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Evaluating the Survival of Translocated Adult and Captive-reared, Juvenile Eastern Hellbenders (Cryptobranchus alleganiensis alleganiensis)
- Kraus, Bart T., McCallen, Emily B., Williams, Rod N.
- Herpetologica 2017 v.73 no.4 pp. 271-276
- Cryptobranchus alleganiensis alleganiensis, adults, amphibians, conservation programs, juveniles, models, radio transmitters, rearing, survival rate, Indiana
- Recent amphibian declines have been addressed with a variety of conservation tools, including translocations. It is important to evaluate the success of ongoing amphibian conservation programs. In Indiana, USA, because of the documented decline of the Eastern Hellbender (Cryptobranchus a. alleganiensis) population, translocations of wild-captured and captive-reared individuals have been implemented as a management strategy. Our study was developed to estimate the annual survivorship of translocated versus resident Eastern Hellbenders and to compare the efficacy of translocating wild adults and captive-reared juveniles. Adult residents, and translocated adult and juvenile subjects, were implanted with radio transmitters in a staggered entry design and tracked for up to 2 yr. A Cox proportional hazards model indicated that captive-reared, juvenile hellbenders had lower annual survival rates than did either resident or translocated adults. The relatively high survival rates of all groups indicated the potential utility of both types of translocations as a tool to increase local densities, although there might be room for improvement of the survival rates for captive-reared juveniles through either increased rearing periods or environmental conditioning prior to release.