Study

Captive rearing affects growth but not survival in translocated juvenile tuatara

  • Published source details Jarvie S., Senior A.M., Adolph S.C., Seddon P.J. & Cree A. (2015) Captive rearing affects growth but not survival in translocated juvenile tuatara. Journal of Zoology, 297, 184-193.

Actions

This study is summarised as evidence for the following.

Action Category

Head-start wild-caught reptiles for release: Tuatara

Action Link
Reptile Conservation

Release captive-bred reptiles into the wild: Tuatara

Action Link
Reptile Conservation

Translocate adult or juvenile reptiles: Tuatara

Action Link
Reptile Conservation
  1. Head-start wild-caught reptiles for release: Tuatara

    A study in 2012–2013 in regenerating temperate forest in South Island, New Zealand (Jarvie et al. 2015) found that most head-started tuatara Sphenodon punctatus survived at least 9 months after being released into a predator-free fenced enclosure with artificial burrows. Results were not statistically tested. After 3–5 months, 100% of tuatara captive-reared locally (13 of 13 individuals) and 96% of tuatara captive-reared to the north of the release site (27 of 28 individuals) had survived. After 9–11 months, 70% of tuatara reared north of the release site (9 of 13 individuals) and 67% of locally-reared and released tuatara had survived (19 of 28 individuals). Juvenile tuatara originating from the same wild population were released into a fenced predator-free reserve in November–December 2012: captive-reared locally to the release site (13 individuals), and captive-reared 480 km north of the release site in a warmer climate (28 individuals). Captive-reared tuatara were hatched from artificially incubated eggs and head started until 4–6 years old. Artificial burrows were buried in the release area. Tuatara were monitored by radio-tracking for 5 months (6 locally-reared, 10 north-reared individuals) and recapture surveys (all tuatara were PIT tagged) for up to 27 months after release.

    (Summarised by: Katie Sainsbury)

  2. Release captive-bred reptiles into the wild: Tuatara

    A study in 2012–2013 in regenerating temperate forest in South Island, New Zealand (Jarvie et al. 2015) found that most released captive-reared tuatara Sphenodon punctatus survived at least 9 months after being released into a predator-free fenced enclosure with artificial burrows. After 3–5 months, all tuatara captive-reared locally (100%) and almost all tuatara captive-reared to the north of the release site (96%) survived. After 9–11 months, survival rates of tuatara reared north of the release site (70%) were higher than and locally-reared and released tuatara (67%, results were not statistically tested). Growth rates of locally-reared tuatara (0.05 mm/day) were faster than those reared away from the release site (0.04 mm/day). Changes in body condition, post-release dispersal and home range sizes were similar between locally-reared and distant-reared tuatara (see original paper for details). Juvenile tuatara (41 individuals) originating from the same wild population were released into a reserve in November–December 2012: captive-reared locally to the release site (13 individuals), and captive-reared 480 km north of the release site in a warmer climate (28 individuals). Captive-reared tuatara were hatched from artificially incubated eggs and reared until 4–6 years old. The reserve was surrounded by predator-resistant fencing and mammalian predators were mostly eradicated by 2008. Artificial burrows were buried in the release area. Tuatara were monitored by radio-tracking for 5 months (6 locally-reared, 10 north-reared individuals) and recapture surveys (all tuatara were PIT tagged) for up to 27 months after release.

    (Summarised by: Katie Sainsbury)

  3. Translocate adult or juvenile reptiles: Tuatara

    A study in 2012–2013 in regenerating temperate forest in South Island, New Zealand (Jarvie et al. 2015) found that most translocated and captive-reared tuatara Sphenodon punctatus survived at least 9 months in the wild. After 3–6 months, all translocated and almost all captive-reared and released tuatara survived (translocated: 100%, captive-reared: 96–100% survival rate). After 9–12 months, survival rates of translocated tuatara (73%) were highest, followed by tuatara reared north of the release site (70%) and locally-reared and released tuatara survival rates were lowest (67%, result was not statistically compared). See original paper for comparisons of growth rates, post-release dispersal and home range sizes between wild-caught, locally-reared and north-reared tuatara. Juvenile tuatara originating from the same wild population were released into a predator-free fenced reserve in October–December 2012: wild-caught from an island 570 km north of the release site (14 individuals), captive-reared locally to the release site (13 individuals), and captive-reared 480 km north of the release site in a warmer climate (28 individuals). Captive-reared tuatara were hatched from artificially incubated eggs and head started until 4–6 years old. Artificial burrows were buried in the release area. Tuatara were monitored by radio-tracking for 5 months (10 wild-caught, 6 locally-reared, 10 north-reared individuals) and recapture surveys for up to 27 months after release.

    (Summarised by: Katie Sainsbury)

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