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Analyzing disease risks associated with translocations

Sainsbury, A.W. and Vaughan-Higgins, R.J.ORCID: 0000-0001-7609-9818 (2012) Analyzing disease risks associated with translocations. Conservation Biology, 26 (3). pp. 442-452.

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Translocations of species are expected to be used increasingly to counter the undesirable effects of anthropogenic changes to ecosystems, including loss of species. Methods to assess the risk of disease associated with translocations have been compiled in a comprehensive manual of disease-risk analysis for movement of domestic animals. We used this manual to devise a qualitative method for assessing the probability of the occurrence of disease in wild animals associated with translocations. We adapted the method such that we considered a parasite (any agent of infectious or noninfectious disease) a hazard if it or the host had crossed an ecological or geographical barrier and was novel to the host. We included in our analyses hazards present throughout the translocation pathway derived from the interactions between host immunity and the parasite, the effect of parasites on populations, the effect of noninfectious disease agents, and the effect of stressors on host-parasite interactions. We used the reintroduction of Eurasian Cranes (Grus grus) to England to demonstrate our method. Of the 24 hazards identified, 1 was classified as high risk (coccidia) and 5 were medium risk (highly pathogenic avian influenza virus, Mycobacterium avium, Aspergillus fumigatus, tracheal worms [Syngamus sp. and Cyathostoma sp.], and Tetrameres spp.). Seventeen other hazards were considered low or very low risk. In the absence of better information on the number, identity, distribution, and pathogenicity of parasites of wild animals, there is uncertainty in the risk of disease to translocated animals and recipient populations. Surveys of parasites in source and destination populations and detailed health monitoring after release will improve the information available for future analyses of disease risk. We believe our method can be adapted to assess the risks of disease in other translocated populations.

Item Type: Journal Article
Publisher: Blackwell Publishing Inc.
Copyright: © 2012 Society for Conservation Biology.
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