Survival rates of captive-bred Asian Houbara Chlamydotis macqueenii in a hunted migratory population

Robert Burnside, Nigel Collar, Keith Scotland, Paul Dolman

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Abstract

Asian Houbara Chlamydotis macqueenii numbers are declining owing to unsustainable levels of hunting and poaching, with the main conservation response being population reinforcement through the release of captive-bred birds. We assessed the contribution of captive breeding to the species’ conservation by examining the fates of 65 captive-bred birds fitted with satellite transmitters and released during spring (March–May) and autumn (August) into breeding habitat in Uzbekistan. Of the released birds, 58.5% survived to October, the month favoured by Emirati hunters in Uzbekistan, but only 10.8% of those released survived the winter to return as sub-adults next spring. To mitigate and compensate the loss of wild adults to hunting, the number of released birds needs to be an order of magnitude higher than hunting quotas (with a release of between 1640-1920 required for a hypothetical quota of 200), indicating that releases may be costly and do not remove the need for a biologically determined sustainable hunting quota.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)353-361
JournalIbis
Volume158
Issue number2
Early online date10 Mar 2016
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2016

Keywords

  • sustainable hunting
  • captive breeding
  • translocation
  • supplementation

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