Study

Mortality of Siberian polecats and black-footed ferrets released onto prairie dog colonies

  • Published source details Biggins D.E., Miller B.J., Hanebury L.R. & Powell R.A. (2011) Mortality of Siberian polecats and black-footed ferrets released onto prairie dog colonies. Journal of Mammalogy, 92, 721-731.

Actions

This study is summarised as evidence for the following.

Action Category

Release translocated/captive-bred mammals in areas with invasive/problematic species eradication/control

Action Link
Terrestrial Mammal Conservation

Use holding pens at release site prior to release of captive-bred mammals

Action Link
Terrestrial Mammal Conservation
  1. Release translocated/captive-bred mammals in areas with invasive/problematic species eradication/control

    A study in 1991 at a grassland site in Wyoming, USA (Biggins et al. 2011) found that following predator management, captive-born black-footed ferrets Mustela nigripes released from holding pens had higher post-release mortality than did resident wild ferrets. The estimated one-month survival rate for captive-born released ferrets (49%) was lower than that for free-ranging wild ferrets at their ancestral site (93%). Of animals known to have died, five were predated by coyotes Canis latrans, one by a badger Taxidea taxus, one by a golden eagle Aquila chrysaetos and two died of starvation. Black-footed ferrets were extirpated in the wild in 1985–1986. Thirty-seven captive-bred ferrets were released in September–November 1991, when 4–6 months old, onto a white-tailed prairie dog Cynomys leucurus colony. Before releases, 66 coyotes and 63 badgers were removed from the site. Ferrets spent two weeks in acclimatisation cages at the reintroduction site before release. Dead prairie dogs were provided in the cage for 10 days post-release. Ferrets were monitored by radio-tracking for ≤42 days after release.

    (Summarised by: Casey Johnson )

  2. Use holding pens at release site prior to release of captive-bred mammals

    A study in 1991 at a grassland site in Wyoming, USA (Biggins, Miller et al. 2011) found that released captive-born black-footed ferrets Mustela nigripes kept in holding pens in the release site (where predators had been controlled) had higher post-release mortality than did resident wild ferrets. The estimated one-month survival rate for captive-born released ferrets (49%) was lower than that for free-ranging wild ferrets at their ancestral site (93%). Of animals known to have died, five were predated by coyotes Canis latrans, one by a badger Taxidea taxus, one by a golden eagle Aquila chrysaetos and two died of starvation. Black-footed ferrets were extirpated in the wild in 1985–1986. Thirty-seven captive-bred ferrets were released in September–November 1991, when 4–6 months old, onto a white-tailed prairie dog Cynomys leucurus colony. Before releases, 66 coyotes and 63 badgers were removed from the site. Ferrets spent two weeks in acclimatisation cages at the reintroduction site before release. Dead prairie dogs were provided in the cage for 10 days post-release. Ferrets were monitored by radio-tracking for ≤42 days after release.

    (Summarised by: Casey Johnson )

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