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Translocation of Threatened Species: Criteria for Success

Individuals of a threatened or endangered species are sometimes moved from one area to another within the species’ range as a measure to conserve and protect the species. These “translocations” often fail however, because the translocated individuals are subject to poor habitat quality at the recipient site and thus disperse away from it. A recent study published in the journal Animal Conservation shows that the risk of failure can be minimized, at least for some species, by developing clear goals and success criteria, understanding the species’ biology and the threats it faces, ensuring the quality of the habitat at the new site, and following through with long-term monitoring. The study, “Increasing the chance of successful translocation of a threatened lizard,” was coauthored by Integral scientist Nick Osman. Mr. Osman has performed numerous habitat assessments, listed-species surveys and relocations, wetland delineations, and long-term wildlife studies for clients in the energy, mining, and transportation sectors. Other authors of the study are Earl D. McCoy, Brad Hauch, Adam Emerick, and Henry R. Mushinsky with the Department of Integrative Biology, University of South Florida in Tampa.

The study describes the translocation of more than 500 threatened Florida sand skinks (Plestiodon reynoldsi Stejnegers) from a site slated for mining to a new habitat and how the lizards achieved the study’s first benchmark goal of initial survival and reproduction—a feat few translocations achieve. The study also notes the importance of habitat heterogeneity in species repopulation.

For the full article, visit: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/acv.12145/abstract.

For more information about Integral’s work with threatened and endangered species, contact Damian Preziosi, Director of Integral’s Ecology Practice at dpreziosi@integral-corp.com.

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