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Providing evidence to improve practice

Individual study: Effect of family support on the success of translocated black-tailed prairie dogs Cynomys ludovicianus on the Vermejo Park Ranch, New Mexico, USA

Published source details

Shier D.M. (2006) Effect of family support on the success of translocated black-tailed prairie dogs. Conservation Biology, 20, 780-790


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Release translocated/captive-bred mammals in family/social groups Terrestrial Mammal Conservation

A replicated, paired study in 2001–2003 in 10 grassland sites in New Mexico, USA (Shier 2006) found that black‐tailed prairie dogs Cynomys ludovicianus translocated as family groups had higher survival and reproductive success than black‐tailed prairie dogs translocated in non-family groups. Prairie dogs translocated as a family had higher post-release survival to the following spring (39–62%) and higher reproductive success (2.2–3.9 pups/female) than did those translocated as non-family groups (survival: 7–19%; reproductive success: 0.2–3.4 pups/female). Ten sites in Vermejo Park Ranch, Colfax County, from which prairie-dogs were absent but which were within the historical range, were selected. Four hundred and eighty-four wild-caught black-tailed prairie dogs were translocated in family groups into five sites (87–100/site) and 489 were translocated as non-family groups into five sites (88–103/site). Translocations took place in June–August of 2001 and2002. Survival and reproductive success were measured by trapping marked animals during the spring in the year after release (in May–July 2002 and May-June 2003).

(Summarised by Ricardo Rocha)