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Providing evidence to improve practice

Action: Provide artificial water sources Primate Conservation

Key messages

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  • One before-and-after trial in Brazil found that a minority of reintroduced golden lion tamarins survived over seven years when provided with supplementary water, alongside other interventions.
  • One before-and-after study in Madagascar found that a minority of reintroduced black-and-white ruffed lemurs survived for five years despite being provided with supplementary water, alongside other interventions.
  • A before-and-after study in South Africa found that a minority of vervet monkeys had survived for 10 months when provided with supplementary water, alongside other interventions.
  • A before-and-after study in Gabon found that a majority of western lowland gorillas survived for at least nine months while being provided with supplementary water, alongside other interventions.

Supporting evidence from individual studies

1 

A before-and-after trial in 1984-1991 in coastal forest in Poço das Antas Reserve in Brazil, found that the majority of reintroduced golden lion tamarins Leontopithecus rosalia, some of which were supplemented with water along with 14 other interventions, did not survive over seven years. Fifty-eight (64%) out of 91 reintroduced tamarins did not survive in the wild. However, 57 infants were born (reproductive rate=63%) during this period, of which 38 (67%) survived. Water was provided in bowls. Captive-bred or orphaned tamarins were introduced in different years into habitat already occupied by the species and predators. Groups were provided with supplementary food and nesting boxes, and allowed to adapt to local habitat conditions before release. Tamarins were quarantined, underwent veterinary checks and were treated for parasites before release. Sick or injured animals were rescued, treated and re-released. The reserve became officially protected in 1983. The study does not distinguish between the effects of the different interventions mentioned above.

2 

A before-and-after study in 1997-2002 in primary forest in Betampona Reserve, Madagascar found that less than half of all captive-bred, parent-reared reintroduced black-and-white ruffed lemurs Varecia variegata variegata that were provided with supplementary water for a certain period of time along with ten other interventions, survived over five years. Five (38.5%) of 13 individuals survived in the wild and six individuals were born, of which four survived. One female and one male reproduced with wild lemurs and the male became fully integrated. Artificial water sources were provided together with relatively dry supplementary food that was given for three months.  All released animals were fitted with radio-collars for monitoring. Captive lemurs had limited semi-free-ranging experience, were quarantined and underwent veterinary screens before their reintroduction in groups into habitat with predators and wild conspecifics. They were recaptured and treated when sick. They were allowed to adapt to local habitat conditions before release. Dead lemurs were investigated. The study does not distinguish between the effects of the different interventions mentioned above.

3 

A before-and-after trial in 2007-2008 in dry forest-grassland mosaic near Richmond, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa found that a small number of vervet monkeys Chlorocebus aethiops that were provided with supplementary water along with other interventions, survived for at least ten months after reintroduction. Out of 35 monkeys released in troop one, only six (17%) survived ten months post-release. Twenty-two (63%) vervets went missing and seven (20%) died. Two infants were born 10-11 months post-release. Out of 24 vervets released as troop two, 12 (50%) survived, seven (29%) went missing and five (21%) died. The troop that was released 100 m away from the nearest river received a water dish that was subsequently moved closer towards the river. Monkeys underwent veterinary checks and were allowed to adapt to local environmental conditions before their release in groups into habitat already occupied by conspecifics. Supplementary food was provided post-release. The study does not distinguish between the effects of the different interventions mentioned above.

4 

A before-and-after trial in 2008-2010 in a tropical forest-grassland mosaic at Batéké Plateau National Park, Gabon found that the majority of western lowland gorillas Gorilla gorilla gorilla that were provided with water in night enclosures alongside ten other interventions, survived for at least nine months. Four out of five (80%) juvenile gorillas survived for at least nine months after release when water was provided daily in their night enclosure. The enclosure was also equipped with nesting platforms, nesting material and supplementary food. Three captive-bred and two orphaned wild born individuals were reintroduced as a group into habitat with predators and without wild gorillas after they were allowed to adapt to local habitat conditions for some time. Gorillas were dewormed regularly on-site. Caretakers guided them into different forest patches on a daily basis. The study does not distinguish between the effects of the different interventions mentioned above.

Referenced papers

Please cite as:

Junker, J., Kühl, H.S., Orth, L., Smith, R.K., Petrovan, S.O. & Sutherland, W.J. (2019) Primate conservation. Pages 439-491 in: W.J. Sutherland, L.V. Dicks, N. Ockendon, S.O. Petrovan & R.K. Smith (eds) What Works in Conservation 2019. Open Book Publishers, Cambridge, UK.