• Altitudinal movements of Guizhou snub-nosed monkeys (Rhinopithecus brelichi) in Fanjingshang National Nature Reserve, China: Implications for conservation management of a flagship species

      Niu, K.; Tan, C.L.; Yang, Y.; (2010)
      Primate movements can include a substantial altitudinal component, depending on the complexity of the landscape and the distribution of the inherent vegetation zones. We investigated altitudinal movements of Guizhou snub-nosed monkeys (Rhinopithecus brelichi) at Fanjingshan National Nature Reserve, China. The monkeys ranged at elevations between 1,350 and 1,870 m with an overall mean of 1,660 m….
    • Applying SNP-derived molecular coancestry estimates to captive breeding programs

      Ivy, Jamie A.; Putnam, Andrea S.; Navarro, Asako Y.; Gurr, Jessica; Ryder, Oliver A. (2016)
      ...Although pedigree-based breeding strategies are quite effective at retaining long-term genetic variation, management of zoo-based breeding programs continues to be hampered when pedigrees are poorly known. The objective of this study was to evaluate 2 options for generating single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) data to resolve unknown relationships within captive breeding programs...
    • Assessing California's Relocation Guidelines for Burrowing Owls Impacted by Renewable Energy Development.

      Hennessy, Sarah McCullough; Wisinski, Colleen; Ronan, Noelle; Gregory, Chris; Swaisgood, Ronald R.; Nordstrom, Lisa A. (California Energy Commission, 2020)
      Once common and widespread throughout the western United States and Canada, the western burrowing owl (Athene cunicularia hypugaea) population has declined to the point where the species is now designated as a Species of Special Concern in California. Their presence in development areas, including renewable energy facilities, necessitates an effective strategy for protecting them. This study is the first of its kind to test both passive and active relocation techniques with burrowing owls and evaluate their relative effectiveness with and without the addition of conspecific cues (such as acoustic playback of owl calls and imitation whitewash to attract the owls)....
    • Assessing evolutionary processes over time in a conservation breeding program: A combined approach using molecular data, simulations and pedigree analysis

      Wright, Belinda R.; Hogg, Carolyn J.; McLennan, Elspeth A.; Belov, Katherine; Grueber, Catherine E. (2021)
      …We have quantified the effects of selection, drift and gene flow in 503 individuals across five generations from the Tasmanian devil insurance population. To determine whether different processes were acting in different settings, we separately analysed animals housed under individual-based management, versus those that were released to an island site. We found that a greater proportion of alleles were lost over time in the smaller island population than in captivity and propose that genetic drift is the most likely process influencing this result….
    • 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.
    • Bringing the Tiger Back from the Brink—The Six Percent Solution

      Walston, Joe; Robinson, John G.; Bennett, Elizabeth L.; Breitenmoser, Urs; Fonseca, Gustavo A. B. da; Goodrich, John; Gumal, Melvin; Hunter, Luke; Johnson, Arlyne; Karanth, K. Ullas; et al. (2010)
      ...Wild tiger numbers are at an historic low. There is no evidence of breeding populations of tigers in Cambodia, China, Vietnam, and DPR Korea. Current approaches to tiger conservation are not slowing the decline in tiger numbers [1]–[3], which has continued unabated over the last two decades. While the scale of the challenge is enormous, we submit that the complexity of effective implementation is not: commitments should shift to focus on protecting tigers at spatially well-defined priority sites, supported by proven best practices of law enforcement, wildlife management, and scientific monitoring. Conflict with local people needs to be mitigated. We argue that such a shift in emphasis would reverse the decline of wild tigers and do so in a rapid and cost-efficient manner....
    • 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….
    • Comparison of thiafenantil-xylazine and carfentanil-xylazine for immobilization of gemsbok (Oryx gazella)

      Kilgallon, Conor P.; Lamberski, Nadine; Larsen, R. Scott; (2010)
      This study compared immobilization of gemsbok (Oryx gazella) using thiafentanil-xylazine (TX) versus carfentanil-xylazine (CX). Twelve adult gemsboks were divided into two groups, TX and CX. Each group received either 6 mg thiafentanil (0.036 µg/kg (0.032–0.040 µg/kg) and 20 mg xylazine (TX) or 3.6 mg carfentanil (0.021 µg/kg (0.017–0.024 µg/kg) and 20 mg xylazine (CX)….
    • Conservation implications of inaccurate estimation of cryptic population size: Inaccurate estimation of cryptic population size

      Katzner, T. E.; Ivy, Jamie A.; Bragin, E. A.; Milner-Gulland, E.J.; DeWoody, J. A. (2011)
      ...Estimating population size is central to species‐oriented conservation and management. However, in spite of recent development in monitoring protocols, there are gaps in our ability to accurately and quickly estimate numbers of individuals present, especially for the cryptic and often non‐breeding components of structured vertebrate populations. Yet knowing the size and growth trajectory of all stage classes of a population is critical for species conservation. Here we use data from 2 years of non‐invasive genetic sample collection from the cryptic, non‐breeding component of an endangered bird of prey population to evaluate the impact of variability in population estimates on demographic models that underpin conservation efforts....
    • Development of a SNP-based assay for measuring genetic diversity in the Tasmanian devil insurance population

      Wright, Belinda; Morris, Katrina; Grueber, Catherine E.; Willet, Cali E.; Gooley, Rebecca; Hogg, Carolyn J.; O’Meally, Denis; Hamede, Rodrigo; Jones, Menna; Wade, Claire; et al. (2015)
      The Tasmanian devil (Sarcophilus harrisii) has undergone a recent, drastic population decline due to the highly contagious devil facial tumor disease. The tumor is one of only two naturally occurring transmissible cancers and is almost inevitably fatal. In 2006 a disease-free insurance population was established to ensure that the Tasmanian devil is protected from extinction. The insurance program is dependent upon preserving as much wild genetic diversity as possible to maximize the success of subsequent reintroductions to the wild. Accurate genotypic data is vital to the success of the program to ensure that loss of genetic diversity does not occur in captivity. Until recently, microsatellite markers have been used to study devil population genetics, however as genetic diversity is low in the devil and potentially decreasing in the captive population, a more sensitive genotyping assay is required.
    • Disorders of sexual development in wild and captive exotic animals

      Mastromonaco, G. F.; Houck, Marlys L.; Bergfelt, D. R. (2012)
      ...Compared to the wealth of information available on humans and domestic species, a better understanding of the factors influencing sexual development in wildlife is essential for developing and improving population management or conservation plans. This review attempts to bring together the different facets of DSDs as studied in the fields of reproductive physiology, endocrinology, ecotoxicology, wildlife biology, and environmental health.
    • Evaluating potential effects of solar power facilities on wildlife from an animal behavior perspective

      Chock, Rachel Y.; Clucas, Barbara; Peterson, Elizabeth K.; Blackwell, Bradley F.; Blumstein, Daniel T.; Church, Kathleen; Fernández-Juricic, Esteban; Francescoli, Gabriel; Greggor, Alison L.; Kemp, Paul; et al. (2021)
      Solar power is a renewable energy source with great potential to help meet increasing global energy demands and reduce our reliance on fossil fuels. However, research is scarce on how solar facilities affect wildlife. With input from professionals in ecology, conservation, and energy, we conducted a research-prioritization process and identified key questions needed to better understand impacts of solar facilities on wildlife. We focused on animal behavior, which can be used to identify population responses before mortality or other fitness consequences are documented. Behavioral studies can also offer approaches to understand the mechanisms leading to negative interactions (e.g., collision, singeing, avoidance) and provide insight into mitigating effects. Here, we review how behavioral responses to solar facilities, including perception, movement, habitat use, and interspecific interactions are priority research areas. Addressing these themes will lead to a more comprehensive understanding of the effects of solar power on wildlife and guide future mitigation.
    • 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....
    • High blood lead concentrations in captive Tasmanian devils (Sarcophilus harrisii): a threat to the conservation of the species?

      Hivert, L. G.; Clarke, J. R.; Peck, S. J.; Lawrence, C.; Brown, W. E.; Huxtable, Stewart J.; Schaap, D.; Pemberton, David; Grueber, Catherine E. (2018)
      The Tasmanian devil (Sarcophilus harrisii) is the world’s largest extant marsupial carnivore. Since the emergence of devil facial tumour disease in 1996, the species has undergone a severe population decline....
    • Impacts of early viability selection on management of inbreeding and genetic diversity in conservation

      Grueber, Catherine E.; Hogg, Carolyn J.; Ivy, Jamie A.; Belov, Katherine (2015)
      Maintaining genetic diversity is a crucial goal of intensive management of threatened species, particularly for those populations that act as sources for translocation or re‐introduction programmes. Most captive genetic management is based on pedigrees and a neutral theory of inheritance, an assumption that may be violated by selective forces operating in captivity. Here, we explore the conservation consequences of early viability selection: differential offspring survival that occurs prior to management or research observations, such as embryo deaths in utero....
    • In-air auditory psychophysics and the management of a threatened carnivore, the polar bear (Ursus maritimus)

      Owen, Megan A.; AE, Bowles (2011)
      Management criteria for preventing biologically-significant noise disturbance in large terrestrial mammals have not been developed based on a sound, empirical understanding of their sensory ecology. Polar bear (Ursus maritimus) maternal denning areas on the coastal plain of Alaska’s North Slope hold large petroleum reserves and will be subject to increased development in the future. Anthropogenic noise could adversely affect polar bears by disrupting intra-specific communication, altering habitat use, or causing behavioral and physiological stress. However, little is known about the hearing of any large, carnivorous mammal, including bears; so, management criteria currently in use to protect denning female polar bears may or may not be proportionate and effective. As part of a comprehensive effort to develop efficient, defensible criteria we used behavioral psycho acousticmethods to test in-air hearing sensitivity of five polar bears at frequencies between 125 Hz and 31.5kHz. Results showed best sensitivity between 8 and 14 kHz. Sensitivity declined sharply between 14and 25 kHz, suggesting an upper limit of hearing 10-20 kHz below that of small carnivores. Low frequency sensitivity was comparable to that of the domestic dog, and a decline in functional hearingwas observed at 125 Hz. Thresholds will be used to develop efficient exposure metrics, which will be needed increasingly as the Arctic is developed and effects of disturbance are intensified by anticipated declines in polar bear health and reproduction associated with climate change driven sea ice losses.
    • Increasing generations in captivity is associated with increased vulnerability of Tasmanian devils to vehicle strike following release to the wild

      Grueber, Catherine E.; Reid-Wainscoat, Elizabeth E.; Fox, Samantha; Belov, Katherine; Shier, Debra M.; Hogg, Carolyn J.; Pemberton, David (2017)
      Captive breeding of threatened species, for release to the wild, is critical for conservation. This strategy, however, risks producing captive-raised animals with traits poorly suited to the wild. We describe the first study to characterise accumulated consequences of long-term captive breeding on behaviour, by following the release of Tasmanian devils to the wild. We test the impact of prolonged captive breeding on the probability that captive-raised animals are fatally struck by vehicles. Multiple generations of captive breeding increased the probability that individuals were fatally struck, a pattern that could not be explained by other confounding factors (e.g. age or release site). Our results imply that long-term captive breeding programs may produce animals that are naïve to the risks of the post-release environment. Our analyses have already induced changes in management policy of this endangered species, and serve as model of productive synergy between ecological monitoring and conservation strategy.
    • Lead poisoning and the deceptive recovery of the critically endangered California condor

      Finkelstein, M. E.; Doak, D. F.; George, D.; Burnett, J.; Brandt, J.; Church, Molly; Grantham, J.; Smith, D. R. (2012)
      ...California condors were brought to the brink of extinction, in part, because of lead poisoning, and lead poisoning remains a significant threat today. We evaluated individual lead-related health effects, the efficacy of current efforts to prevent lead-caused deaths, and the consequences of any reduction in currently intensive management actions....