Translocate reptiles away from threats: Tuatara
Overall effectiveness category Awaiting assessment
Number of studies: 1
Background information and definitions
Translocations are sometimes carried out to remove individuals from specific threats within their range, for example away from development areas (‘mitigation translocation’). Mitigation translocations may be carried out as a preventative measure to protect individuals but have been criticized for prioritising the process of removing individuals above establishing viable populations of translocated individuals in the destination location (Sullivan et al. 2014). A number of issues should be carefully considered before carrying out such translocations, including whether the proposed release site contains suitable habitat; whether the release of additional animals at an occupied site could negatively impact on the resident population; and whether a translocation alone can mitigate the impact of losing suitable habitat due to a development or other threat.
Due to the number of studies found, this action has been split by species group, though no studies were found for amphisbaenians. See here for: Sea turtles; Tortoises, terrapins, side-necked & softshell turtles; Snakes & lizards or Crocodilians.
For studies where individuals are relocated for short periods to mitigate risks posed by temporary threats (e.g. habitat management) see Temporarily move reptiles away from short-term threats.
Sullivan B.K., Nowak E.M. & Kwiatkowski M.A. (2014) Problems with mitigation translocation of herpetofauna. Conservation Biology, 29, 12–18
Supporting evidence from individual studies
A review of worldwide reptile translocation projects during 1991–2006 (Germano & Bishop 2009) found that translocations of reptiles away from threats and translocations of ‘problem’ reptiles (mitigation translocations) failed more often than those carried out for conservation or research purposes. Translocations to mitigate impacts of building and development and ‘problem’ reptiles were combined. Mitigation translocations failed more often (63% of 8 projects) than those for conservation purposes (15% of 38) and those for research purposes (50% of 5). Success was independent of the life-stage translocated, number of animals released and geographic region. Mitigation translocations included building and development mitigation as well as those used to deal with ‘problem’ animals. Success was defined as evidence of substantial recruitment to the adult population during monitoring over a period at least as long as it takes the species to reach maturity.Study and other actions tested