• Body size, demography, and body condition in Ctenosaura bakeri

      Pasachnik, Stesha A.; Montgomery, C.E.; Martinez, A.; Belal, N.; Clayson, S.; Faulkner, S. (2012)
      Abstract.—Utila Spiny-tailed Iguanas, Ctenosaura bakeri, are listed as Critically Endangered by the IUCN Redlist Assessment and are listed under Appendix II of CITES. This species occupies a portion of Utila, a small continental island located off the northern coast of Honduras, in the Bay Islands chain. Habitat destruction and overharvesting for consumption and the pet trade are among the top threats facing this species. Though first described in 1901 (Stejneger) and currently the focus of a local conservation program, little is known concerning that basic biology of this species. Combining data from six years we examined body size, sexual size dimorphism, and changes in demography and body condition over the study period. Our results indicate that males are larger and heavier than females on average, and have a longer tail for a given snout-vent length, as is the case with most iguanas. Over the study period we found an increase in the ratio of males to females, suggesting that female biased hunting pressure is increasing. This is consistent with an increase in the human population size and a preference for consuming gravid females. The body condition of both males and females declined over the duration of the study, which is suggestive of a decrease in habitat quality. These results indicate that the situation for this endangered species is becoming increasingly threatening. Conservation measures should focus on alleviating these threats through increased law enforcement, outreach, and education.
    • Building a new burrowing owl subpopulation through collaboration and translocation

      Wisinski, Colleen L.; Hennessy, Sarah M.; Marczak, Susanne A.; Mayer, D.; Nelson, T.; Nordstrom, Lisa A.; Rice, K.; Sin, H.; Stevens, Michael T.; Swaisgood, Ronald R. (Virtual, 2021)
      The western burrowing owl (BUOW, Athene cunicularia hypugaea)–a California species of special concern–has experienced range-wide declines, including in San Diego County where only one breeding population remained by the 2010s. As such, local conservation goals include increasing the number of breeding sub-populations to guard against extirpation of BUOW from the county. A working group including government agencies, non-profit organizations, and biological consultants was created to carry out adaptive management and conservation planning in support of these goals. Through a systematic and collaborative effort, we identified Rancho Jamul Ecological Reserve (RJER) as the first site for expanding the BUOW population. Site preparation techniques included vegetation management, targeted enhancement of the California ground squirrel (Otospermophilus beecheyi) population, and retrofitting/installation of artificial burrows. Population viability analysis utilizing 3 years of local demographic data predicted positive population growth from a small initial translocation population, and in 2018, we began translocating BUOW to RJER using a soft-release technique. Over three successive breeding seasons, we documented reproduction and retention of translocated owls, recruitment of their offspring, and recruitment of non-translocated owls. Here, we detail our methodologies and success metrics, and discuss leveraging our collaborative efforts to achieve conservation goals with limited resources.
    • Can science save the giant panda (Ailuropoda melanoleuca)? Unifying science and policy in an adaptive management paradigm

      Swaisgood, Ronald R.; Wei, Fuwen; Mcshea, William J.; Wildt, David E.; Kouba, Andrew J.; Zhang, Zejun (2011)
      …Here, we review recent developments in giant panda conservation science and propose a strategic plan for moving panda conservation forward…. Specific threats, such as habitat destruction, anthropogenic disturbance and fragmented nonviable populations, need to be addressed simultaneously by researchers, managers and policy-makers working in concert to understand and overcome these obstacles to species recovery. With the backing of the Chinese Government and the conservation community, the giant panda can become a high-profile test species for this much touted, but rarely implemented, approach to conservation management….
    • Conservation genetics of the black rhinoceros, Diceros bicornis bicornis, in Namibia

      Van Coeverden de Groot, Peter J.; Putnam, Andrea S.; Erb, Peter; Scott, Candace; Melnick, Don; O’Ryan, Colleen; Boag, Peter T. (2011)
      Poaching and habitat destruction across sub-Saharan Africa brought the black rhinoceros (Diceros bicornis) close to extinction. Over the past few decades, however, one of four subspecies, D. b. bicornis, has experienced a significant population increase as a consequence of its protection within Etosha National Park (ENP), Namibia. We report here on the level and spatial distribution of black rhinoceros genetic diversity within ENP….
    • Informing species conservation at multiple scales using data collected for marine mammal stock assessments

      Grech, Alana; Sheppard, James; Marsh, Helene (2011)
      Background Conservation planning and the design of marine protected areas (MPAs) requires spatially explicit information on the distribution of ecological features. Most species of marine mammals range over large areas and across multiple planning regions. The spatial distributions of marine mammals are difficult to predict using habitat modelling at ecological scales because of insufficient understanding of their habitat needs, however, relevant information may be available from surveys conducted to inform mandatory stock assessments. Methodology and Results We use a 20-year time series of systematic aerial surveys of dugong (Dugong dugong) abundance to create spatially-explicit models of dugong distribution and relative density at the scale of the coastal waters of northeast Australia (∼136,000 km2). We interpolated the corrected data at the scale of 2 km * 2 km planning units using geostatistics. Planning units were classified as low, medium, high and very high dugong density on the basis of the relative density of dugongs estimated from the models and a frequency analysis. Torres Strait was identified as the most significant dugong habitat in northeast Australia and the most globally significant habitat known for any member of the Order Sirenia. The models are used by local, State and Federal agencies to inform management decisions related to the Indigenous harvest of dugongs, gill-net fisheries and Australia's National Representative System of Marine Protected Areas. Conclusion/Significance In this paper we demonstrate that spatially-explicit population models add value to data collected for stock assessments, provide a robust alternative to predictive habitat distribution models, and inform species conservation at multiple scales.
    • Morphological and demographic analyses of Ctenosaura melanosterna across its range: Implications for population level management

      Pasachnik, Stesha A.; Montgomery, C.E.; Ruyle, L.E.; Corneal, J.P.; Antunez, E.E. (2012)
      The Black-chested Spiny-tailed Iguana, Ctenosaura melanosterna, is listed as Endangered by the IUCN Redlist Assessment and under Appendix II of CITES. The species has two evolutionarily significant units (ESUs), found in the Valle de Aguán and the Cayos Cochinos Archipelago, Honduras. Each ESU has been shown to be genetically distinct and each is listed, for differing reasons, as Critically Endangered by the IUCN. Habitat destruction and overharvesting for consumption and the pet trade are among the top threats facing the mainland, Valle de Aguán, population. The Cayos Cochinos population faces similar threats to a lesser degree; however, its restricted range (2.2 km2 ) heightens the potential severity of these threats, and makes this population highly susceptible to the impact of hurricanes. We examined body size, demography, and body condition in both populations. Our results show that the average adult size is smaller on the mainland, and there are more than expected small individuals in that population. Additionally the sex ratio is significantly male biased on the mainland relative to the islands. These results demonstrate evidence of a more severe poaching pressure on the mainland that is biased towards larger individuals and females. Body condition index did not differ between the more disturbed mainland area and the more pristine island area, suggesting that habitat alteration does not pose as serious a threat to the mainland population as poaching. Potential negative effects of a restricted range on the morphology and demography of the island ESU were observed. Conservation measures should acknowledge the differences between the ESUs when defining management initiatives for this species.
    • Recent decline in suitable environmental conditions for African great apes

      Junker, Jessica; Blake, Stephen; Boesch, Christophe; Campbell, Geneviève; Toit, Louwrens du; Duvall, Chris; Ekobo, Atanga; Etoga, Gilles; Galat-Luong, Anh; Gamys, Joel; et al. (2012)
      To predict the distribution of suitable environmental conditions (SEC) for eight African great ape taxa for a first time period, the 1990s and then project it to a second time period, the 2000s; to assess the relative importance of factors influencing SEC distribution and to estimate rates of SEC loss, isolation and fragmentation over the last two decades....
    • Regional Action Plan for the Conservation of the Nigeria-Cameroon Chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes ellioti)

      Morgan, Bethan J.; Adeleke, Alade; Bassey, Tony; Bergl, Richard; Dunn, Andrew; Fotso, Roger; Gadsby, Elizabeth; Gonder, Mary Katherine; Greengrass, Elisabeth; Koulagna, Denis Koutou; et al. (IUCN/SSC Primate Specialist Group and Zoological Society of San Diego, 2011)
      This document represents the consensus of views from forestry and wildlife conservation agencies in Nigeria and Cameroon, local and international nongovernmental conservation organizations, and university-based researchers who met at a series of workshops in Cameroon and Nigeria to formulate a set of actions that, if implemented, will increase the long-term survival prospects of the Nigeria-Cameroon chimpanzee.
    • Regional Action Plan for the Conservation of the Nigeria–Cameroon Chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes ellioti)

      Morgan, Bethan J.; Adeleke, Alade; Bassey, Tony; Bergl, Richard; Dunn, Andrew; Fotso, Roger; Gadsby, Elizabeth; Gonder, Mary Katherine; Greengrass, Elisabeth; Koulagna, Denis Koutou; et al. (IUCN/SSC Primate Specialist Group and Zoological Society of San Diego, 2011)
      This document represents the consensus of views from forestry and wildlife conservation agencies in Nigeria and Cameroon, local and international nongovernmental conservation organizations, and university-based researchers who met at a series of workshops in Cameroon and Nigeria to formulate a set of actions that, if implemented, will increase the longterm survival prospects of the Nigeria-Cameroon chimpanzee, Pan troglodytes ellioti. The Nigeria-Cameroon chimpanzee is the most endangered of all currently recognized chimpanzee subspecies, with a total remaining population of between 3,500 and 9,000 living in forested habitat to the north of the Sanaga River in Cameroon, the eastern edge of Nigeria, and in forest fragments in the Niger Delta and southwestern Nigeria
    • Rusty-gray lesser bamboo lemur (Hapalemur meridionalis). The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.

      Donati, Giuseppe; Balestri, M.; Campera, M.; Eppley, Timothy M. (International Union for Conservation of Nature, 2020)
      There is a suspected population reduction of >=30% in this species over a three generation period. Causes of this reduction (which have not ceased) include continuing decline in area, extent and quality of habitat, and exploitation through hunting. Between 1999-2005 habitat loss in the Tsitongambarika Protected Area has been 1.74% per year (Andriamasimanana 2008). A population reduction of ?30% is also suspected to be met in the next 27 years (over a three generation time period) due to the same causes. These causes have not ceased, and will to a large extent not be easily reversible. Of note, it has been estimated that there will be a 21% reduction in the species' range from 2000 to 2080 due to climate change alone (Brown and Yoder 2015). Based on these premises, the species is listed as Vulnerable....