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Field methods for translocating female greater sage-grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus) with their broods

September 1, 2021

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.

Citation Information

Publication Year 2021
Title Field methods for translocating female greater sage-grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus) with their broods
DOI 10.1002/wsb.1199
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 Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Wildlife Society Bulletin
Series Number
Index ID 70228199
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Western Ecological Research Center