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Linklater, W.L.; Gedir, J.V.; Law, P.R.; Swaisgood, R.R.; Adcock, K.; Du Preez, P.; Knight, M.H.; Kerley, G.I.H., 2012. Translocations as experiments in the ecological resilience of an asocial mega-herbivore. PLoS One 7 (1) (e30664): 1-6

Location: Africa - Southern Africa
Subject: Translocation
Species: Black Rhino

Original text on this topic:
Species translocations are remarkable experiments in evolutionary ecology, and increasingly critical to biodiversity conservation. Elaborate socio-ecological hypotheses for translocation success, based on theoretical fitness relationships, are untested and lead to complex uncertainty rather than parsimonious solutions. We used an extraordinary 89 reintroduction and 102 restocking events releasing 682 black rhinoceros (Diceros bicornis) to 81 reserves in southern Africa (1981–2005) to test the influence of interacting socio-ecological and individual characters on post-release survival. We predicted that the socio-ecological context should feature more prominently after restocking than reintroduction because released rhinoceros interact with resident conspecifics. Instead, an interaction between release cohort size and habitat quality explained reintroduction success but only individuals’ ages explained restocking outcomes. Achieving translocation success for many species may not be as complicated as theory suggests. Black rhino, and similarly asocial generalist herbivores without substantial predators, are likely to be resilient to ecological challenges and robust candidates for crisis management in a changing world.

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