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An Assessment of Mitigation Translocations for Reptiles at Development Sites

Nash, Darryn James (2017) An Assessment of Mitigation Translocations for Reptiles at Development Sites. Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) thesis, University of Kent, University of Kent.

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Abstract

All native reptile species are protected against harm through their inclusion on UK legislation. With the exception of two species, this protection does not extend to reptile habitat. As a result, reptiles are frequently subject to mitigation translocations to facilitate the development of land. However, there are few published studies of the effects of mitigation translocation on reptile populations and whether such translocations are effective conservation interventions. The effectiveness of translocation was tested through a combination of: 1) field surveys of sites subject to mitigation across England and Wales; 2) the radio tracking of translocated adders; 3) the monitoring of a population of slow-worms at site where they were released 20 years ago; and 4) a penning experiment to test whether viviparous lizards attempt to disperse from the release site.

Very few translocated reptiles were encountered during the monitoring of release sites. This paucity of recaptures is either due to post-release mortality, imperfect detection or dispersal. Translocated male adders dispersed farther and had larger home range sizes than resident conspecifics. Some male adders undertook large unidirectional migrations back to the donor site crossing areas of unsuitable habitat as they did so. A population of slow-worms persisted at an isolated site two decades after translocation, albeit in relatively small numbers. Body condition improved over 20 years and the population resumed breeding and recruitment. The temporary penning of viviparous lizards was effective in preventing post-release dispersal and resulted in an increase in recapture rates of greater than 16 times when compared to unpenned viviparous lizard populations. The fact that no lizards were recaptured in the unpenned areas provides strong evidence for the effect of post-release dispersal. Although, mitigation translocations may prevent the immediate death of animals that would otherwise be destroyed with their habitat, there is little evidence that they are compensating for the loss of populations on a broad scale.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctor of Philosophy (PhD))
Thesis advisor: Griffiths, Richard
Thesis advisor: Roberts, David
Uncontrolled keywords: Reptiles; mitigation; development; receptor site; dispersal; radio telemetry; penning
Divisions: Faculties > Social Sciences > School of Anthropology and Conservation
SWORD Depositor: System Moodle
Depositing User: System Moodle
Date Deposited: 30 Jan 2018 16:10 UTC
Last Modified: 23 Jan 2020 04:14 UTC
Resource URI: https://kar.kent.ac.uk/id/eprint/65820 (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
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