Translocation is a powerful tool in conservation management, but one of the major problems of this tool is dispersal after release. Translocated animals might disperse from prime habitat and face unsuitable habitat and possible increased exposure to predators. This might lead to decline of a translocated population and could compromise the success of translocation. We assessed whether short-term confinement within enclosures at the translocation site can significantly decrease post release movement, if confinement allowed animals to become familiar with the new habitat, and to overcome handling related stress. We simulated the translocation of an Australian lizard, the endangered pygmy bluetongue lizard Tiliqua adelaidensis, into the centre of a large enclosure and compared the behaviour between individuals confined to the central region for one or five days before release. We found that lizards confined for five days spent less time basking, and were more likely to disperse than lizards confined for just one day. We suggest that short-term confinement of lizards induces additional stress and that extra days of short-term confinement will not necessarily improve the success of a translocation. Future research could determine the effectiveness of different durations of confinement for releasing animals at translocation sites.
- soft release
- Tiliqua adelaidensis