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Endangered Species Research

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ESR 41:105-118 (2020)  -  DOI:

An analysis of translocation regimes for the endangered puaiohi Myadestes palmeri

Jean Fantle-Lepczyk1,4,*, Lisa H. Crampton2, Andrew Taylor1, David C. Duffy3, Sheila Conant1

1Department of Biology, University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa, Honolulu, HI 96822, USA
2Kaua‘i Forest Birds Recovery Project, Hawai‘i Division of Forestry and Wildlife and University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa, Hanapepe, HI 96716, USA
3Pacific Cooperative Studies Unit, Department of Botany, University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa, Honolulu, HI 96822, USA
4Present address: Auburn University, School of Forestry & Wildlife Sciences, Auburn, AL 36830, USA
*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: The ongoing and often synergistic effects of habitat loss, invasive species, and climate change pose challenges for conservation and management as widespread species become greatly reduced, sometimes to a single small population. To address this problem, conservation biologists must consider using approaches like translocation to create new populations, reducing the probability of extinction by splitting a population into 2 or more populations in geographically distinct locales. The puaiohi Myadestes palmeri, an endangered Hawaiian forest bird, has a small population size (494; 95% CI: 414-580) and restricted range (~40 km2). One recovery plan objective involves translocating birds to higher elevation Hawaiian Islands. To evaluate translocation scenarios, we built upon previously developed population viability analysis models and considered how translocation regimes (initial harvest/population, number harvested/supplemented per event, harvest/supplementation interval, and length of harvest/supplementation) would affect both original and new populations. Furthermore, we modeled the puaiohi release population under 3 different conditions: a stable population, a predator-controlled environment, and a habitat improved in terms of resource availability. Our results indicated that while translocation offers hope of increasing puaiohi population size and decreasing extinction risk, success will depend on conditions at the release site. Furthermore, harvest and rearing of eggs to the juvenile stage or re-establishment of a captive breeding program may be necessary to provide enough birds to translocate, as the current wild population may not be productive enough to sustain levels of harvest necessary to successfully establish a new population.

KEY WORDS: Captive breeding · Captive rearing · Hawaiian forest birds · Population viability analysis · PVA · Small Kaua‘i thrush · Vortex

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Cite this article as: Fantle-Lepczyk J, Crampton LH, Taylor A, Duffy DC, Conant S (2020) An analysis of translocation regimes for the endangered puaiohi Myadestes palmeri. Endang Species Res 41:105-118.

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