Nantwich, United Kingdom
Nantwich, United Kingdom

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Kelly A.,Stapeley Grange Wildlife Center | Kelly A.,Queen's University of Belfast | Leighton K.,East Winch Wildlife Center | Newton J.,Scottish Enterprise
British Birds | Year: 2010

The stable isotopes of hydrogen, oxygen, carbon and nitrogen were analysed in two generations of feather growth in a second- or third-calendar-year female Eagle Owl Bubo bubo found in Norfolk in November 2006.We found that the juvenile primaries and secondaries had a consistently low δ2H signature, while second-generation remiges, and body feathers, revealed higher values. The pattern in δ2H between the two generations of feathers from the Norfolk bird corresponds with the known moult patterns of Eagle Owls and suggests that the two generations of feathers were grown in different geographical regions. Although there are a number of alternative explanations for the findings, it seems most likely that the owl was reared somewhere with low local δ2H precipitation values. An origin in Scandinavia, north-continental Europe or mid-continental Russia is consistent with our findings, but we cannot rule out the possibility that the bird was reared in northern Britain, either in the wild or in captivity. © British Birds.

Kelly A.,Wilberforce Way | Goodwin S.,Stapeley Grange Wildlife Center | Grogan A.,University of Exeter | Mathews F.,University of Exeter
Animal Welfare | Year: 2012

We recently used radio-tracking to demonstrate short-term, post-release survival of five orphaned, hand-reared pipistrelle bats. Here, we present further evidence of short-term, post-release survival and also demonstrate longer term survival using re-sighting data of ringed common (Pipistrellus pipistrellus) and soprano (Pipistrellus pygmaeus) pipistrelle bats. Ten bats (five common and five soprano pipistrelles) were radio-tracked for between one and ten days. Three of these were retrieved after one, two and four days, respectively. In addition, five of the 39 (13%) ringed bats returned to their release boxes between 38 and 1,389 days after release, at least two of which survived over the winter in the wild. A sixth ringed bat was retrieved 27 days after release after becoming trapped in a house. We also identified potential barriers to successful rehabilitation. Two of the ten bats radio-tracked in the current project became trapped within buildings and another bat had to be retrieved following entanglement with debris. We therefore recommend that attention be paid to giving bats the opportunity, prior to release, in identifying and using small exit holes similar to those found in buildings and loft spaces. We also recommend allowing bats to self-release following prolonged pre-release flight training in a large flight cage situated in suitable bat habitat. © 2012 Universities Federation for Animal Welfare. The Old School.

Kelly A.,Stapeley Grange Wildlife Center | Kelly A.,Queen's University of Belfast | Scrivens R.,Stapeley Grange Wildlife Center | Grogan A.,RSPCA
Endangered Species Research | Year: 2010

Many thousands of rehabilitated wildlife casualties and captive-reared orphans are released back to the wild each year. Most wildlife rehabilitators equate release with success, and very little is known about the post-release survival of rehabilitated wildlife. We measured the postrelease survival of orphaned polecats Mustela putorius, a species of conservation concern and currently a UK Biodiversity Action Plan (BAP) priority species. Between 1997 and 2008, 137 polecats were admitted to the RSPCA (Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) Stapeley Grange Wildlife Centre in northwest England. Of these, 89 (65%) were orphaned juveniles. Fortythree percent of adults and 89% of juveniles were released back to the wild following rehabilitation. Between 2005 and 2008, we radio-tracked 32 juvenile polecats at 5 release sites in Cheshire and North Wales, UK. These individuals were tracked for 3 to 104 d (median = 27.5). Of the 32 radiotracked animals, 26 (81%) were still alive after 14 d, and a minimum of 16 (50%) were still alive after 1 mo. Twelve percent were known to have died in road traffic collisions, 22% shed their collars, and the signal was lost for 56%. Those for which the signal was eventually lost were tracked for 13 to 103 d (median = 38.5 d). Two female polecats trapped following release in 2007 had lost 30% and 18% of their body weight, respectively. The data suggest that the survival of rehabilitated polecats is sufficient to justify the resources used in the rehabilitation process and that the animals' long-term welfare is not compromised by being held in captivity. © Inter-Research 2010.

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