Ecological Considerations When Designing Mitigation Translocations: An Australian Reptile Case Study

Holly S. Bradley, Michael D. Craig, Sean Tomlinson, Adam T. Cross, Michael J. Bamford, Philip W. Bateman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Translocation science has made considerable progress over the last two decades; however, reptile translocations still frequently fail around the world. Major knowledge gaps surround the basic ecology of reptile species, including basic factors such as habitat preference, which have a critical influence on translocation success. The western spiny-tailed skink (Egernia stokesii badia) is used here as a case study to exemplify how empirical research can directly inform on-ground management and future translocation planning. A combination of studies, including LiDAR scanning of microhabitat structures, camera trapping, plasticine replica model experiments and unbounded point count surveys to assess predation risk, and visual and DNA analysis of dietary requirements, were all used to better understand the ecological requirements of E. s. badia. We found that the skinks have specific log pile requirements, both native and non-native predator management requirements, and a largely herbivorous, broad diet, which all influence translocation site selection and management planning. The use of E. s. badia as an Australian case study provides a clear strategic framework for the targeted research of meaningful ecological factors that influence translocation decision-making. Similar approaches applied to other reptile species are likely to fundamentally increase the capacity for effective management, and the likelihood of future successful translocations.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2594
JournalAnimals
Volume13
Issue number16
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2023

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