Study

Translocation as a conservation tool for Agassiz's desert tortoises: Survivorship, reproduction, and movements

  • Published source details Nussear K.E., Tracy C.R., Medica P.A., Wilson D.S., Marlow R.W. & Corn P.S. (2012) Translocation as a conservation tool for Agassiz's desert tortoises: Survivorship, reproduction, and movements. The Journal of Wildlife Management, 76, 1341-1353.

Actions

This study is summarised as evidence for the following.

Action Category

Translocate reptiles away from threats: Tortoises, terrapins, side-necked & softshell turtles

Action Link
Reptile Conservation
  1. Translocate reptiles away from threats: Tortoises, terrapins, side-necked & softshell turtles

    A replicated, controlled study in 1997–2000 in five sites of desert scrub in Utah, USA (Nussear et al. 2012) found that Agassiz’s desert tortoises Gopherus agassizii translocated away from development areas had similar survival and produced a similar number of eggs as resident tortoises. Overall annual survival was high (94%), and 89% of translocated tortoises (141 of 159) and 85% of resident tortoises (61 of 72) survived for at least 2–3 years. Time spent in captivity (15–2,300 days) did not affect survival (see paper for details). Translocated and resident tortoises produced a similar number of eggs during the study (2–8 eggs/female). Overall, translocated tortoises moved more than residents (translocated: 1,600 m; resident: 600 m). Translocated tortoises were sourced from two facilities used to house tortoises displaced by urban development (held for 15–2,300 days) and 120 individuals were translocated to a total of five sites over three years (17–82 tortoises/year to 1–4 sites in 1997–1998). Translocated tortoises were compared to 72 resident tortoises randomly encountered at two sites in Nevada. All tortoises were marked and monitored weekly using radio telemetry.

    (Summarised by: Maggie Watson, William Morgan)

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