Establishment of new populations is quite difficult and expensive and it requires long term and serious commitments. The programs to capture, raise and monitor the species such as condor, peregrine falcon, ferrets millions of dollars are required and millions of year work is needed. When species are long lived they required that much time to take care of the program. Emotional public issues were raised while decision making of reintroduction of grizzly bears, grey wolf programs, black footed ferrets and California condor.
Criticism regarding this reintroduction programs raised were:
- Waste of Money
- Poorly run
Answers to these Questions
The answers to these questions is simple that not every endangered specie is suited for reintroduction program. A well designed and well run reintroduction program proves to be best option for the endangered species that are at the verge of extinction. It is very important to explain the goals of programs to the local people. Public acceptance should be involved. Local community should be addressed with the need of these programs rather than the enforcement by laws and regulations.
Genetic component should be taken into account in reintroduction programs. Captive bred animals lose their genetic variability. The captive animals grown in captivity from generations leads to gene frequency changes such as in Pacific Salmon. Careful selection of animals should be done against inbreeding depression and to produce more genetically diverse populations.
“Animals need special care and attention during and after the release of species. This approach is known as soft release.”
Animals have to be fed and sheltered at release point. They are initially kept in cages at release point so that they are familiar of the area and than they are gradually released into the wild.
“Release of animals from captivity to wild without any initial subsistence such as food supplementation is known as hard release.”
This results in the dispersion of groups from the protected areas and it proves to be a failed effort.
Interventions are necessary for the survival of species especially in droughts or low food abundance conditions. Outbreaks of diseases and pests must be monitored. Impact of human activities such as agriculture and farming must be seen.
Reintroduction programs have gained educational value. The efforts to reintroduce and preserve the Golden Lion Temarins in Bazil has become a rallying point for protecting the last fragments of Atlantic coastal forests.
Captive bred Arabian Oryx has become a national symbol and became the employment source for people of Bedouins.
These programs are important in determining whether the reintroduction programs are achieving their stated goals. Monitoring elements are:
Determining the animals that are released are survived or not?
Establishing breeding population than seeing if this population is increasing over time and geographical range.
Red Wolves Reintroduction
Red Wolves were reintroduced in Alligator river National Wildlife Refuge in northeastern north California. 42 captive bred species were introduced. Survival observed was 50 % after 3 years and 23 pups were produced. Animals established here survived by hunting on raccoons and eating carrion. This program was proved to be successful effort.