Species reintroduction(Redirected from Reintroduction)
Species reintroduction is the deliberate release of a species into the wild, from captivity or other areas where the organism survives. The goal of species reintroduction is to establish a healthy, genetically diverse, self-sustaining population to an area where it has been extirpated, or to augment an existing population. A species that needs reintroduction is usually one whose existence has become threatened or endangered in the wild. However, reintroduction of a species can also be for pest control. For example, wolves being reintroduced to a wild area because of an overpopulation of elk or deer. Because reintroduction may involve returning native species to localities where they had been extirpated, some prefer the term "reestablishment".
Humans have been reintroducing species for food and pest control for thousands of years. However, the practice of reintroducing for conservation is much younger, starting in the 20th century.
Methods for reintroductionEdit
There are a variety of approaches to species reintroduction. The optimal strategy will depend on the biology of the organism. The first matter to address in choosing a method is sourcing individuals in situ, wild populations, or ex situ, such as a zoo or botanic garden.
In situ sourcingEdit
In situ sourcing for restorations involves removing individuals from an existing wild population and moving them to the new site where they were formerly extirpated. Ideally, populations should be sourced from in situ when possible as there are numerous risks with reintroducing organisms in the wild from captive population. In order to ensure that the reintroduced populations have the best chance of surviving, the population the individuals are collected from should closely resemble the extirpated population genetically and ecologically. Generally, sourcing from nearby populations with similar habitat to the reintroduction site will maximize the chance that reintroduced individuals will be similar to the original population.
One consideration for in situ sourcing is at which life stage the organisms should be collected, transported, and reintroduced. For instance, with plants, it is often ideal to transport them as seeds as they have the best chance of surviving translocation at this stage. Some plants are difficult to establish as seed however and may need to be translocated as juveniles or adults.
Ex situ sourcingEdit
In situations where in situ collection of individuals is not feasible, for instance too few individuals exist in the wild, ex situ collections may be used. There are a number of types of ex situ collections. Germplasm may be stored in the form of seed banks, sperm and egg banks, cryopreservation, and tissue culture. These method allows the storage of many individuals and have high potential for reintroduction. Since this method allows for storage of a high number of individuals, it maximizes genetic diversity. Once collected, the material can last for relatively long periods in storage.However some species lose viability when stored as seed. However tissue culture and cryopreservation techniques have only been perfected for a few species. Organisms may also be kept in living collections. Living collections are more costly than storing germplasm and hence can support only a fraction of the individuals that ex situ sourcing can. When sourcing for living collections, the risks increase. There are fewer individuals so loss of genetic diversity becomes a concern. The individuals may also become adapted to captivity so efforts should be made to replicate wild conditions and time spent in captivity should be minimized whenever possible.
Successes and failuresEdit
Reintroduction biology is a relatively young discipline and continues to be a work in progress. There is still no general and broadly accepted definition of reintroduction success, it has been proposed that the criteria widely used to assess the conservation status of endangered taxa, such as the IUCN Red List criteria, should be used to assess reintroduction success. Successful reintroduction programs should yield viable and self-sustainable populations in the long-term. The IUCN/SSC Re-introduction Specialist Group & Environment Agency, in their 2011 Global Re-introduction Perspectives, compiled reintroduction case studies from around the world. 184 case studies were reported on a range of species which included invertebrates, fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds, mammals, and plants. Assessments from all of the studies included goals, success indicators, project summary, major difficulties faced, major lessons learned, and success of project with reasons for success or failure. A similar assessment focused solely on plants found high rates of success for rare species reintroductions. An analysis of data from the Center for Plant Conservation International Reintroduction Registry found that, for the 49 cases where data were available, 92% of the reintroduced plant populations survived two years. The Siberian tiger population has rebounded from 40 individuals in the 1940s to around 500 in 2007. The Siberian tiger population is now the largest un-fragmented tiger population in the world. Yet, a high proportion of translocations and reintroductions have not been successful in establishing viable populations For instance, in China reintroduction of captive Giant Pandas have had mixed effects. The initial pandas released from captivity all died quickly after reintroduction. Even now that they have improved their ability to reintroduce pandas, concern remains over how well they captive bred pandas will fare with their wild relatives.
Many factors can attribute to the success or failure of a reintroduction. Predators, food, pathogens, competitors, and weather can all affect a reintroduced population's ability to grow, survive, and reproduce. Animals raised in captivity may experience stress during captivity or translocation, which can weaken their immune systems. The IUCN reintroduction guidelines emphasize the need for an assessment of the availability of suitable habitat as a key component of reintroduction planning. Poor assessment of the release site can increase the chances that the species will reject the site and perhaps move to a less suitable environment. This can decrease the species fitness and thus decrease chances for survival. They state that restoration of the original habitat and amelioration of causes of extinction must be explored and considered as essential conditions for these projects. Unfortunately, the monitoring period that should follow reintroductions often remains neglected.
When a species has been extirpated from a site where it previously existed, individuals for the reintroduced population must be sourced from elsewhere. When sourcing for reintroductions, it is important to consider local adaptation, adaptation to captivity (for ex situ conservation), the possibility of inbreeding depression and outbreeding depression, and the genetic diversity of the source population.
If plants or animals are moved from one part of their range to another, they may not be sufficiently adapted to local environmental conditions, and may suffer from reduced fitness as a result. This issue is further complicated by projected climatic shifts induced by climate change, and has led to the development of new seed sourcing protocols for plants that attempt to predict future changes in climatic conditions, and select plants best adapted to those conditions. Historically, sourcing plant material for reintroductions has followed the rule "local is best," as the best way to preserve local adaptations, with individuals for reintroductions selected from the most geographically proximate population. To that end, conservation agencies have developed seed transfer zones that serve as guidelines for how far plant material can be transported before it will perform poorly. Seed transfer zones take into account proximity, ecological conditions, and climatic conditions in order to predict how plant performance will vary from one zone to the next. A study of the reintroduction of Castilleja levisecta found that the source populations most physically near the reintroduction site performed the poorest in a field experiment, while those from the source population whose ecological conditions most closely matched the reintroduction site performed best, demonstrating the importance of matching the evolved adaptations of a population to the conditions at the reintroduction site.
Some reintroduction programs use plants or animals from captive populations to form a reintroduced population. When reintroducing individuals from a captive population to the wild, there is a risk that they have adapted to captivity. Animals can adapt to captivity by showing reduced stress tolerance, increased tameness, and loss of local adaptations. Plants also can show adaptations to captivity through changes in drought tolerance, nutrient requirements, and seed dormancy requirements. Such adaptations can lead to reduced fitness following reintroduction, and can be minimized during captivity by maximizing the number of new individuals added to captive populations, maximizing generation length, and minimizing selection pressure, number of generations, heritability, and the size of the captive population. For plants, minimizing adaptation to captivity is usually achieved by sourcing plant material from a seed bank, where individuals are preserved as wild-collected seeds, and have not had the chance to adapt to conditions in captivity.
If the species slated for reintroduction is rare in the wild, it is likely to have unusually low population numbers, and care should be taken to avoid inbreeding and inbreeding depression. Inbreeding can change the frequency of allele distribution in a population, and potentially result in a change to crucial genetic diversity. Additionally, outbreeding depression can occur if a reintroduced population can hybridize with existing populations in the wild, which can result in offspring with reduced fitness, and less adaptation to local conditions. To minimize both, practitioners should source for individuals in a way that captures as much genetic diversity as possible, and attempt to match source site conditions to local site conditions as much as possible.
Capturing as much genetic diversity as possible, measured as heterozygosity, is a good rule of thumb to follow in species reintroductions. Some protocols suggest that sourcing approximately 30 individuals from a population will capture 95% of the genetic diversity. Maintaining that genetic diversity throughout the reintroduction process is crucial to avoiding the loss of essential local adaptations and maximizing fitness of the reintroduced population.
Improving research techniquesEdit
A cooperative approach to reintroduction by ecologists and biologists could improve research techniques. For both preparation and monitoring of reintroductions, increasing contacts between academic population biologists and wildlife managers is encouraged within the Survival Species Commission and the IUCN. The IUCN states that a re-introduction requires a multidisciplinary approach involving a team of persons drawn from a variety of backgrounds. A survey by Wolf et al. in 1998 indicated that 64% of reintroduction projects have used subjective opinion to assess habitat quality. This means that most reintroduction evaluation has been based on human anecdotal evidence and not enough has been based on statistical findings. Seddon et al. (2007) suggest that researchers contemplating future reintroductions should specify goals, overall ecological purpose, and inherent technical and biological limitations of a given reintroduction, and planning and evaluation processes should incorporate both experimental and modeling approaches.
Monitoring the health of individuals, as well as the survival, is important; both before and after the reintroduction. Intervention may be necessary if the situation proves unfavorable. Population dynamics models that integrate demographic parameters and behavioral data recorded in the field can lead to simulations and tests of a priori hypotheses. Using previous results to design further decisions and experiments is a central concept of adaptive management. In other words, learning by doing can help in future projects. Population ecologists should therefore collaborate with biologists, ecologists, and wildlife management to improve reintroduction programs.
Adaptation to captivityEdit
It may be very hard to reintroduce species into the wild, even if their natural habitats were restored. Survival techniques, which are normally passed from parents to offspring during parenting, are lost. The genetics of the species is saved, but the natural memetics of the species is not.
Beginning in the 1980s, biologists have learned that many mammals and birds need to learn new behaviors survive in the wild. Thus, reintroduction programmes have to be planned carefully, ensuring that the animals have the necessary survival skills. Biologists must also study the animals after the reintroduction to learn whether the animals are surviving and breeding, what effects the reintroduction has on the ecosystem, and how to improve the process.
Still, a vast number of animals may need to be reintroduced into the wild to be sure that enough of them learn how to survive. For instance, in reintroducing houbara bustards into the wild in the United Arab Emirates, more than 5,000 birds per year are used.
Re-introduction Specialist Group (RSG)Edit
The RSG is a network of specialists whose aim is to combat the ongoing and massive loss of biodiversity by using re-introductions as a responsible tool for the management and restoration of biodiversity. It does this by actively developing and promoting sound inter-disciplinary scientific information, policy, and practice to establish viable wild populations in their natural habitats. The role of the RSG is to promote the re-establishment of viable populations in the wild of animals and plants. The need for this role was felt due to the increased demand from re-introduction practitioners, the global conservation community and increase in re-introduction projects worldwide.
Increasing numbers of animal and plant species are becoming rare, or even extinct in the wild. In an attempt to re-establish populations, species can – in some instances – be re-introduced into an area, either through translocation from existing wild populations, or by re-introducing captive-bred animals or artificially propagated plants.
- North African ostrich in Morocco, Nigeria, Niger and Tunisia (ongoing)
- Southern white rhinoceros in Kenya, Uganda and Zambia (successful)
- South African cheetah in Swaziland (successful) and Malawi (ongoing)
- Addax in Morocco and Tunisia
- Black rhinoceros in Malawi, Zambia, Botswana (successful) and Rwanda (ongoing)
- Amur leopard in Russia (successful)
- Asian black bear in Jirisan National Park, South Korea (ongoing)
- Asiatic Lion Reintroduction Project of Asiatic lion to Kuno Wildlife Sanctuary from their only home presently in the world at Gir Forest National Park. Kuno Wildlife Sanctuary is the chosen site for re-introducing and establishing the world's second completely separate population of the wild free ranging Asiatic lions in the state of Madhya Pradesh. It was decided to re-introduce the Asiatic lion in Kumbhalgarh Wildlife Sanctuary in Rajasthan. Some will be reintroduced in two locations in Gujarat.
- Bornean orangutan in East Kalimantan, Indonesia
- Cheetah reintroduction in India is a project to reintroduce the cheetah in India. The Asiatic cheetah became extinct in 1947 when Maharaja of Surguja hunted the last three in the state of Rewa in central India. It was officially declared extinct in 1952 by the Indian government. Plans are going on to reintroduce the cheetah to two site in Madhya Pradesh (Kuno Wildlife Sanctuary and Nauradehi Wildlife Sanctuary) and in Rajasthan's Shahgarh Landscape. However, the Supreme Court of India put a hold on this project as they recommended to protect the endangered lions first rather than import cheetah from Africa or Iran. (On hold)
- Indian rhinoceros in Pakistan (ongoing)
- Eurasian otter in Japan (ongoing)
- Père David's deer in China (successful)
- Persian leopard in Russia (ongoing)
- Przewalski's horse in Mongolia (ongoing)
- Red fox in Sobaeksan National Park, South Korea (ongoing)
- Sarus cranes in Thailand (ongoing)
- Short-tailed albatross in Japan (successful)
- Siberian Tiger Re-population Project was proposed in 2009 to reintroduce Amur tigers back to their former lands and including the former ranges in Central Asia once inhabited by their closest relatives, the Caspian tigers. In 2010, two pairs of Siberian tigers, exchanged for Persian leopards to southwestern Russia, were set to be reintroduced in Iran's Miankaleh peninsula. Currently, the big cats (one of them had died) are being held in captivity in Eram zoo. Siberian tigers were also proposed to be reintroduced to a suitable habitat near the international river of Amu Darya in Central Asia and near the Ili River delta in Kazakhstan. A rewilding project at the Pleistocene Park, part of the re-population project was proposed back in 2005.
- South China tiger - Captive tigers being re-wilded in Laohu Valley Reserve in the Free State province of South Africa under Save China's Tigers programme, will be eventually released back into the wilderness of China.
- Magnolia sinica 
- Alpine ibex in the French, Italian and Swiss Alps (successful)
- Eurasian brown bear in the Alps (ongoing)
- European beaver in several places in Europe (successful)
- European otter in the Netherlands (ongoing)
- European lynx in Switzerland (successful), and other parts of Europe (ongoing)
- European black vulture in the Massif Central in France
- Goitered gazelle in Protected Areas of Vashlovani in Georgia (country)(ongoing)
- Golden eagle in Ireland (ongoing)
- Griffon vulture in the Massif Central, France (successful), Central Apennines, Italy, and Northern and Southern Israel (ongoing)
- Iberian lynx in Portugal (ongoing)
- Lammergeier in the Alps (successful) Switzerland (successful)
- Lesser kestrel in Spain
- Lesser white-fronted goose in Sweden and Germany (ongoing)
- Northern bald ibis in Austria and Italy (ongoing)
- Peregrine falcon in Germany, Poland, Sweden and Norway
- Red kite in Ireland
- Western swamphen in the Mondego River basin, Portugal (successful)
- White-tailed eagle in Ireland (ongoing)
- Wisent in Poland, Belarus (successful) and other parts of Europe (ongoing)
- Narrow-leaved cudweed
- Arabian oryx in the Sultanate of Oman (successful), United Arab Emirates (successful), Israel (successful)
- Kurdistan spotted newt in Western Iran (successful)
- North African ostrich in Israel and Saudi Arabia (ongoing)
- Nubian ibex in Israel (successful)
- Persian fallow deer in Israel (ongoing)
- Persian onager in Saudi Arabia (successful)
- Red deer - A programme was announced in 2013 to reintroduce the red deer to Armenia. 4 males and 11 females of the species will be purchased and transported to a breeding centre at Dilijan National Park. The World Wildlife Fund Germany and Orange Armenia have provided the funds for the project.
- Sudan cheetah in United Arab Emirates (ongoing)
- Turkmenian kulan in Kazakhstan (ongoing) and Uzbekistan (successful)
- Yarkon bleak fish in Israel (successful)
- American flamingo to Anegada, British Virgin Islands (successful)
- Black-footed ferret in Canada, United States and Mexico
- Blanding's turtle in Canada
- California condor in California and Mexico (ongoing)
- Fisher in Washington State (ongoing)
- Golden eagle in United States
- Grey wolf to Yellowstone National Park (successful)
- Musk ox in Alaska (United States) (successful)
- Red wolf in Eastern North Carolina
- Whooping cranes, including migratory population in the Eastern United States and non-migratory population in Louisiana (ongoing)
- Sargent's Cherry Palm (successful) in Florida'
- Pediocactus knowltonii in New Mexico
- Cordylanthus maritimus in Western United States
Oceans and OceaniaEdit
- Gray whale to Atlantic Ocean and Irish Sea (proposed. Two individuals sighted in the Mediterranean Sea in 2010 and off Namibia in 2013, the latter is the first confirmation of the species in the Southern Hemisphere.)
- Woylie in Australia (ongoing)
- Greater bilby in Arid Recovery Reserve, South Australia and other parts of Australia (successful)
- Allocasuarina portuensis in Australia
- Tunbridge buttercup in Tasmania
- Rutidosis leptorrhynchoides in Australia
- Black grouse to Derbyshire – (ongoing)
- Common crane to Somerset – (ongoing)
- Corncrake to Cambridgeshire – (ongoing)
- European beaver to Scotland, England, and Wales – (successful in Scotland and Northern England)
- European bison to the UK – (proposed)
- Glanville fritillary butterfly to Somerset – (successful)
- Great bustard to Salisbury Plain – (ongoing)
- Heath fritillary butterfly to Essex – (successful)
- Ladybird spider to Arne RSPB reserve in Dorset, England – (ongoing).
- Large blue butterfly in the West and The South West – (successful and ongoing)
- Northern goshawk – the existing UK population is believed to be derived from a mixture of escaped falconers' birds and deliberate introductions – (successful)
- Osprey to Rutland Water – (successful)
- Red kite in the Chiltern Hills, Black Isle, Northamptonshire, Dumfries and Galloway, Yorkshire, Perth and Kinross and Gateshead – (successful)
- Red squirrel to Anglesey – (successful and ongoing)
- Reindeer to the Cairngorms in Scotland – (semi-domesticated; successful)
- Scots pine to southern England – (unplanned, successful)
- Silver-washed fritillary to Essex – (ongoing, locally successful)
- Wild boar to several places in Britain – (accidental, successful)
- White-tailed eagle to the Hebrides – (successful)
- White-tailed eagle to the east coast of Scotland – (ongoing)
- Brown bear in the Scottish Highlands – (proposed)
- Elk to Great Britain – (proposed)
- European lynx in Wales, England and Scotland (proposed)
- Gray wolf in Scotland – (proposed)
- Arctic wolf in northern Scotland
- White stork – (proposed)
- White-tailed eagle to England and Wales (planned – on hold while a suitable site is found)
- Ecological experiments
- Pleistocene Park
- Pleistocene rewilding
- Reintroduction of wolves
- Rewilding Britain
- Rewilding (conservation biology)
- Rewilding Institute
- Translocation (wildlife conservation)
- Wildlife conservation
- Wildlife management
- World Conservation Union (IUCN)
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- Red squirrel conservation, squirrel ecology and grey squirrel management
- Armstrong, D, Hayward, M, Moro, D, Seddon, P 2015. Advances in Reintroduction Biology of Australian and New Zealand Fauna, CSIRO Publishing, ISBN 9781486303014
- Gorbunov, Y.N., Dzybov, D.S., Kuzmin, Z.E. and Smirnov, I.A. 2008. Methodological recommendations for botanic gardens on the reintroduction of rare and threatened plants Botanic Gardens Conservation International (BGCI)
- Shmaraeva, A. and Ruzaeva, I. 2009. Reintroduction of threatened plant species in Russia BG Journal, Vol. 6, No. 1
- IUCN/SSC Re-introduction Specialist Group
- IUCN/SSC Re-introduction Specialist Group's NEWSLETTER: "Re-introduction NEWS" (IUCN/SSC)
- Reintroduction of Golden Eagle to Ireland
- BBC News release on Beaver reintroduction in England
- Scottish Beavers Network - campaigning for Beaver reintroduction in Scotland
- Reintroduction of Przewalski's Horse to Mongolia
- Reintroduction of Great Bustard to England
- Reintroduction of Endangered Native Orchids into the Wild in El Valle de Anton, Panama
- Reintroduction of endangered plant species in China: Dipteronia dyeriana, Magnolia odoratissima and M. aromatica, Euryodendron excelsum Chang, Bretschneidera sinensis Hemsl