Translocations are an increasing feature of threatened species conservation plans, but the impact of removal of individuals on the source population is seldom studied. Using computational Population Dynamics P System models and the Pyrenean Bearded Vulture population as a case study we looked at: the effect on the source population of alternative strategies for removal of individual birds for use in reintroduction projects; and the trade-offs between the various management options. According to our models (over a 30 year prediction horizon) the removal of one clutch, juvenile or non-territorial adult each year over an 11 year period, results in an annual loss of 1.57, 3.71 and 0.97 territories, respectively. We forecast the impact of a plausible removal scenario for the Pyrenees source population (the removal of five clutches and five non-territorial adults each year over 11 years), leading to a predicted loss of 16 breeding territories. Nevertheless, changes in demographic parameters, mainly in productivity and adult survival, could substantially affect these predicted results. With the current demographic parameters, the removal scenarios that were estimated to not affect population size after 30 years (95% CI) are limited to: (1) the removal of five clutches and five non-territorial adults during a single year; (2) the annual removal of five non-territorial adults during a 6 year period; and (3) the annual removal of five clutches during a 6 year period. Our results suggest that removals from the Pyrenean Bearded Vulture source population should be performed with caution due to uncertainties arising from stochastic changes in survival and productivity.
Colomer, M.A., Oliva-Vidal, P., Jiménez, J., Martínez, J.M. & Margalida, A. Prioritizing removal actions for the reintroduction of endangered species: insights from bearded vulture simulation modeling. Animal Conservation. https://doi.org/10.1111/acv.12549
Available online at: https://zslpublications.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/acv.12549