Biological and technical considerations of carnivore translocation: a review


All correspondence to: Brian Miller. Tel: 303-376-4944; E-mail:


Carnivore translocations are usually risky and expensive, and a number of biological and non-biological factors can influence success. Biological considerations include knowledge of genetics, demographics, behavior, disease, and habitat requirements. This information is critical for determining if the translocation should be attempted, if it could be successful, and how it could be implemented in an efficient and effective manner. We stress that individual species will vary in their responses, and ideas should be tested scientifically. The technical considerations of translocation are closely related to the biological questions. They include legal framework, fiscal and intellectual resources, monitoring capacity, goals of the translocation, logistic challenges, and organizational structure of decision-making. We do not discuss socio-economic aspects of translocation because those challenges require detailed discussion in a separate paper. We suggest that because large carnivores often play key roles in regulating ecological interactions between trophic levels, restoring them is more than a single-species activity. By restoring carnivores in viable numbers, we can take a large step toward recovering ecological integrity of geographically extensive landscapes.