Wildlife reintroduction: considerations of habitat quality at the release site
Susan M Cheyne
Wildlife Research Group, Department of Anatomy, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK
BMC Ecology 2006,
6:5doi:10.1186/1472-6785-6-5. [Open Access]
Assessing the suitability of a habitat prior to the release of
animals is vital. Proper assessment of the flora will allow
reintroduction programmes to determine whether the area will be capable
of supporting the released animals in the long-term. Here data are
presented from an island in Central Kalimantan, Indonesia which has
been used as a release site for agile gibbons (Hylobates agilis albibarbis) since January 2003.
Methods and results regarding fruit abundance, fruit productivity,
tree density and diversity are presented. This information is then
analysed in the context of the island's suitability to sustain released
gibbons and without impact on the resident fauna. Based on the above
ecological characteristics, the final carrying capacity of the island
is estimated to be between 3 and 19 gibbons.
These data highlight the need to survey areas being considered for
release of gibbon prior to the release taking place. For
reintroductions to be successful, long-term habitat assessment is
vital, both pre- and post-release.