Time filter

Source Type

Salinas, CA, United States

Bakker V.J.,Montana State University | Smith D.R.,University of California at Santa Cruz | Copeland H.,The Nature Conservancy | Brandt J.,U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service | And 4 more authors.
EcoHealth | Year: 2016

Translocation is an increasingly important tool for managing endangered species, but factors influencing the survival of translocated individuals are not well understood. Here we examine intrinsic and extrinsic drivers of survival for critically endangered California condors (Gymnogyps californianus) whose wild population recovery is reliant upon releases of captively bred stock. We used known fate models and information-theoretic methods to compare the ability of hypothesized covariates, most of which serve as proxies for lead exposure risk, to predict survival rates of condors in California. Our best supported model included the following predictors of survival: age of the recovery program, precipitation, proportion of days observed feeding on proffered carcasses, maximum blood lead concentration over the preceding 18 months, and time since release. We found that as flocks have increased in size and age, condors are increasingly likely to range more widely and less likely to be observed feeding on proffered food, and these “wilder” behaviors were associated with lower survival. After accounting for these behaviors, we found a positive survival trend, which we attribute to ongoing improvements in management. Our findings illustrate that the survival of translocated animals, such as highly social California condors, is influenced by behaviors that change through time. © 2016 International Association for Ecology and Health

Rivers J.W.,Oregon State University | Johnson J.M.,U.S. Geological Survey | Johnson J.M.,U.S. Department of Agriculture | Haig S.M.,U.S. Geological Survey | And 5 more authors.
Bird Conservation International | Year: 2014

Condors and vultures comprise the only group of terrestrial vertebrates in the world that are obligate scavengers, and these species move widely to locate ephemeral, unpredictable, and patchily-distributed food resources. In this study, we used high-resolution GPS location data to quantify monthly home range size of the critically endangered California Condor Gymnogyps californianus throughout the annual cycle in California. We assessed whether individual-level characteristics (age, sex and breeding status) and factors related to endangered species recovery program efforts (rearing method, release site) were linked to variation in monthly home range size. We found that monthly home range size varied across the annual cycle, with the largest monthly home ranges observed during late summer and early fall (July-October), a pattern that may be linked to seasonal changes in thermals that facilitate movement. Monthly home ranges of adults were significantly larger than those of immatures, but males and females used monthly home ranges of similar size throughout the year and breeding adults did not differ from non-breeding adults in their average monthly home range size. Individuals from each of three release sites differed significantly in the size of their monthly home ranges, and no differences in monthly home range size were detected between condors reared under captive conditions relative to those reared in the wild. Our study provides an important foundation for understanding the movement ecology of the California Condor and it highlights the importance of seasonal variation in space use for effective conservation planning for this critically endangered species. Copyright © 2014 BirdLife International.

Rideout B.A.,Institute for Conservation Research | Stalis I.,Institute for Conservation Research | Papendick R.,Institute for Conservation Research | Pessier A.,Institute for Conservation Research | And 16 more authors.
Journal of Wildlife Diseases | Year: 2012

We document causes of death in free-ranging California Condors (Gymnogyps californianus) from the inception of the reintroduction program in 1992 through December 2009 to identify current and historic mortality factors that might interfere with establishment of selfsustaining populations in the wild. A total of 135 deaths occurred from October 1992 (the first postrelease death) through December 2009, from a maximum population-at-risk of 352 birds, for a cumulative crude mortality rate of 38%. A definitive cause of death was determined for 76 of the 98 submitted cases, 70%(53/76) of which were attributed to anthropogenic causes. Trash ingestion was the most important mortality factor in nestlings (proportional mortality rate [PMR] 73%; 8/11), while lead toxicosis was the most important factor in juveniles (PMR 26%; 13/50) and adults (PMR 67%; 10/15). These results demonstrate that the leading causes of death at all California Condor release sites are anthropogenic. The mortality factors thought to be important in the decline of the historic California Condor population, particularly lead poisoning, remain the most important documented mortality factors today. Without effective mitigation, these factors can be expected to have the same effects on the sustainability of the wild populations as they have in the past. © Wildlife Disease Association 2012.

Rivers J.W.,Oregon State University | Johnson J.M.,U.S. Geological Survey | Johnson J.M.,U.S. Department of Agriculture | Haig S.M.,U.S. Geological Survey | And 4 more authors.
PLoS ONE | Year: 2014

Condors and vultures are distinct from most other terrestrial birds because they use extensive soaring flight for their daily movements. Therefore, assessing resource selection by these avian scavengers requires quantifying the availability of terrestrial-based habitats, as well as meteorological variables that influence atmospheric conditions necessary for soaring. In this study, we undertook the first quantitative assessment of habitat- and meteorological-based resource selection in the endangered California condor (Gymnogyps californianus) within its California range and across the annual cycle. We found that condor use of terrestrial areas did not change markedly within the annual cycle, and that condor use was greatest for habitats where food resources and potential predators could be detected and where terrain was amenable for taking off from the ground in flight (e.g., sparse habitats, coastal areas). Condors originating from different release sites differed in their use of habitat, but this was likely due in part to variation in habitats surrounding release sites. Meteorological conditions were linked to condor use of ecological subregions, with thermal height, thermal velocity, and wind speed having both positive (selection) and negative (avoidance) effects on condor use in different areas. We found little evidence of systematic effects between individual characteristics (i.e., sex, age, breeding status) or components of the species management program (i.e., release site, rearing method) relative to meteorological conditions. Our findings indicate that habitat type and meteorological conditions can interact in complex ways to influence condor resource selection across landscapes, which is noteworthy given the extent of anthropogenic stressors that may impact condor populations (e.g., lead poisoning, wind energy development). Additional studies will be valuable to assess small-scale condor movements in light of these stressors to help minimize their risk to this critically endangered species.

Ventana Wildlife Society | Date: 2008-07-22

shirts; hats; jackets.

Discover hidden collaborations