We translocated five colonies of the highly social and co-operatively breeding Black-eared Miner Manorina melanotis, an endangered Australian honeyeater. Two colonies were released immediately (hard release) and two colonies were housed in aviaries for up to a week on-site and then supplied with food for a further week following release (soft release). A fifth colony was released using a combination of methods. All four hard and soft released colonies contained dependent fledglings at the time of release. This appears to be the first translocation of a co-operative species where intact colonies containing multiple breeding females, each with a suite of helpers have been translocated successfully. Both hard and soft release treatments appeared equally successful during an initial monitoring period of up to two months. All four colonies maintained social cohesion, and displayed high levels of survival and site fidelity. Both hard release and one soft release colony attempted to breed within 600 m of their release site within eight weeks of release. The other soft release colony bred 12 months later. We believe the inclusion of dependent young in each translocated colony provided a focus for translocated colonies that promoted site faithfulness and colony cohesion. Results of long-term monitoring remain inconclusive and it is recommended that monitoring be repeated during several future breeding events. Given our findings, we recommend that when translocating highly social species every effort is made to translocate the entire group, hard release techniques be applied and stimuli that enhance group cohesion and site faithfulness (the presence of dependent young) be exploited.
|Number of pages||12|
|Journal||Pacific Conservation Biology|
|Publication status||Published - 1 Mar 2003|