Action: Release captive-bred individuals into the wild to restore or augment wild populations of pigeons
A single review of a captive-release programme in Mauritius found that that released pink pigeons Nesoenas mayeri had a first year survival of 36%.
Captive breeding is normally used to provide individuals which can then be released into the wild to either restore a population in part of the species’ former range, or to augment an existing population.
Release techniques vary considerably, from ‘hard releases’ involving the simple release of individuals into the wild to ‘soft releases’ which involve a variety of adaptation and acclimatisation techniques before release or post-release feeding and care. The following section includes studies describing the overall effects of release projects. Studies that compare specific release techniques are described elsewhere (‘Use holding pens at release sites’, ‘Use ‘anti-predator training’ to improve survival after release’ etc).
Supporting evidence from individual studies
A review of a pink pigeon Nesoenas mayeri (formerly Columba mayeri) release programme in mixed forest habitats at Black River Gorges in southern Mauritius between 1987 and 1992 (Jones et al. 1992) found that 36% of 42 pigeons were known to be alive one year after release. This study is also discussed in ‘Provide supplementary food to increase adult survival’, ‘Use captive breeding to increase or maintain populations’, ‘Provide supplementary food after release’ and ‘Predator control on islands’.