Translocate mammals away from site contaminated by oil spill
Overall effectiveness category Unknown effectiveness (limited evidence)
Number of studies: 1
Background information and definitions
Where there is a large pollution event that has potential to affect wild mammals, one intervention option may be to translocate these mammals to another site. In such event, the translocation would be an emergency action, carried out with minimal planning. It would only be likely to be considered where the survival chances of mammals would be very low otherwise.
Supporting evidence from individual studies
A study in 1988–1989 in coastal waters of California, USA (Ralls et al. 1992) found that after being translocated in a trial of responses to a hypothetical pollution incident, most sea-otters Enhydra lutris survived for the duration of monitoring and did not return to their capture location. Seventeen of 19 translocated sea otters survived for at least 16–87 days after release. Two died at the release site, after 21 and 28 days after release. Five of 19 translocated sea otters were recorded back at their capture location during the monitoring period. Twelve were last recorded at a site 27 km from the release site. Nineteen sea otters were caught between May 1988 and May 1989 and were released 291 km further north. Nine were released immediately on arrival and 10 were held for 48 hours in floating pens before release. Sea otters were radio-tracked from the ground or air for 16–87 days after release.Study and other actions tested