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Individual study: A longer confinement period favors European wild rabbit (Oryctolagus cuniculus) survival during soft releases in low-cover habitats

Published source details

Rouco C., Ferreras P., Castro F. & Villafuerte R. (2010) A longer confinement period favors European wild rabbit (Oryctolagus cuniculus) survival during soft releases in low-cover habitats. European Journal of Wildlife Research, 56, 215-219


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Use holding pens at release site prior to release of translocated mammals Terrestrial Mammal Conservation

A replicated, randomized, controlled study published in 2010 of a grassland site in Andalucía, Spain (Rouco et al. 2010) found that holding translocated wild European rabbits Oryctolagus cuniculus for longer in acclimation pens before release improved subsequent survival rates. A lower proportion of rabbits enclosed for six nights before release was killed by mammalian predators over the following 10 days (9%) than of rabbits enclosed for three nights before release (38%). Rabbits were translocated to a 4-ha grass field with artificial warrens. Food and water were provided. Of 181 rabbits released (average 10/warren), 38 randomly selected rabbits (2–5 in each of 15 warrens) were radio-collared. Twenty-three of these were released on the seventh day, following six nights of confinement and 14 were released on the fourth day, following three nights of confinement. The date of the study is not stated. Rabbits were monitored daily during confinement and for 10 days following release.

(Summarised by Nick Littlewood)