Translocate animals from source populations subject to similar climatic conditions
Overall effectiveness category Unknown effectiveness (limited evidence)
Number of studies: 1
Background information and definitions
As human-induced climate change leads to increasing temperatures, species shift their distributions to higher latitudes and elevations (Hickling et al. 2006). However, some species cannot disperse quickly enough, or may not be able to cross human or man-made barriers (Thomas 2011). This results in some animals being present in areas that represent poor quality habitat, resulting in increased mortality rates that may risk local or even global extinction. One solution that has been suggested for this problem is the translocation of animals to areas where climatic conditions are similar to those formerly found in their natural ranges (Thomas 2011).
Hickling R., Roy D.B., Hill J.K., Fox R. & Thomas C.D. (2006) The distributions of a wide range of taxonomic groups are expanding polewards. Global Change Biology, 12, 450–455.
Thomas C.D. (2011) Translocation of species, climate change, and the end of trying to recreate past ecological communities. Trends in Ecology & Evolution, 26, 216–221.
Supporting evidence from individual studies
A study in 2006–2011 of scrubland across a large area in North Dakota, USA (Wiedmann & Sargeant 2014) found that bighorn sheep Ovis canadensis translocated from populations subject to a similar climate to the recipient site reared more offspring, compared to those translocated from areas with a milder climate. Sheep from an area with a climate similar to the recipient site had a higher average annual recruitment (0.6 juveniles/adult female) than did sheep originating from a milder climate area (0.2 juveniles/adult female). Thirty-nine bighorn sheep originating from Montana, where climate was similar to the recipient site, were release in North Dakota in 2006–2007. Their annual recruitment was compared with that of sheep released between 1956 and 2004, which originated from stock from British Columbia, Canada. Recruitment was assessed by direct observations of radio-tracked sheep, annually, in late summer and the following March of 2006–2011.Study and other actions tested