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Providing evidence to improve practice

Individual study: Allegheny woodrat (Neotoma magister) captive propagation to promote recovery of declining populations

Published source details

Smyser T.J. & Swihart R.K. (2014) Allegheny woodrat (Neotoma magister) captive propagation to promote recovery of declining populations. Zoo Biology, 33, 29-35

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Breed mammals in captivity Terrestrial Mammal Conservation

A study in 2009-2011 in a captive facility in Indiana, USA (Smyser & Swihart 2014) found that wild-caught Allegheny woodrats Neotoma magister bred in captivity. Over 26 months, 33 pairings resulted in copulation which produced 19 litters (58% pregnancy rate). Those litters comprised of 43 pups (26 male, 17 female), of which 40 (24 male, 16 female) survived to weaning at 45 days. Overall, eight of 12 wild‐caught females produced offspring (1-5 litters) and four of six wild‐caught males sired litters (1-8 litters). In 2009 a captive breeding program was established using eight wild-caught individuals collected from the seven populations in Indiana and four caught from populations in Pennsylvania. The breeding population was maintained at 12-13 animals with a female bias (8:4). Seven new wild animals replaced five in 2010-2011. Individuals were housed in wire mesh enclosures (91 x 61 x 46 cm or 76 x 46 x 91 cm) with access to the opposite sex and an external nest box (23 x 23 x 23 or 36 cm). Enclosures were at 20°C with 13 hours of light/24 hrs. Captive‐reared juveniles were released into wild populations in April-July each year.

(Summarised by Rebecca Smith)