A ‘Stepping-Stone’ Approach to Endangered Species Release
Image Credit: Alina Fisher, Image Cropped, CC BY 4.0
Optimizing release strategies: a stepping-stone approach to reintroduction (2019) Lloyd et al., Animal Conservation, 22.
Restoring endangered species through breeding the species in captivity has become common practice over the last century, and has led to the successful recovery of many species. But the process is complicated, as there are always dangers inherent in releasing species that have become used to captivity back into the wild.
This week’s researchers wanted to test a new approach: rather than releasing species directly back into an area where they have disappeared from, they wanted to first release individuals into an already-occupied habitat patch, where predators and prey were present but the species had a high survival probability. This would be a stepping stone before a second release, intended to restore a population in a new area.