Airborne translocation of mammals using parachutes
Overall effectiveness category Unknown effectiveness (limited evidence)
Number of studies: 1
Background information and definitions
Translocating animals into remote terrain can be logistically challenging. Holding animals for several days while moving across ground can cause them stress and, potentially, illness or mortality. Dropping animals from an airplane means that they can be held captive for shorter periods, though it may be harder to choose the precise release location. Parachutes, combined with a container that opens upon landing, can be used in aerial drops.
Supporting evidence from individual studies
A study in 1948–1949 in a forest in Idaho, USA (Heter 1950) found that at least some North American beavers Castor canadensis translocated using parachutes established territories and survived over one year after release. Seventy-six beavers were dropped from an airplane over the translocation area using parachutes. All but one survived the drop. After one year, an unspecified number of beavers had built dams and constructed houses. In the autumn of 1948, seventy-six beavers were parachuted into a remote forest area. Animals were dropped in pairs, inside wooden boxes (76 × 40 × 30 cm), using 7.3-m rayon parachutes of war surplus stock. Boxes consisted of two sections fitted together as a suitcase, with 2.5-cm ventilation holes. A system of ropes snapped the box open with the collapse of the parachute. The system had been tested on an old male beaver named "Geronimo”. Observations were made of the surviving beavers in late 1949 (details not reported).Study and other actions tested