Mitigation–driven translocations: Phased destruction or an effective applied science?

Holly Bradley

Publication Date:

One of the major conservation tools used to safeguard threatened species is reintroduction, the intentional release of organisms with the purpose of augmenting, establishing or re-establishing wild populations.  Mitigation-driven reintroductions are a supply-driven form of reintroduction where the current population is under threat of extinction, largely due to human activities, and reintroduction is required to mitigate the resulting extinction risk.  As mitigation reintroduction is a crisis discipline that requires immediate action to prevent extinction, it often fails to uphold suitable applications of scientific principles and scrutiny and may have very limited documentation of outcomes.  Mitigation reintroductions can therefore be a controversial form of management, with questionable conservation efficacy due to a lack of a priori testable hypotheses, direct comparison of management techniques, and long-term monitoring commitments. This suggests the potential for a negative cycle of wildlife relocated away from the public eye for a more socially acceptable ‘phased destruction’, with a high cost to managers and little conservation value.  The aim of this review was to undertake a selective, systematic, quantitative review of the global reintroduction literature to determine the inclusion of a priori goals, comparison of management techniques, and the addressing of key population, meta-population, and ecosystem level questions in mitigation reintroduction studies.  Whilst there was a positive correlation between a number of these factors and reintroduction success, there is both a need for a larger budget and a commitment to long-term monitoring if future mitigation reintroductions are to have a significant conservation value.

Resource Type:
Audio/Video, Conference Presentation, SER2019

Society for Ecological Restoration