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Headstarting in European pond turtles (Emys orbicularis): Does it work?

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The European pond turtle (Emys orbicularis) is an endangered species in Poland. From 1998 to 2000, as part of an active protection program for the species in central Poland, 123 one-year-old headstarted individuals were released into their original population. Survival rate in artificial rearing was 0.85. Annual recapture rate of the released turtles during the first year in the wild was 0.24, and during next year 0.43 or higher. For comparable groups of one-year-old turtles the annual recapture rates of wild vs. headstarted were not statistically different, but they were based on small samples. Analysis of the data based on a life table for Emydoidea blandingii and data on survival rate of E. orbicularis to age one suggests that headstarting programs can increase population size only if a large percentage of hatchlings is taken to artificial rearing. However, as we know nothing about behaviour and survivorship of older headstarted turtles, such programs still should be considered as experiments.

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/content/journals/10.1163/156853805774408504
2005-09-01
2016-12-03

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