• Automated telemetry reveals post-reintroduction exploratory behavior and movement patterns of an endangered corvid, ʻAlalā (Corvus hawaiiensis) in Hawaiʻi, USA

      Smetzer, Jennifer R.; Greggor, Alison L.; Paxton, Kristina L.; Masuda, Bryce M.; Paxton, Eben H. (2021)
      Continuous movement monitoring is a powerful tool for evaluating reintroduction techniques and assessing how well reintroduced animals are adjusting to the wild. However, to date, continuous monitoring has only occurred for large-bodied species capable of carrying heavy tracking devices. In this study we used an automated VHF radio telemetry array to investigate the exploratory behavior and movement patterns of critically endangered ?Alal? (Corvus hawaiiensis), reintroduced to the Island of Hawai?i in 2017. The 11 juvenile ?Alal? we tracked exhibited high site fidelity and initial survival. Over time the birds showed decreased time spent at the supplemental feeders, and transitioned to more focused use of the landscape, suggesting increased foraging on wild food items. Birds with seemingly less spatial neophobia at release also made larger post-release exploratory movements. This study provides the first evidence that 1) supplemental feeding can support site fidelity for reintroduced ?Alal? without restricting a transition to independent foraging, and 2) that pre-release personality metrics may be useful predictors for predicting post-release movements of ?Alal?. Our work is the first to demonstrate the utility and power of automated telemetry for monitoring the reintroduction of small species.
    • Benefits of overwintering in the conservation breeding and translocation of a critically endangered amphibian

      Calatayud, Natalie E.; Hammond, Talisin T.; Gardner, Nicole R.; Curtis, Michelle J.; Swaisgood, Ronald R.; Shier, Debra M. (2020)
      At high altitudes, amphibians brumate (over winter) during the winter months, an adaptation that provides protection from harsh weather and minimizes metabolic demand when food resources are scarce. However, brumation in ex situ populations is often avoided due to concerns regarding slow growth rates, compromised immunity, and increased morbidity, and to accelerate growth and sexual maturation. Running counter to these ideas is the hypothesis that husbandry that mimics the environmental conditions under which a species evolved may benefit animal health and reproduction. This may be particularly critical for animals slated for release into the wild. Here, we evaluated the effects of brumation on juvenile southern mountain yellow-legged frogs (Rana muscosa) in a conservation breeding and release program. Growth measurements, (weight and snout-urostyle length [SUL]), were examined in three experimental groups: Nonbrumated, 1 or 3-month brumation. Postrelease survival was also analyzed and compared between nonbrumated and 3-month brumated frogs. This study indicates that brumated R. muscosa juveniles grow to sizes and weights similar to controls within 3 to 4 months following brumation. Mark-recapture models suggested that short-term postrelease survival was not lower and in fact, may be higher in brumated compared to nonbrumated frogs. Results of this study indicate that although brumation entails short-term costs to growth, this species possesses compensatory growth mechanisms following brumation which allow them to attain similar body size to nonbrumated conspecifics in time for the next winter and that for frogs destined for translocation to the wild, brumation could improve survival outcomes.
    • Climate suitability as a predictor of conservation translocation failure

      Bellis, Joe; Bourke, David; Maschinski, Joyce; Heineman, Katherine D.; Dalrymple, Sarah (2020)
      …We used species distribution models (SDMs) to predict the climate suitability of 102 release sites for amphibians, reptiles and terrestrial insects and compared suitability predictions between successful and failed attempts. We then quantified the importance of climate suitability relative to five other variables frequently considered in the literature to be important determinants of translocation success: number of release years, number of individuals released, life stage released, origin of the source population and position of the release site relative to the species’ range….
    • Epidemiology of ulcerative shell disease in Colombian slider turtles (Trachemys callirostris) in a wildlife facility in Colombia between 2005 and 2009

      Castro, Andrés Alejandro; Vivas, Zoila A.; Brieva, Claudia I.; Witte, Carmel L. (2014)
      ...This is the first epidemiological study of this disease in turtles in a wildlife rehabilitation facility anywhere in the world.
    • Guidelines for large herbivore translocation simplified: black rhinoceros case study

      Linklater, Wayne L.; Adcock, K.; du Preez, P.; Swaisgood, Ronald R.; Law, P. R.; Knight, M. H.; Gedir, J. V.; Kerley, G. I. H. (2011)
      ...We apply a 25‐year (1981–2005) data base including 89 reintroduction and 102 restocking events that released 682 black rhinoceros Diceros bicornis into 81 reserves to test 24 hypotheses for translocation success, defined as survival to 1 year post‐release. We made information‐theoretic comparisons of hypotheses represented as hierarchical models incorporating random effects for reserve and release cohort predictors of death....
    • Translocations as experiments in the ecological resilience of an asocial mega-herbivore

      Linklater, W.L.; Gedir, J.V.; Law, P.R.; Swaisgood, Ronald R.; Adcock, K.; Du Preez, P.; Knight, M.; Kerley, G.I. (2012)
      Species translocations are remarkable experiments in evolutionary ecology, and increasingly critical to biodiversity conservation. Elaborate socio-ecological hypotheses for translocation success, based on theoretical fitness relationships, are untested and lead to complex uncertainty rather than parsimonious solutions. We used an extraordinary 89 reintroduction and 102 restocking events releasing 682 black rhinoceros (Diceros bicornis) to 81 reserves in southern Africa (1981–2005) to test the influence of interacting socio-ecological and individual characters on post-release survival.....