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Adapting reintroduction tactics in successive trials increases the likelihood of establishment for an endangered carnivore in a fenced sanctuary

journal contribution
posted on 29.06.2021, 04:31 by Belinda A Wilson, Maldwyn J Evans, William G Batson, Sam C Banks, Iain GordonIain Gordon, Donald B Fletcher, Claire Wimpenny, Jenny Newport, Emily Belton, Annette Rypalski, Tim Portas, Adrian D Manning
Threatened species recovery programs are increasingly turning to reintroductions to reverse biodiversity loss. Here we present a real-world example where tactics (techniques which influence post-release performance and persistence) and an adaptive management framework (which incorporates feedback between monitoring and future actions) improved reintroduction success. Across three successive trials we investigated the influence of tactics on the effective survival and post-release dispersal of endangered eastern quolls (Dasyurus viverrinus) reintroduced into Mulligans Flat Woodland Sanctuary, Australian Capital Territory. Founders were monitored for 42 days post-release, and probability of survival and post-release dispersal were tested against trial, origin, sex, den sharing and presence of pouch young. We adopted an adaptive management framework, using monitoring to facilitate rapid learning and to implement interventions that improved reintroduction success. Founders released in the first trial were less likely to survive (28.6%, n = 14) than those founders released the second (76.9%, n = 13) and third trials (87.5%, n = 8). We adapted several tactics in the second and third trials, including the selection of female-only founders to avoid elevated male mortality, and post-mating releases to reduce stress. Founders that moved dens between consecutive nights were less likely to survive, suggesting that minimising post-release dispersal can increase the probability of survival. The probability of moving dens was lower in the second and third trials, for females, and when den sharing with another founder. This study demonstrates that, through iterative trials of tactics involving monitoring and learning, adaptive management can be used to significantly improve the success of reintroduction programs.

Funding

Category 1 - Australian Competitive Grants (this includes ARC, NHMRC)

History

Volume

15

Issue

6

Start Page

1

End Page

17

Number of Pages

17

eISSN

1932-6203

ISSN

1932-6203

Location

United States

Publisher

Public Library of Science

Publisher License

CC BY

Additional Rights

CC BY 4.0

Language

eng

Peer Reviewed

Yes

Open Access

Yes

Acceptance Date

27/05/2020

Era Eligible

Yes

Medium

Electronic-eCollection

Journal

PLoS ONE

Article Number

e0234455