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A behavioral comparison of captive-born, reintroduced golden lion tamarins and their wild-born offspring

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[The behavioral development of reintroduced, captive-born animals and their wild-born offspring is understudied, limiting the scientific understanding and, therefore, utility of reintroduction as a conservation tool. Several reintroduction programs have shown that survival rates of captive-born animals are lower than those of their wild-born offspring. However, whether these differences are because of increased behavioral competency of wild-born animals or age-related factors is unknown. This study compared behavior of captive-born golden lion tamarins to that of their age-matched first- and second-generation descendents. Subjects included 134 golden lion tamarins living in and around the Poco das Antas Biological Reserve in Brazil. Overall, captive-born animals were deficient in locomotor and foraging skills as compared with their wild-born offspring, and some of these deficiencies persisted after two years in the wild. Locomotor and foraging differences were also observed between generations of wild-born animals, suggesting that behavioral change continued past the first generation. Recommendations for future reintroductions with this and other species include: (1) increased exposure to complex environments prior to release; (2) intensive post-release support; (3) introduction of naïve animals with experienced conspecifics when possible; (4) comparisons of reintroduced and wild populations when possible; and (5) short-term management plans aimed at the survival of captive-born individuals combined with long-term plans focused on maximizing natural adaptive processes., The behavioral development of reintroduced, captive-born animals and their wild-born offspring is understudied, limiting the scientific understanding and, therefore, utility of reintroduction as a conservation tool. Several reintroduction programs have shown that survival rates of captive-born animals are lower than those of their wild-born offspring. However, whether these differences are because of increased behavioral competency of wild-born animals or age-related factors is unknown. This study compared behavior of captive-born golden lion tamarins to that of their age-matched first- and second-generation descendents. Subjects included 134 golden lion tamarins living in and around the Poco das Antas Biological Reserve in Brazil. Overall, captive-born animals were deficient in locomotor and foraging skills as compared with their wild-born offspring, and some of these deficiencies persisted after two years in the wild. Locomotor and foraging differences were also observed between generations of wild-born animals, suggesting that behavioral change continued past the first generation. Recommendations for future reintroductions with this and other species include: (1) increased exposure to complex environments prior to release; (2) intensive post-release support; (3) introduction of naïve animals with experienced conspecifics when possible; (4) comparisons of reintroduced and wild populations when possible; and (5) short-term management plans aimed at the survival of captive-born individuals combined with long-term plans focused on maximizing natural adaptive processes.]

10.1163/156853903321671479
/content/journals/10.1163/156853903321671479
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/content/journals/10.1163/156853903321671479
2003-02-01
2016-05-01

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