Greater sage-grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus) have experienced considerable range contraction and reduced abundance in response to habitat loss and degradation. Translocation is a conservation action that is often used to reintroduce extirpated populations or augment existing small populations. Translocations have had limited success in restoring viable populations of sage-grouse; a lack of success is attributed to long-distance post-release movements away from release sites, reduced survival, and lack of reproductive success of translocated individuals. Translocating female sage-grouse with their chicks (brood translocation) is a technique aimed at promoting breeding area fidelity and reproduction and may be beneficial to population restoration efforts. Furthermore, the ability to capture, relocate, and release individuals while minimizing translocation-induced loss increases the overall probability of restoration success. Accordingly, we developed a protocol to translocate female sage-grouse and their broods simultaneously, using a delayed-release system that included a custom release box and acclimation pen. We tested our protocol across 2 separate restoration projects in North Dakota and California during 2017–2019 with a total of 38 translocated females and 196 chicks. We successfully released 174/196 chicks (88.8%) from 32/38 (84.2%) broods. Our protocol builds on existing translocation methods used to translocate sage-grouse and will likely prove to be a critical technique in restoring sage-grouse populations.
|Title||Field methods for translocating female greater sage-grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus) with their broods|
|Authors||Mary Beth Meyerpeter, Kade D. Lazenby, Peter S. Coates, Mark A. Ricca, Steven R. Mathews, Scott C. Gardner, David K. Dahlgren, David J. Delehanty|
|Publication Subtype||Journal Article|
|Series Title||Wildlife Society Bulletin|
|Record Source||USGS Publications Warehouse|
|USGS Organization||Western Ecological Research Center|