Free housing for declining populations: optimizing the provision of artificial breeding structures

  • Published source details D'Amico M., Tablado Z., Revilla E. & Palomares F. (2014) Free housing for declining populations: optimizing the provision of artificial breeding structures. Journal for Nature Conservation (English 2002-)*, 22, 369-376.


This study is summarised as evidence for the following.

Action Category

Release translocated mammals into fenced areas

Action Link
Terrestrial Mammal Conservation
  1. Release translocated mammals into fenced areas

    A replicated, controlled study in 2004–2006 in 16 grassland sites in Andalusia, Spain (D'Amico et al. 2014) found that European rabbits Oryctolagus cuniculus bred in artificial warrens and that reproductive success was higher in fenced than in unfenced warrens. One hundred and twenty-one rabbit kittens were detected during 222 artificial warren observations (0.54/observation). More kittens were detected in fenced than in unfenced artificial warrens (data presented as model results). The study was conducted in sixteen 5-ha sites across two areas of Doñana National Park. Five artificial warrens in each site each consisted of a two-floor wooden structure (15 × 3 × 1 m) with 30 entrances, covered with a metallic net, ground cloth and sand. In eight sites, artificial warrens were fenced to deter terrestrial predators, with a 2-m tall metallic net that extended 0.5 m underground. In eight sites, warrens were not fenced. In each site, 5–19 rabbits/ha were released in October or November of 2004 or 2005. Rabbit reproductive success was surveyed the following year, between February and August, through observations of kittens in focal artificial warrens, using a spotting-scope.

    (Summarised by: Ricardo Rocha)

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