In an attempt to reduce the high extinction risk inherent to small island populations, we translocated wild Laysan teal Anas laysanensis to a portion of its presumed prehistoric range. Most avian translocations lack the strategic post-release monitoring needed to assess early population establishment or failure. Therefore, we monitored the survival and reproduction of all founders, and their first-generation offspring using radio telemetry for 2 years after the first release. Forty-two Laysan teal were sourced directly from the only extant population on Laysan Island and transported 2 days by ship to Midway Atoll. All birds survived the translocation with nutritional and veterinary support, and spent between 4 and 14 days in captivity. Post-release survival of 42 founders was 0.857 (95% CI 0.86-0.99) during 2004-2006 or annualized 0.92 (95% CI 0.83-0.98). Seventeen of 18 founding hens attempted nesting in the first two breeding seasons. Fledgling success was 0.57 (95% CI 0.55-0.60) in 2005 and 0.63 (95% CI 0.62-0.64) in 2006. The effective founding female population (Ne) was 13. We applied these initial demographic rates to model population growth. The nascent population size increased to >100 after only 2 years post-release (?? = 1.73). If this growth rate continues, the size of the Midway population could surpass the source population before 2010. ?? 2008 The Authors. Journal compilation ?? 2008 The Zoological Society of London.
Additional publication details
Translocation and early post-release demography of endangered Laysan teal