Determining the success of varying short-term confinement time during simulated translocations of the endangered pygmy bluetongue lizard (Tiliqua adelaidensis)
Bull, Christopher Michael
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Translocation is a powerful tool in conservation management, but one of the major problems of this tool is dispersal after release because of a tendency of animals to disperse from unfamiliar sites. 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 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.