Improving translocation success: an experimental study of anti‐stress treatment and release method for wild rabbits

Improving translocation success: an experimental study of anti‐stress treatment and release... Translocation is an important tool in conservation biology. However, translocation success is generally low for numerous animal species, therefore experiments are required for improvement. We carried out an experimental translocation of European wild rabbits (Oryctolagus cuniculus). The results may be of great interest for conservation biology, although we used a common species. As rabbits are known to experience a high mortality during the first days following release, it was necessary to assess the influence of handling trauma and environment novelty, respectively, and ways of suppressing them. Both tranquillization treatment during handling and a ‘soft’ release protocol (acclimatization pens in the new territory) were tested. Tranquillization did not increase survival, while the effect of acclimatization depended on sex. Females survived better when acclimatized, while males showed the opposite tendency. This difference is discussed in terms of sex‐specific social behaviour, which is possibly an important correlate of translocation success. Finally, environmental stress seemed to override handling stress in determining the level of early survival for translocated wild rabbits. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Animal Conservation Wiley

Improving translocation success: an experimental study of anti‐stress treatment and release method for wild rabbits

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Publisher
Wiley
Copyright
"Copyright © 2000 Wiley Subscription Services, Inc., A Wiley Company"
ISSN
1367-9430
eISSN
1469-1795
DOI
10.1111/j.1469-1795.2000.tb00105.x
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Translocation is an important tool in conservation biology. However, translocation success is generally low for numerous animal species, therefore experiments are required for improvement. We carried out an experimental translocation of European wild rabbits (Oryctolagus cuniculus). The results may be of great interest for conservation biology, although we used a common species. As rabbits are known to experience a high mortality during the first days following release, it was necessary to assess the influence of handling trauma and environment novelty, respectively, and ways of suppressing them. Both tranquillization treatment during handling and a ‘soft’ release protocol (acclimatization pens in the new territory) were tested. Tranquillization did not increase survival, while the effect of acclimatization depended on sex. Females survived better when acclimatized, while males showed the opposite tendency. This difference is discussed in terms of sex‐specific social behaviour, which is possibly an important correlate of translocation success. Finally, environmental stress seemed to override handling stress in determining the level of early survival for translocated wild rabbits.

Journal

Animal ConservationWiley

Published: Aug 1, 2000

References

  • Restoration of Endangered Species: Conceptual Issues, Planning and Implementation
    Carbyn, L. N.; Armbruster, H. J.; Mamo, C.
  • Fates of translocated river otters in Missouri
    Erickson, D. W.; McCullough, C. R.
  • Translocation as a species conservation tool: status and strategy
    Griffith, B.; Scott, J. M.; Carpenter, J. W.; Reed, C.
  • An experimental comparison of screech owl predation on resident and transient white‐footed mice (Peromyscus leucopus)
    Metzgar, L. H.

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