Keeping fit on the ark: assessing the suitability of captive-bred animals for release

Keeping fit on the ark: assessing the suitability of captive-bred animals for release Reintroduction programs are widespread but have low success rates, particularly when captive-bred animals are used. There are high financial costs, and important ethical concerns about animal welfare. We have explored the concept of utilizing a behavioural approach to assess the suitability of captive-bred animals for release. We compared the behaviours of wild-bred and captive-bred animals in identical novel environments, using bank voles, Clethrionomys glareolus , as a model. The wild animals provided an adaptive baseline against which the behaviour of captive-bred individuals was compared. Although captive-bred voles displayed some wild-type behaviours – nest building and burrowing – despite lacking previous opportunities to do so, they were unable to utilize a key food resource and were less dominant. We suggest that a similar approach could be applied to species of conservation concern in order to rank available animals in terms of likely suitability for release. It could also help to identify characteristics that appear deficient in captive-bred animals, or to evaluate the impact of interventions such as environmental enrichment. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Biological Conservation Elsevier

Keeping fit on the ark: assessing the suitability of captive-bred animals for release

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Publisher
Elsevier
Copyright
Copyright © 2004 Elsevier Ltd
ISSN
0006-3207
D.O.I.
10.1016/j.biocon.2004.06.007
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Reintroduction programs are widespread but have low success rates, particularly when captive-bred animals are used. There are high financial costs, and important ethical concerns about animal welfare. We have explored the concept of utilizing a behavioural approach to assess the suitability of captive-bred animals for release. We compared the behaviours of wild-bred and captive-bred animals in identical novel environments, using bank voles, Clethrionomys glareolus , as a model. The wild animals provided an adaptive baseline against which the behaviour of captive-bred individuals was compared. Although captive-bred voles displayed some wild-type behaviours – nest building and burrowing – despite lacking previous opportunities to do so, they were unable to utilize a key food resource and were less dominant. We suggest that a similar approach could be applied to species of conservation concern in order to rank available animals in terms of likely suitability for release. It could also help to identify characteristics that appear deficient in captive-bred animals, or to evaluate the impact of interventions such as environmental enrichment.

Journal

Biological ConservationElsevier

Published: Feb 1, 2005

References

  • Influence of prerelease experience on reintroduced black-footed ferrets ( Mustela nigripes )
    Biggins, D.E.; Vargas, A.; Godbey, L.; Anderson, S.H.
  • Disease risks of wildlife translocations
    Cunningham, A.A.
  • An assessment of the published results of animal relocations
    Fischer, J.; Lindenmayer, D.B.
  • Training captive-bred or translocated animals to avoid predators
    Griffin, A.S.; Blumstein, D.T.; Evans, C.
  • Interfemale aggression in adult bank voles ( Clethrionomys glareolus )
    Kapusta, J.; Marchlewska-Koj, A.
  • Male rank and female choice in the bank vole, Clethrionomys glareolus
    Kruczek, M.
  • The importance of behavioural studies in conservation biology
    Sutherland, W.J.
  • Social and environmental factors modulate the learning of pine-cone stripping techniques by black rats ( Rattus rattus )
    Zohar, O.; Terkel, J.

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