed dispersers to Tijuca National Park, Rio de Janeiro: red-humped agouti and brown howler monkey. There are other species on their way, as yellow-footed tortoise. We monitored reintroduced populations regarding demography, spatial patterns, and their effect on ecological interactions. The agouti population is well-established and still growing and expanding spatially. We have released six howlers and need new translocations. Both populations interacted with several plant species, including large-seeded ones. Howlers interacted with more than 60species, with 21 dung-beetle species associated with their fecesm. Agoutis interacted with at least 23 plant species, some being buried only in areas with them. As TNP lacked medium and large-sized frugivores, the increased dispersal can have a disproportional effect on forest regeneration. Among the main constraints we point out delays to obtain environmental licenses, scarcity of source populations and difficulties regarding quarantine, release and monitoring of the animals. Refaunation has shown promise as a low-cost, effective way to restore ecological processes in defaunated areas.
François Sarrazin(1), S. Ferjani2,(3), A Morin(1), Charles Thevenin(1), Jean-Baptiste Mihoub(1), Alexandre Robert(1), B Colas(2)
1. CESCO (UMR 7204, MNHN, CNRS, SU)
2. ESE (UMR 8079, UPSud, CNRS, AgroParisTech)
3. BBEES (UMS 3468, CNRS, MNHN)
Sharing translocations outputs: toward a webdatabase on Conservation Translocations of Flora and Fauna in the Western Paleartic
In order to improve the efficiency of conservation translocations and particularly reintroductions, many authors advocate adaptive management, shared success criteria and dissemination of results. However, a large number of past reintroductions, including unsuccessful ones, are poorly documented and hard to identify. In that context, we developed a webdatabase on conservation translocations of flora and fauna in an area covering geographical Europe and non-European Mediterranean territories, i.e. a large part of the Western Palearctic. Up to March 2018, we have identified more than 860 translocations of plant populations and 530 reintroduction programmes of animals i.e. mostly angiosperms, birds and mammals but also gymnosperms, mosses, ferns, reptiles, amphibians, fishes and insects. We standardized data on release strategies and locations, biological material, post-translocation monitoring and results in term of population dynamics. We made available most sources of information, including references, websites, personal communications... For each programme, an index provides an overview of knowledge gaps. This webdatabase gives a free access to the list of past and ongoing programmes per taxon and location. It allows anyone to check whether his/her programme is actually considered or missing in the database. In a collaborative process, managers of past and ongoing translocation projects are welcome to add and/or edit data, upon request to the database managers. The main objectives of this collective webdatabase are (i) to support meta-analyses on translocations management and success, and (ii) to improve networking activities among a large diversity of translocation scientists, practitioners and stakeholders, and inform future managers on past implemented translocations.
Philip J. Seddon(1), Kent Redford(2)
1. University of Otago, New Zealand
2. Archipelago Consulting, USA
Synthetic biology and reintroductions: implications for conservation translocations
Synthetic biology has the potential to bypass the process of evolution to create a new way of working with living systems. Fundamentally, synthetic biologists seek to design and build engineered biological systems with capabilities that might not exist in natural systems - capabilities that could be applied in manufacturing, food production, and global health. Technological developments under the broad umbrella of synthetic biology relate to a massively improved efficiency and precision in the ability to read and to write genetic material. We outline three areas where synthetic biology tools, in the widest sense, could be applied to efforts to establish new free-ranging populations of species through conservation translocations: founder preparation, including engineering specific traits, epigenetic engineering, microbiome engineering, de-extinction and the creation of hybrid forms, and the anticipation of future environmental conditions; release-site preparation, including pest species eradication, community engineering, and enhanced ecological restoration; and post-release monitoring and management. We also consider wider developments in synthetic biology applications that could hinder conservation translocation efforts.
Julie Sherman(1), Kay H. Farmer(1), Elizabeth A. Williamson(1),(2), Steve Unwin(3), Sonya M. Kahlenberg(4), Anne Russon(5), Susan M. Cheyne(6),(7), Tatyana Humle(8), Natalie Mylniczenko(9), Elizabeth J. Macfie(10), Serge Wich(11)
1. Wildlife Impact
2. Faculty of Natural Sciences, University of Stirling, UK
3. Chester Zoo
4. Gorilla Rehabilitation and Conservation Education Center
5. Psychology Dept., Glendon College of York University, Canada
6. Borneo Nature Foundation
7. IUCN SSC PSG Section on Small Apes
8. Durrell Institute of Conservation and Ecology (DICE), School of Anthropology and Conservation, University of Kent, Canterbury, UK
9. Disney's Animals, Science and Environment
10. IUCN SSC Primate Specialist Group Section on Great Apes
11. Liverpool John Moores University
Ape reintroduction: addressing misconceptions through methodology development and technical advisory resources
Reintroduction or translocation of wild-born orphaned primates into natural habitats is widely practiced for species recovery, but is rarely analyzed for its conservation impact or effectiveness. This is largely because tools such as IUCN reintroduction guidelines are misunderstood, ignored or misapplied. In particular, analysis of potential risks to wild populations and alternative activities for species conservation, including "no action" (no reintroduction), are underutilized. This paper presents a synopsis of issues and misconceptions encountered in ape reintroductions and translocations. It also presents an example of a Grauer's gorilla (Gorilla beringei graueri) reintroduction methodology that uses IUCN guidelines and other available tools and knowledge to assess potential impacts and effectiveness relative to the circumstances of the proposed release and to alternate conservation activities. Conservation NGO Wildlife Impact (WI) established an Ape Reintroduction Committee (ARC), composed of independent scientific advisors, to assist ape release practitioners and funders to interpret and implement IUCN guidelines, including feasibility assessments and alternative actions to enhance population viability. The Gorilla Rehabilitation and Conservation Education Center (GRACE) in Democratic Republic of Congo contracted WI in 2017 to develop a methodology for potential release of its orphaned Grauer's gorillas. This potential gorilla release methodology, created with input from the ARC and other experts working in the region, included advice on release candidate selection, social dynamics, disease risk, post-release monitoring and consideration of alternative actions. These tools provide a basis for making objective decisions about the relative costs and benefits of reintroduction and alternative species conservation activities.
1. San Diego Zoo
Using multidisciplinary research in behavior, ecology, physiology and genetics to develop a translocation model for the endangered Stephens' kangaroo rat
Conservation translocations reintroduce species to parts of their historic range to facilitate recovery. Though a popular tool, most translocations fail. Mortality during the establishment period has long been attributed to the behavioral responses of the translocated animals. Immediate rejection and long distance movement, "dispersal" from the release site is common and makes newly release animals easy targets for predators. The role of stress in release success is less clear. We conducted a series of controlled experiments with the endangered Stephens' kangaroo rat, (Dipodomys stephensi) to develop a translocation model for the species within an adaptive management framework. In particular, we examined the effect of founder group social relationships, conspecific attraction, apex predator scent cues, stress and habitat preferences on release success and used genetics, long term post-release assessments and population modeling to assess establishment, growth and population viability. Kangaroo rats translocated in neighbor groups were significantly more likely to survive and reproduce compared to those moved with strangers. Conspecific and top predator cue placement at the release site improved short term fitness and kangaroo rats preferred to settle on sites prepared with prescribed fire to those managed with grazing or mowing. While kangaroo rats showed increases in stress hormones during translocation, there was no effect of stress on post-release fitness. Our genetic and long-term monitoring results show that we established viable populations of Stephens' kangaroo rats using translocation. Our program highlights the value of using multidisciplinary research in an adaptive management framework for assessing and improving release programs.
Mark Stanley Price(1)
1. Wildlife Conservation Research Unit (WildCRU) at the University of Oxford, UK
Our future nature: will reintroduction play a constructive role in it?
Reintroductions, or at least releases, of plants and animals have seen explosive growth over the last few decades, which is to be celebrated. Conventionally, these actions are a reaction to restore missing components of pre-existing communities.
But, Nature, as communities and ecosystems, are facing profound change, as conventional threats intensify; in addition, the reality of climate change as both a direct threat and driver of further threats is increasingly evident, and appreciated to far greater extent than ten to 15 years ago.
Consequently, species are moving of their own accord, and novel ecosystems are a real prospect.
There are two fundamental objectives in conservation today. The first is the wish to maintain or enhance ecological processes or, from an anthropocentric position, 'ecosystem services'. The second is the long-established reality that botanic gardens and zoos cannot house all the species that will need guaranteed security against extinction in their wild habitats.
I will use this situation to suggest that true reintroduction success is elusive in a changing world, and that conservationists should move from reactive thinking and actions to being more predictive. This will require changes in attitudes, policies, and foci of attention. My talk will look at the potential for translocations outside indigenous range, in support of ecological processes and the continued existence of wild populations, touching on the issue of re-wilding as part of our future Nature.
Levi Collier-Robinson (Ngāti Apa ki te rā to, Ngāi Tahu)(1),*, Aisling Rayne(1),*, Makarini Rupene (Ngāi Tuāhuriri, Ngāi Tahu)(2), Channell Thoms (Ngāti Kuri, Ngāi Tahu)(1), Angus McIntosh(1), Roger Moraga(3), Tammy Steeves(1)
1. School of Biological Sciences, University of Canterbury, Christchurch, New Zealand
2. Ngāi Tahu Research Centre, Christchurch, New Zealand
3. Tea Break Bioinformatics Ltd, Palmerston North, New Zealand
Critical first steps towards building resilience in two threatened New Zealand freshwater endemics
Recent genomic advances promise to better enable the characterisation of adaptive potential in threatened species, and there is growing interest in shifting focus away from maintaining the evolutionary distinctiveness of relatively small, isolated populations towards maximising the adaptive potential of relatively large, connected metapopulations to improve conservation outcomes. There is also growing recognition in primary industry (e.g., agriculture, fisheries, aquaculture) that embedding conservation genetic principles can lead to improved outcomes, particularly for species that currently exist as a series of small, isolated populations. In partnership with Ngāi Tūāhuriri (indigenous tribe/Māori iwi), we have identified two such species of importance: the critically endangered taonga (treasured) species, kōwaro/Canterbury mudfish (Neochanna burrowsius) and the declining mahinga kai (traditional food source) species, kekewai/freshwater crayfish (Paranephrops zealandicus). Whereas kōwaro are currently being translocated to enhance species recovery in Ngāi Tūāhuriri's takiwā (region), translocations are being considered for kekewai to enhance sustainable customary and commercial harvest. To date, we have co-developed an iterative decision timeline that includes sample handling, sequencing technologies, sequencing facilities, data handling and data storage. To generate de novo kōwaro and kekewai genomes, we have sampled individuals - using tau kōura (fern bundles) for kekewai - from two culturally significant locations. We are using these reference genomes to characterise adaptive potential in kōwaro and kekewai using Genotyping-by-Sequencing (GBS) data combined with extensive ecological and environmental data for both species. Kōwaro and kekewai are two of five taxonomically diverse Aotearoa (New Zealand) endemics that are the focus of a larger interdisciplinary project that seeks to integrate mātauranga Māori (indigenous knowledge) with western science to develop a culturally-responsive, evidence-based position statement regarding the benefits and risks of prioritising adaptive potential to build resilience in threatened taonga species, including mahinga kai species destined for customary or commercial harvest.
Duncan Sutherland(1), Peter Dann(1), Amy Coetsee(2)
1. Phillip Island Nature Parks, PO Box 97, Cowes, Victoria 3922, Australia
2. Zoos Victoria, Elliott Avenue, Parkville, Victoria 3052, Australia
Implementing trial translocations for community engagement to support releases to large inhabited islands
Conservation of fauna threatened by introduced predators may be possible only in predator free environments and the best prospects for this to be sustained in the long-term and at large scales is on large offshore islands. Many large offshore islands are permanently inhabited by people, which present logistical as well as socio-political challenges. Translocating fauna to inhabited islands comes with uncertainties: the species may not persist due to unrecognised or unmanaged threats; but equally importantly, the community can fear unknown consequences. Large inhabited islands are frontiers for achieving pest eradications and successful translocations, but offer enormous potential benefits.
An ambitious introduction of the Critically Endangered eastern barred bandicoot (Perameles gunnii) to two large inhabited islands in south eastern Australia, Phillip and French Islands, was proposed as the islands now provide abundant habitat free of foxes, the primary threat to the bandicoots. To help engage with the communities and address their potential concerns about the introduction, a two year trial release was conducted on a small neighbouring island. Residents could visit this demonstration site, engage with researchers and see what they might expect from an introduction to their island.
The demonstration site has been invaluable for garnering community support. Bandicoots were successfully released to Phillip Island in October 2017 and plans are underway for a release to French Island. Proactive community engagement has enabled the vision to create safe havens where species can be reintroduced or even introduced to recover threatened species.
Amanda E. Trask(1), Eric M. Bignal(2), Davy I. McCracken(3), Pat Monaghan(4), Stuart B. Piertney(1), Jane M. Reid(1)
1. School of Biological Sciences, University of Aberdeen, Aberdeen, UK
2. Scottish Chough Study Group, Isle of Islay, Argyll, UK
3. Future Farming Systems, Scotland's Rural College, Ayr, UK
4. Institute of Biodiversity, Animal Health & Comparative Medicine, University of Glasgow, Glasgow, UK
Integrating demography, ecology and genetics to evaluate the case for population reinforcements in a threatened population of red-billed choughs
Small, isolated populations can face genetic threats from inbreeding and genetic drift, such that population reinforcements via translocations may be required to reestablish gene flow and ensure population viability. However, such populations also often face immediate ecological threats. Designing effective management strategies then requires quantitative assessment of the relative impacts of genetic and ecological threats, and of the relative time-scales over which they operate. We used long-term demographic data from a UK red-billed chough (Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax) population of high conservation concern to identify and evaluate demographic, ecological and genetic mechanisms constraining population growth rate and thereby rigorously evaluate the scientific case for translocations. We used data on sex- and age-specific reproduction and survival to demonstrate that effective population size is critically small, such that inbreeding will increase rapidly over future generations. Further, we demonstrate that occurrences of blindness observed in chough nestlings exactly matches that expected given Mendelian inheritance of a single-locus recessive mutation, providing rare evidence of the expression of a lethal recessive allele in a wild population of conservation concern. We then built a genetically-explicit individual-based model to simulate joint genetic and ecological effects on stochastic demography to infer population viability under different combinations of genetic (translocations) and ecological (habitat management and food supplementation) management scenarios. Our results suggest that translocations are required to ensure long-term population viability, contingent on continued ecological management. Overall, we demonstrate the need to consider holistic threats to wild populations over different time-scales, to design management strategies that maximise long-term population persistence probability.
Thomas H. White, Jr.(1), Yara de Melo Barros(2), Pedro F. Develey(3), Iván C. Llerandi-Román(4),Omar A. Monsegur-Rivera(5), Ana M. Trujillo-Pinto(6)
1. United States Fish & Wildlife Service, Puerto Rican Parrot Recovery Program, Rio Grande, Puerto Rico
2. Foz Tropicana Parque das Aves, Foz do Iguaçu, PR, Brasil
3. BirdLife/SAVE Brasil, São Paulo, SP, Brasil
4,5. Puerto Rico Department of Natural & Environmental Resources, San Juan, Puerto Rico
5,6. Department of Environmental Science, University of Puerto Rico, Rio Piedras, Puerto Rico
Improving reintroduction planning and implementation through quantitative SWOT analysis
Recent decades have seen increasing use and importance of translocations and reintroductions as tools for species' conservation and ecological restorations. Most such efforts face substantial logistical complexities and high costs, both biological and financial. These and other challenges have contributed to numerous failures or partial successes of reintroductions, a trend which has improved little over time. Given the negative ramifications of reintroduction failures, practitioners have adopted or developed numerous analytical and procedural methods in efforts to promote successful outcomes. However, many such methods are often ad hoc or taxon-specific, particularly regarding the evaluation and selection of reintroduction areas and sites. Despite the recognized importance of this phase of reintroduction planning, there is to date no comprehensive methodology for selecting suitable reintroduction sites. We describe in detail the application of quantitative SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) analysis for objectively evaluating candidate reintroduction areas or sites, and how results of this analysis are used for identifying the most effective and efficient management actions for promoting reintroduction success. We use examples drawn from recent reintroduction plans for three avian species in Puerto Rico (1) and Brazil (2) to illustrate specific methodologies used as well as the results obtained and their application to the reintroduction planning and implementation process. From our findings, quantitative SWOT analysis is a simple, versatile, repeatable and intuitive method for reintroduction area and site selection. The method also provides a valuable mechanism for evaluating and prioritizing management actions relative to their efficiency and effectiveness for achieving reintroduction objectives.