Becker, Dusti and Massey, Greg and Groombridge, Jim J. and Hammond, Ruby L.
Moving I`iwi (Vestiaria coccinea) as a Surrogate for Future Translocations of Endangered `Akohekohe (Palmeria dolei).
(Full text available)
Translocations often play an important role in the recovery of endangered species. To
assess feasibility for translocation of endangered `Akohekohe (Palmeria dolei), we
conducted an experimental translocation of I`iwi (Vestiaria coccinea) from east to west
Maui. Mist-netting, veterinary screening of candidate birds, and helicopter transport of
healthy I`iwi were successful, resulting in no injuries or mortalities. Translocated birds
were assigned to two types of release. Hard release birds were radio tagged and released
on the day of translocation. In contrast, soft release birds were held in large cages for 7
days and fed artificial nectar. During holding soft release I`iwi feeding rates, fecal
production, and mass were monitored. Soft release birds suffered 33% mortality during
the holding period. At the end of the holding period, soft release survivors were outfitted
with a radio transmitter and released. All translocated I`iwi were followed by radio
telemetry for an average of 21 days. Once released, soft release birds showed higher
rates of movement, possibly reflecting conflict with established hard released I`iwi. Our
results suggest that translocation efforts for wild `Akohekohe will be successful if hard
release protocols are followed.
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