New Western Australian research has highlighted the need to better understand the translocation of fauna away from areas where there is conflict with humans, such as developments, and how successful they actually are.
Curtin University School of Molecular and Life Sciences PHD candidate Holly Bradley coauthored a report Mitigation translocation as a management tool which was published in Conservation Biology on November 19, 2020.
Ms Bradley said without a greater investment of time in planning and monitoring the translocation of wildlife there is no way to know how successful they are.
The team behind the research reviewed global research to understand how all translocations could be improved and found the main issue was that a translocation was the end target.
"Quickly moving fauna away into a new area was the end result," Ms Bradley said.
The researchers found was without monitoring after a translocation there was no way to know if those animals tried to get back home or had incidents with cars.
Another concern was if animals were moved to an area where there was no territory space left those animals may not have enough resources to survive and potentially die as a result.
"Without proper planning and testing sites where animals are placed, and monitoring to see how they are going afterwards we cannot use translocations to justify clearing natural habitat," she said.
Without proper planning and testing sites where animals are placed, and monitoring to see how they are going afterwards we cannot use translocations to justify clearing natural habitat.PHD candidate Holly Bradley
"For threatened species in particular.
"The focus of my research is improving the translocation of a particular species is that we really have to understand what the species need.
"For example, when we move fauna we have to know where to move them, how they will react and if special management needed to be put in place.
"There is such a thing as soft release for animals that have a strong homing sense and want to go back, we can give them some time to adapt to a new area.
"For a lot of conservation translocations, such as the zoo's breeding programs for threatened species there tends to be a lot of research and planning and monitoring to see how it works.
"My review says if there is going to be any translocation there needs to be scientific backing and monitoring to see how it works and how it could be improved in the future.
"Translocaiton should be the last step in a mitigation hierarchy, we should look at avoiding the loss of biodiversity where possible.
"In the case where habitat is lost and translocation is the only option to save the animals there that require it for habitat then we need to go through the process of giving the animals the best chance to establish elsewhere.
"Otherwise we cannot really justify clearing that habitat."
Ms Bradley said only 25 per cent of mitigation translocations that were looked at resulted in self sustaining populations.
"The main way to improve in the future is to increase the amount of time and resources put into translocations and have an expectation from the start if translocaitons are going to happen then that is required."