Researchers conducted a literature review to inform conservation of the Mohave ground squirrel, a small desert mammal that's threatened by habitat loss and climate change.
Captive Breeding, Husbandry, Release, and Translocation of Sciurids
The Mohave ground squirrel is endemic to the Mojave Desert in southern California and is in decline due to drought and climate change. At a recent research planning workshop, wildlife managers and scientists identified designing a captive breeding and release program as a top priority for conservation of the species. In collaboration with the Bureau of Land Management, researchers from the USGS conducted a literature review to inform planning for a captive breeding and translocation program. Since captive breeding has never been attempted for Mohave ground squirrels, the literature review was focused on gathering information on programs aimed at conserving similar species in the sciurid family, as well as other desert-adapted small mammals. The author summarized considerations for selecting and capturing founder animals, housing, diet, health, reproduction, and release of species such as the thirteen-lined ground squirrel, Key Largo woodrat, and Pacific pocket mouse. Information on the benefits and risks of captive breeding and translocation, and successes and failures of past programs, will provide good metrics and guidance to increase the odds of success of the Mohave ground squirrel conservation program.
Poessel, S.A., 2023, Captive Breeding, Husbandry, Release, and Translocation of Sciurids Literature Review: USGS Scientific Investigations Report 2023-5055. https://doi.org/10.3133/sir20235055
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