A long-term systematic approach to planning reintroductions: The Persian fallow deer and the Arabian oryx in Israel

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Abstract

A long-term systematic approach to planning the reintroduction of Persian fallow deer (Dama dama mesopotamica) and Arabian oryx (Oryx leucoryx) in Israel is presented. The reintroductions rely on local breeding-cores that are at their holding capacity of 150 deer and 80 oryx. The approach is based on three elements: (1) maximizing the number of animals that can be withdrawn from a permanent breeding core for the purpose of reintroduction using 'maximum sustained yield' (MSY) techniques; (2) determining a priori, using rules-of-thumb (such as IUCN Red List Categories), preliminary criteria for project completion; and (3) estimating the time it would take the reintroduced populations to meet the criteria for project completion. I used Monte Carlo Leslie matrix growth models to determine MSY and to project the growth of the reintroduced population. Based on these simulations, the MSY for the fallow deer breeding-core is 15 adult females in the first year and 12 adult females/year thereafter. The oryx breeding-core can yield 12 adult females during the first year and 16 adult females every third year thereafter. Project completion was preliminarily set to a wild population of 250 adult deer and 100 adult oryx. The simulations predict that it will take 8-11 years to complete the fallow deer reintroduction and 6-10 years to complete the oryx reintroduction. Post-release monitoring will help improve the data used in the model and permit re-assessment of the criteria for project completion.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)245-252
Number of pages8
JournalAnimal Conservation
Volume1
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Jan 1998
Externally publishedYes

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