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Predator visits to acclimatization pens: implications for the soft-release of gallinaceous birds

  • David A. Keiter (a1) and Rebekah E. Ruzicka (a2)

Abstract

Predator visitation to acclimatization or soft-release pens containing captive translocated animals has the potential to cause sub-lethal effects or physical injury that could influence post-release survival and establishment. No previous study has examined potential interactions between captive and resident animals during pre-release holding periods. We monitored seven holding pens containing wild-caught northern bobwhite Colinus virginianus or scaled quail Callipepla squamata in the Rolling Plains Ecoregion of Texas, USA, using remote camera systems. Our objectives were to determine if resident predator species and conspecifics visited holding pens, and to characterize visits by species, frequency, duration and behaviour. We recorded visitation to holding pens by four potential predator species. Although most visits by mammalian predators were short in duration, northern raccoons Procyon lotor were observed spending extended periods of time at holding pens. We also recorded resident scaled quail and northern bobwhite quail visiting holding pens containing conspecifics. We recommend that future studies using a soft-release technique in which captive animals are held at the release site consider the potential impacts of predator visitation to holding pens, and methods to mitigate those impacts.

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Copyright

Corresponding author

(Corresponding author) E-mail david.keiter@gmail.com

Footnotes

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Current address: University of Georgia, Savannah River Ecology Laboratory, Warnell Department of Forestry and Natural Resources, PO Drawer E, Aiken, SC 29802, USA

Current address: Department of Fish, Wildlife, and Conservation Biology, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, USA

Footnotes

References

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Keywords

Predator visits to acclimatization pens: implications for the soft-release of gallinaceous birds

  • David A. Keiter (a1) and Rebekah E. Ruzicka (a2)

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