Release of Wild-Caught Herps

Description of your first forum.

Release of Wild-Caught Herps

Post by Tony Ber » Sun, 25 Jun 1995 04:00:00



: Do wild-caught reptiles that were captive for an extended period
: of time manage to survive upon release?  

: Does prolonged contact (ie years) with humans impact a reptile's
: ability to survive in the wild?

        These are questions I've been kicking around with members of my
herp club for some time now. Most feel that as far as adaptability, as
long as they were released into the same area they were collected from,
they'd probably survive well.
        The question of weather the released animals could spread disease
to a wild colony, isn't as clear an issue. I personally feel that as long
as there is some doubt, it isn't worth taking the chance of possibly
impacting on a natural population of herps. My own practice is to release
animals that have been very short-term captives, and have been isolated
from any of my captive-bred or long term captive collection;(such as
specimens used for photographing or at a metro park talk or two). Any
others are either kept or found a good home for with the provision that
they NOT be released into nature again. This is why I think it is so
important to think before we collect animals.
        There are some studies going on now with box turtles and
preliminary results seem to indicate that animals re-released in different
areas than where captured have a quite low survival rate.
        Any other thoughts out there?
Tony Berke

 
 
 

Release of Wild-Caught Herps

Post by gren.. » Sun, 25 Jun 1995 04:00:00


It is generally believed an an epidemic of fatal respiratory viral problems
in Western Tortoises  has been the result of releasing captives into
wild native populations.  

I think it is a very bad idea to willy-nilly release any captive animal
into the wild without professional wildife rehab and veterinary
supervision.   The release of captive breds to sustain threatened
wild populations  is done only after the most extraordinary studies
and plans have been performed.

S Grenard

 
 
 

Release of Wild-Caught Herps

Post by J. Monaha » Sun, 25 Jun 1995 04:00:00


I agree with your friend. Most herp behavior is instinctual and released
animals should do fine. This isn't the case with animals that learn  more. (An
interesting discussion of the failure of captive re-introduction of the Thick-
billed Parrot in AZ has been underway in the CITIES-L listserv.)

Many have noticed as well that captive herps sometimes get quite wild acting
when exposed to the out-of-doors.



Quote:
Zimmer) writes:
>Do wild-caught reptiles that were captive for an extended period
>of time manage to survive upon release?  

>Does prolonged contact (ie years) with humans impact a reptile's
>ability to survive in the wild?

>Assume that the reptile was a healthy *** when caught, and a healthy
>*** when released, and that it is released into the same area where
>it was caught.  

>I have been arguing with a friend about these questions, and was
>wondering if anyone out there could help me out.

>My friend argues that since most of most reptiles' behavior is
>instinctive, released captives would survive just fine in the wild.

>I, however, believe that a released reptile would not do well in the
>wild, since it is used to regular food/water/temperature and it isn't
>automatically shy of humans.  I am also concerned about the impact of
>releases on their environment, particularly the spread of disease.

>Have any studies been done of released herps?

>Thanks in advance.


>CS grad student, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

---

                 Joe Monahan   **              **    Web Page Design
       CORVUS MULTIMEDIA INC   **              **    Computer Graphics

      605 East Burlington St.  **              **    Iowa City, IA 52240

 
 
 

Release of Wild-Caught Herps

Post by Oolan Zimm » Sun, 25 Jun 1995 04:00:00


Do wild-caught reptiles that were captive for an extended period
of time manage to survive upon release?  

Does prolonged contact (ie years) with humans impact a reptile's
ability to survive in the wild?

Assume that the reptile was a healthy *** when caught, and a healthy
*** when released, and that it is released into the same area where
it was caught.  

I have been arguing with a friend about these questions, and was
wondering if anyone out there could help me out.

My friend argues that since most of most reptiles' behavior is
instinctive, released captives would survive just fine in the wild.

I, however, believe that a released reptile would not do well in the
wild, since it is used to regular food/water/temperature and it isn't
automatically shy of humans.  I am also concerned about the impact of
releases on their environment, particularly the spread of disease.

Have any studies been done of released herps?

Thanks in advance.


CS grad student, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

 
 
 

Release of Wild-Caught Herps

Post by Sue Solom » Sun, 25 Jun 1995 04:00:00


As a wildlife rehabilitator and reptile hobbyist, I've been
interested in these questions too.  The U.S. Fish and Wildlife
Service would not allow me to release an *** garter snake
which was found in a street in December because I kept it
over the winter.  The USFWS claimed that any contact with
humans and their domestic pets could contaminate native
populations in legally preserved areas.  (I released the
garter snake elswhere.)

If you post your inquiry to sci.bio.herp, you'll hear from
researchers in this area, but I found they disagree as well.

Quote:

> Do wild-caught reptiles that were captive for an extended period
> of time manage to survive upon release?  

> Does prolonged contact (ie years) with humans impact a reptile's
> ability to survive in the wild?

> Assume that the reptile was a healthy *** when caught, and a healthy
> *** when released, and that it is released into the same area where
> it was caught.  

> I have been arguing with a friend about these questions, and was
> wondering if anyone out there could help me out.

> My friend argues that since most of most reptiles' behavior is
> instinctive, released captives would survive just fine in the wild.

> I, however, believe that a released reptile would not do well in the
> wild, since it is used to regular food/water/temperature and it isn't
> automatically shy of humans.  I am also concerned about the impact of
> releases on their environment, particularly the spread of disease.

> Have any studies been done of released herps?

> Thanks in advance.


> CS grad student, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

 
 
 

Release of Wild-Caught Herps

Post by mel turn » Mon, 26 Jun 1995 04:00:00



Quote:
>As a wildlife rehabilitator and reptile hobbyist, I've been
>interested in these questions too.  The U.S. Fish and Wildlife
>Service would not allow me to release an *** garter snake
>which was found in a street in December because I kept it
>over the winter.  The USFWS claimed that any contact with
>humans and their domestic pets could contaminate native
>populations in legally preserved areas.  (I released the
>garter snake elswhere.)

   A couple of points:  1)  animals in hard-winter areas may need to "learn"
the local hibernation den sites in order to survive.  Timber rattlesnakes or
Canadian garter snakes may  need to be released into established communal
hibernation dens in the autumn to have a chance.   Would they then imprint on
the den's  location and be able to return the next year? (It's worth
investigating...)  Herps with less specialized habitat requirements (e.g.,
where winters are mild enough that  any hole in the ground will do...) are
more likely to survive.    Home-range territoriality of box turtles and
gophertortoises is a similar problem-- they might need to be penned for a
while  in a selected, suitable area in order for them to to learn to adopt it
as their new home range (or else thay may just wander aimlessly & be lost).

    2) Native herps that have been exposed to  any _wild-caught *** herps_
in captivity pose the biggest threats for introducing potentially dangerous
new diseases or parasites.  Keep any  releasables isolated from your ball
python.  (it is always good to keep all wild-caught animals separated
regardless of release plans)   We obviously don't want any African or S.
American reptile diseases loose in N. America.   Isolation should  extend to
no contact with  one another's  cage substrates, water bowls, poop scoopers,
etc..

   3)  For captive-bred hatchlings of  native species to be releasable,  both
parents should be derived from the _same local wild population_.  Only
releases of such offspring _in the ancestral location_ won't harm the natural
microgeographic variation of the species.     I've seen it argued by  purists
that  both parents must be from the same few square miles that the babies are
to be released in.    It is relatively easy to keep  hatchlings  healthy and
isolated (= parasite-free) from birth.   (Of course,  wild caught ***s
similarly  shouldn't be released far from their original collection site)

    4) basic survival instincts of herps are probably largely "hard wired",
and such things as"tameness" and  acquired captive feeding habits will
probably go away soon after release.   Obesity, malnutrition, malformations,
injuries & any other captivity-caused physical changes, won't.   (another case
against releasing long-term captives).
mdt    

 
 
 

Release of Wild-Caught Herps

Post by Paul J Holland » Mon, 26 Jun 1995 04:00:00



Quote:

>Do wild-caught reptiles that were captive for an extended period
>of time manage to survive upon release?  

>Does prolonged contact (ie years) with humans impact a reptile's
>ability to survive in the wild?

>Assume that the reptile was a healthy *** when caught, and a healthy
>*** when released, and that it is released into the same area where
>it was caught.  

>I have been arguing with a friend about these questions, and was
>wondering if anyone out there could help me out.

>My friend argues that since most of most reptiles' behavior is
>instinctive, released captives would survive just fine in the wild.

>I, however, believe that a released reptile would not do well in the
>wild, since it is used to regular food/water/temperature and it isn't
>automatically shy of humans.  I am also concerned about the impact of
>releases on their environment, particularly the spread of disease.

>Have any studies been done of released herps?

>Thanks in advance.


>CS grad student, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

I have one anecdote.  When I was in high school, I caught a bullsnake
(_Pituophis melanleucas sayi_) in june, in Iowa.  I moved to Illinois in
the fall.  The next June, the bullsnake escaped.  Three days later, I
caught him in the back yard, sunning beside an old stump.  He had a bulge
in his belly, probably from a striped ground squirrel, which I'd seen
around that stump.  So a year after capture, he was still able to catch
his own food in a strange area.


Behold the tortoise: he makes no progress unless he sticks his neck out.