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Population Sex Ratios: Another Consideration in the Reintroduction - Reinforcement Debate?

AuthorsLambertucci, Sergio A.; Carrete, Martina ; Speciale, Karina L.; Hiraldo, F. ; Donázar, José A.
Issue Date2013
PublisherPublic Library of Science
CitationPLoS ONE, 8(9): e75821 (2013)
AbstractReintroduction or reinforcement (RorR) of wild populations is a common conservation strategy. Many conservation projects involve the release of individuals of poorly studied species. This may lead to inefficient results or negative impacts on the conservation efforts. Here, we provide new insights into the conservation implications and potential consequences of a skew in the sex ratio of released birds and of the number of birds supplemented for the demography of a long-lived dimorphic bird species, the Andean condor ( Vultur gryphus ). We demonstrate that a RorR conservation program may be less effective in conserving a species if the sex ratios of the releases and the recipient populations are not considered. We also show that releases can reduce population declines but only if carried out over long periods (i.e., several decades). This can mean high costs for release programs and the added challenge of maintaining programs over time. If RorR programs are to be implemented, bearing in mind the importance of properly assessing their effectiveness, we urge conservation researchers and managers to consider the implications of sex ratio biases for wild populations, and particularly for dimorphic species with sexually despotic behaviour.
Publisher version (URL)http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0075821
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