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Reintroduction of Fish and Wildlife Populations
By David S. Jachowski, Joshua J. Millspaugh, Paul L. Angermeier, Rob Slotow
UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA PRESSCopyright © 2016 The Regents of the University of California
All rights reserved.
Animal Reintroduction in the Anthropocene
David S. Jachowski, Rob Slotow, Paul L. Angermeier, and JoshuaJ. Millspaugh
After centuries of widespread persecution and extinction of fish and wildlife species at the hands of humans, biodiversity conservation is entering what E. O. Wilson (1992) has termed the "era of restoration." Among restoration techniques, reintroductions are unique by going beyond the traditional conservation objective of holding the line against adverse anthropogenic impacts, and more radically push the line backward by bringing species back to the landscape. Such tactics are likely to become increasingly mainstream as we fully enter the Anthropocene, which brings the specter of the sixth, and perhaps most precipitous, mass extinction in our planet's history.
There has been a boom, over the past 20 years in particular, in the reintroduction of animal species (Chapter 2). Reintroductions have occurred across the globe, and reintroduced species span the spectrum of vertebrate taxa, ranging from crested toads (Peltophryne lemur) in Puerto Rico to Arabian oryx (Oryx leucoryx) in Jordan. At the same time, the success of reintroduced populations has increased. Three decades ago, Griffith et al. (1989) estimated that over half of conservation translocations (a broad grouping that included reintroductions) failed to reestablish self-sustaining populations, leading to wide-scale pessimism about the feasibility of reintroduction in practice. However, the authors of Chapter 2 more optimistically highlight that recent evaluations suggest that only 5% of reintroductions are complete failures, and there are multiple avenues to both define and achieve success in animal reintroduction. Our desire to provide insights into what advances have brought about this rapid improvement, and how to continue this positive trend, is the motivation behind this book.
Reintroduction, the process of releasing a species back to where it historically occurred but had been extirpated by humans, sounds simple enough. However, this progressive side of conservation biology is often expensive and complex. Failed reintroductions are not only wasted conservation resources, but, for threatened species, may further reduce long-term viability through loss of individuals from source populations. Importantly, failed reintroductions can negatively affect public perception of conservation competence, not only in the context of a specific failure, but across conservation practice more broadly, reducing public support and sympathy for biodiversity conservation (Jachowski 2014). We initiated this edited volume to bring together a diverse group of researchers from around the globe to help shed light on which techniques and approaches have worked, which have not, and, more specifically, to provide a synthetic resource for use by practitioners in designing and carrying out reintroductions that promote success.
Most of the techniques and lessons described herein were learned from direct experience and are unreported, or reported in case studies that are widely scattered in published and unpublished sources such as journal articles, other texts, and agency reports. Thus, it is difficult for fish and wildlife biologists and managers considering species reintroduction to be aware of the considerable amount of work that is available in this rapidly advancing field. Furthermore, because experts on terrestrial wildlife may not be aware of findings by experts on fishes, and vice versa, persons considering reintroduction of a specific taxon might not be aware of lessons learned from experience with other species that are likely to be of use in designing strategies to reestablish populations.
These strategies fundamentally begin with selection of the species and determining when and where reintroductions are appropriate (figure 1.1). As discussed in Chapter 3, knowledge of past states of ecosystems is critical when defining the baselines or targets that a reintroduction is meant to restore. Furthermore, while science can reveal environmental baselines, appropriate methodologies, and population trends to inform species restoration, the goals and success criteria of reintroductions are largely derived via social processes. These human dimensions often inherently induce accountability to society, which, given the investments and risks of reintroductions, is imperative for success. Thus, Chapter 4 addresses the roles of social attitudes and perceptions in guiding reintroduction programs.
After a species is targeted for reintroduction, as discussed in Part 2 of this book, careful, continued thought needs to be given to the specific goals a reintroduction project is trying to achieve (figure 1.1). For example, will success be measured through attainment of a certain population size or restoring a certain ecological or social function? To accommodate these complex issues, the concept of a "reintroduction landscape" is introduced in Chapter 5, where practitioners are encouraged to borrow from the field of landscape ecology and take a broad view of the inherent social, institutional, and ecological contexts that are necessary parts of successful reintroduction planning. Once it is determined that a reintroduction is to proceed, as discussed in Chapter 6, careful consideration needs to be given to the specific goals and objectives for the reintroduction, as well as a framework and metrics for measuring success. In particular, a common goal is often achieving a certain restored population size, and thus demographic modeling can be a powerful tool to help guide decision-making prior to and following release (Chapter 7).
Evidence from a wide range of taxa illustrates that prerelease planning often is key to achieving success. Accordingly, Chapters 8 through 10 address potential obstacles to reintroduction success that need to be considered prior to releasing animals into the wild. Practitioners need to account for a variety of genetic issues ranging from selection of release stock to inbreeding or outbreeding depression following release (Chapter 8). Similarly, knowledge of likely physiological, behavioral, and community-level responses is essential for maximizing success (Chapter 9). One of the most pressing issues in reintroduction, as in other conservation actions, is mitigating disease risk for both the translocated animals and the receiving community (Chapter 10). Fortunately, there are multiple techniques for facilitating reintroduction success that can be put into action prior to, during, and following reintroduction (Chapter 11).
Of those reintroductions that succeed in establishing populations, management concerns can arise due to impacts of reintroduced species on the receiving ecosystems. Accordingly, there is a need for strategic guidance on reintroductions to ensure successful, cost-effective management of populations. This guidance includes well-developed monitoring protocols, as well as the integration of monitoring with management decisions (Chapter 12). The expectation that reintroduced populations will be self-sustaining is less common than in the past, with most endangered species being instead considered "conservation reliant." This conservation reliance can manifest as many, often controversial, tactics such as fencing, sport hunting and culling, and contraception (Chapter 13). Thus, following release, populations often need to be continually managed in creative ways to meet conservation objectives that also take into account local, regional, and international socioeconomic concerns (figure 1.1).
A major theme that emerged in crafting this book is that the experiences generated through reintroduction biology have direct relevance to a variety of other dimensions of current conservation, including niche modeling, dispersal ecology, population genetics, climate change, captive propagation, and disease ecology. The development of nuanced understanding of animal reintroduction and its linkages to these fields has given rise to, or has direct application to, several other emerging frontiers in conservation biology such as assisted colonization, rewilding, and de-extinction (Chapter 2). In the future, it is likely that the practice of reintroduction biology will continue to evolve in response to new threats, opportunities, and changing social perceptions and values. This includes several new frontiers such as the increased valuation of restoring and conserving ecological processes (Chapter 15). These shifts in emphasis will push the boundaries of conservation biology as we know it, forcing the future of reintroduction biology into novel socio-ecological arenas that require engagement by natural scientists, social scientists, and the public.
A second persistent theme throughout the book is that science can inform decisions and assist in searching for optimal solutions, but it is up to society to dictate what is preserved, brought back, or lost in an increasingly human-dominated world. Accordingly, it is no coincidence that two chapters on the human dimensions of fish and wildlife reintroduction (Chapters 4 and 14) serve as bookends to this book. Only through a concerted effort to broaden long-term stakeholder support, and frame reintroductions within a broader socioeconomic as well as ecological construct (Chapters 5 and 15), will we see sustainable establishment and management of reintroduced populations.
Given the major financial and cultural commitments required to successfully restore a species, as highlighted in this volume, we hope that this book indirectly shows the importance and cost-effectiveness of proactive conservation to avoid the need for réintroduction in the first place. It is hard not to be moved by something selfless or noble such as a group of people attempting to right a wrong that was, more often than not, caused by prior generations. In our opinion, this makes animal reintroduction one of the most impressive and ambitious enterprises in conservation biology. However, despite advances illustrating our collective capacity to restore species, the old Benjamin Franklin idiom "an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure" surely applies to considering reintroduction within a broader conservation context. The often extreme difficulty in reintroducing species should further emphasize the importance of trying to conserve remaining populations and species in situ.
Finally, as illustrated in the diverse examples provided in this volume, while some reintroductions have taken place in poor countries (largely funded by international donors), a majority of reintroduction have been conducted in developed or rich countries. There are many poor countries that, as development accelerates, are facing local extinction risks, and where the need for future reintroductions may need to become routine. By collecting the knowledge and understanding that has been generated through experience to date, we can broaden agency capacity to deal with reintroductions, as well as provide for effective and efficient implementation in a context of very limited resources.
To tackle such a broad and complex range of topics, we relied heavily on a distinguished group of experts to contribute to this edited volume. We are appreciative of the authors who volunteered their time and effort in crafting chapters. Thanks also to Mark Ryan, who first broached the idea of an edited volume on animal reintroduction at David Jachowski's dissertation defense several years ago. We are grateful to Blake Edgar and Merrik Bush-Pirkle at University of California Press for their support of our idea and seeing it through to fruition. We thank Nigel Adams, Christina Aiello, Chris Baker, Oded Berger-Tal, Dean Biggins, Michael Bruford, Virginia Butler, Jesse Delia, Josh Donlan, David Eads, John Ewen, Andrew Gregory, Brian Irwin, Richard Jachowski, Dylan Kesler, Bob Klaver, Richard Kock, Michelle McClure, Conor McGowan, Anita Morzillo, Mark Stanley Price, Michael Schaub, Phil Seddon, Jeremy Solin, Kelly Swan, Meena Venkataraman, Jack Williams, and Keith Winsten for offering their time and expertise to review chapters in this volume. Finally, we thank Shefali Azad, Robin Eng, Piper Kimprel, Mike Knoerr, Katie Krafte, Glenda Lofink, Nic McMillan, Alec Nelson, Fumika Takashashi, Hillary Thompson, and Wenbo Zhang for reviewing the entire book and offering editorial suggestions that helped improve the cohesiveness of the entire volume.CHAPTER 2
Reintroduction and Other Conservation Translocations
HISTORY AND FUTURE DEVELOPMENTS
Philip J. Seddon and Doug P. Armstrong
Australasia is a current hot spot of conservation translocation, the intentional movement and release of living organisms for conservation purposes (Seddon et al. 2014a). Not surprisingly then, one of the first conservation translocations in the world took place in New Zealand in the 1880s, when large numbers of flightless birds, kakapo (Strigops habroptilus) and kiwi (Apteryx australis), were moved to an offshore island by Richard Henry, marking the first attempt to protect New Zealand's native species from the impacts of exotic mammalian predators (Seddon et al. 2015, Box 2.1). Henry's attempts ultimately failed because the offshore island release sites were within the swimming range of mainland stoats, also called short-tailed weasels, Mustela erminea (Hill and Hill 1987, Miskelly and Powlesland 2013). At about the same time, on the other side of the world, the Tabasco sauce manufacturer Edward (Ned) Mcllhenny was conducting ultimately much more successful translocations of captive-bred snowy egrets from eggs sourced from declining populations along the southern Gulf Coast of the United States. Egrets were released into Bird City, a private bird refuge Mcllhenny established in 1895 on Avery Island, Louisiana, within the indigenous range of the species. It is possible this very early reintroduction saved the snowy egret from extinction, as birds from Avery Island dispersed and repopulated both the Louisiana and Florida Gulf Coasts (Furmansky 2009).
Reintroduction as more than an individual endeavor, but as an official and organized conservation action, came of age in 1907 when 15 bison were sent by rail and cart from the Bronx Zoo and released into the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge in Oklahoma (reviewed in Beck 2001). This was an initiative of the American Bison Society (ABS), which was founded in 1905 to reintroduce bison into their former range following population declines from over 40 million in 1830 to only around 1,000 animals by 1884. The release in Oklahoma was the first animal reintroduction in North America, and was followed by other releases by the ABS in Montana (1910) and South Dakota (1913). Currently there are over 500,000 plains bison in the United States and Canada, and while most are on private ranches, some 30,000 are in conservation herds. The 1907 reintroduction by the ABS was notable for its comprehensive planning and careful engagement of the public through available media. Since the first use of conservation translocations described above, the use and sophistication of animal reintroductions has increased. Below we review the expansion of reintroduction as a species restoration tool, the creation of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Reintroduction Specialist Group (RSG), the development of reintroduction guidelines, and the maturation of the emerging discipline of reintroduction biology. The second part of this chapter examines some developments and future issues, including the challenge of assessing reintroduction success, the rise of conservation introductions — the release of organisms outside their indigenous range for conservation benefit — and new or reemerging concepts such as rewilding and de-extinction.
Following the successes of bison reintroductions in the United States, there were several decades with few reintroduction attempts, but several high-profile success stories in the 1960s to 1980s helped raise the profile of reintroduction as a viable population restoration tool (Box 2.1).
South Island Saddleback in New Zealand
Members of the endemic New Zealand wattlebird family (Callaeidae) once filled the forests in both main islands, but were extremely vulnerable to the impacts of exotic mammalian predators such as ship rats (Rattus rattus), cats (Felis catus), and stoats (Mustela erminea). By 1910, one of these species, the South Island saddleback (Philesturnus carunculatus), was restricted to only three offshore islands in the far south near Stewart Island. In the early 1960s, ship rats invaded all three islands, causing the extinction of a snipe, a wren, and a bat species. This shocking event was instrumental in convincing conservation managers of the devastation wrought by invading rats. In 1964, the New Zealand Wildlife Service translocated the 36 last remaining saddlebacks in the world, from Big South Cape, the largest of the three islands, to nearby Big and Kaimohu Islands (Hooson and Jamieson 2003). Well over 30 serial translocations to other islands, and in 2009 to a predator-free protected area on the mainland, have meant the population of South Island saddlebacks probably now exceeds 2,000 birds. From this early crisis-driven start, New Zealand has been one of the world leaders in the application of bird conservation translocations (Miskelly and Powesland 2013, Seddon et al. 2014a).
Excerpted from Reintroduction of Fish and Wildlife Populations by David S. Jachowski, Joshua J. Millspaugh, Paul L. Angermeier, Rob Slotow. Copyright © 2016 The Regents of the University of California. Excerpted by permission of UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA PRESS.
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Table of Contents
Foreword Joel Berger xi
1 Animal Reintroduction in the Anthropocene David S. Jachowski Rob Slotow Paul L. Angermeier Joshua J. Millspaugh 1
Part 1 What Are Reintroductions and When Are They Appropriate? 5
2 Reintroduction and Other Conservation Translocations: History and Future Developments Philip J. Seddon Doug P. Armstrong 7
3 A Conservation Paleobiology Perspective on Reintroduction: Concepts, Variables, and Disciplinary Integration R. Lee Lyman 29
Part 2 Setting Goals 53
4 Human Dimensions Insights for Reintroductions of Fish and Wildlife Populations Shaun J. Riley Camilla Sandström 55
5 The Reintroduction Landscape: Finding Success at the Intersection of Ecological, Social, and Institutional Dimensions Jason B. Dunham Rollie White Chris S. Allen Bruce G. Marcot Dan Shively 79
6 Setting Objectives and Defining the Success of Reintroductions Alienor L. M. Chauvenet Stefano Canessa John G. Ewen 105
7 Demographic Modeling for Reintroduction Decision-Making Sarah J. Converse Doug P. Armstrong 123
Part 3 Obstacles to Successful Reintroductions 147
8 Genetic Issues in Reintroduction Iris Biebach Deborah M. Leigh Kasia Sluzek Lukas F. Keller 149
9 Accounting for Potential Physiological, Behavioral, and Community-Level Responses to Reintroduction David S. Jachowski Samantha Bremner-Harrison David A. Steen Kim Aarestrup 185
10 Why You Cannot Ignore Disease When You Reintroduce Animals Erin Muths Hamish McCallum 217
11 Release Considerations and Techniques to Improve Conservation Translocation Success Axel Moehrenschlager Natasha A. Lloyd 245
Part 4 Managing Reintroduced Populations 281
12 Effective and Purposeful Monitoring of Species Reproductions Robert A. Gitzen Barbara J. Keller Melissa A. Miller Scott M. Goetz David A. Steen David S. Jachowski James C. Godwin Joshua J. Millspaugh 283
13 Management of Reintroduced Wildlife Populations Matt W. Hayward Rob Slotow 319
14 Outreach and Environmental Education for Reproduction Programs Anna L. George Estelle A. Sandhaus 341
15 The Future of Animal Reproduction David S. Jachowski Rob Slotow Paul L. Angermeier Joshua J. Millspaugh 367