ESR 22:85-94 (2013)  -  doi:10.3354/esr00531

Success of captive-rearing for a threatened shorebird

Kristina K. Neuman1,*, Lynne E. Stenzel1, Jane C. Warriner1, Gary W. Page1, Jenny L. Erbes1, Carleton R. Eyster1, Eric Miller2, Laird A. Henkel3

1Point Blue (formerly PRBO) Conservation Science, 3820 Cypress Drive #11, Petaluma, California 94954, USA
2Monterey Bay Aquarium, 886 Cannery Row, Monterey, California 93940, USA
3California Department of Fish and Wildlife, Office of Spill Prevention and Response, 1451 Shaffer Road, Santa Cruz, California 95060, USA

ABSTRACT: Captive-breeding and -rearing programs have been widely used for the conservation and recovery of imperiled species, and the success of such programs should be rigorously evaluated. In this study, we assessed the success of captive-rearing for a threatened shorebird, the snowy plover Charadrius nivosus, by comparing the survival and reproductive success of captive-reared and wild-reared individuals on the central California coast from 2001 to 2010. We used mark-recapture analysis, implemented in the program MARK, to estimate apparent annual survival (ϕ) and encounter occasion detection probability ( p) from capture and sighting data of marked plovers. We compared 3 measures of reproductive success (hatch rate, fledge rate and juveniles fledged per year) using stratified randomization tests based on individual breeding histories where captive- and wild-reared plovers were matched for age, sex and year. Captive- and wild-reared snowy plovers had similar apparent survival and reproductive rates and paired with mates of similar age in their first breeding year. The only exception was that captive males after their first breeding year had lower fledging rates than males from the overall population, but this did not affect the annual productivity rate. We conclude that releasing captive-reared individuals is a valuable part of ongoing efforts to restore the snowy plover population in California, and is also useful in cases where plover nests may need to be salvaged to protect them from oil contamination or other catastrophic events.

KEY WORDS: Shorebird · Snowy plover · Captive-rearing · Survival · Reproduction

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Cite this article as: Neuman KK, Stenzel LE, Warriner JC, Page GW and others (2013) Success of captive-rearing for a threatened shorebird. Endang Species Res 22:85-94

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