Review and analysis of Australian macropod translocations 1969–2006
- Translocations have become an increasingly popular tool in threatened macropod conservation in Australia. Although previous evaluations of Australian macropod translocations have been published, the number of contemporary translocation programmes awaiting analysis, and new data regarding historic translocations, required a new assessment of macropod translocation programmes.
- We aimed to assess trends in the way macropod translocations were conducted during the period 1969–2006, determine the number of successful translocations and identify factors common to successful translocations.
- Data regarding macropod translocations were obtained from a wide variety of sources, including peer-reviewed journals, ‘grey’ literature and popular interest publications. Questionnaires were also sent to translocation managers to acquire detailed information. Specific aspects of macropod translocation methodology were analysed, and classification tree analysis was conducted to identify methodological and environmental factors common to successful translocations.
- We identified 109 macropod translocations for which sufficient data could be collected to permit analysis. Using the presence of a population on 1 January 2007 as a simple criterion, 61% of translocations were successful. Of these translocations, 66% were also considered successful by Short et al.'s criteria (population persisted for five years and is deemed likely to continue to persist); the remainder could not be assessed due to lack of data or insufficient elapsed time since release. Classification tree analysis suggested methodological and environmental factors common to successful translocations; the overriding factor determining success was the absence of cats and foxes at the release site.
- Although Australian macropod translocation proponents are faced with myriad methodological options when designing a translocation protocol, the primary consideration should be whether or not cats or foxes are present at the release site. Managers should be aware that there may be no safe population level of such predators for some translocation candidate species. Ignoring this fact will inevitably lead to a repeat of past translocation failures.