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Providing evidence to improve practice

Individual study: Achieving success with small, translocated mammal populations

Published source details

Van Houtan K.S., Halley J.M., van Aarde R. & Pimm S.L. (2009) Achieving success with small, translocated mammal populations. Conservation Letters, 2, 254-262


This study is summarised as evidence for the intervention(s) shown on the right. The icon shows which synopsis it is relevant to.

Release translocated/captive-bred mammals to areas outside historical range Terrestrial Mammal Conservation

A study in 1949-2001 in South Africa (Van Houtan et al. 2009) found that following translocations outside of the species’ native ranges, population sizes of most of 22 species of herbivorous mammals increased. Following translocation, 82 out of 125 populations (66%) of 22 species of mammals (white rhinoceros Ceratotherium simum, mountain zebra Equus zebra, plains zebra Equus quagga, giraffe Giraffa camelopardalis, African buffalo Syncerus caffer and 17 species of antelope) had positive growth rates (data presented as results of population growth models). Seventeen of the 22 species were introduced outside of their historical range. Population models were based on long-term monitoring data from 178 populations relocated to 24 reserves in 1949-1978 (see original paper for modelling details). Only translocations with five or more consecutive years of monitoring results were included (125 translocations, monitoring data duration: 5-47 years). Translocation details are not provided but authors state that most translocated populations began with fewer than 15 individuals and that most reserves contained water impoundments and lacked top predators, such as lions Panthera leo or spotted hyenas Crocuta crocuta.

(Summarised by Ricardo Rocha)

Translocate to re-establish or boost populations in native range Terrestrial Mammal Conservation

A replicated study in 1949-2001 in South Africa (Van Houtan et al. 2009) found that following translocations inside and outside of their historical ranges, population sizes of most of 22 species of grazing mammals increased. Following translocation, 82 out of 125 populations (66%) of 22 grazing mammals (white rhinoceros Ceratotherium simum, mountain zebra Equus zebra, plains zebra Equus quagga, giraffe Giraffa camelopardalis, African buffalo Syncerus caffer and seventeen species of antelope) exhibited positive growth rates (data presented as results of population growth models). Population models were based on long-term monitoring data from 178 populations relocated to 24 reserves in 1949-1978 (see original paper for details). Only translocations with five or more consecutive years of monitoring results were included (125 translocations, monitoring data duration: 5–47 years). Translocation details are not provided but authors state that most translocated populations began with fewer than 15 individuals and that most reserves contained water impoundments and lacked top predators, such as lions Panthera leo or spotted hyenas Crocuta crocuta. Seventeen of the 22 species were introduced outside of their historical range.

(Summarised by Ricardo Rocha)