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Question for Lester&Jeff

[ Follow Ups ] [ Post Followup ] [ The Horned Lizard Forum ]

Posted by Cable_Hogue on May 08, 2003 at 19:59:43:

In Reply to: Question for Lester&Jeff posted by Les4toads on May 08, 2003 at 14:24:15:

::Repatriation and repopulation programs are mostly failures (96%). Programs like the recovery of the California condor is marginal at the most. The programs mainly depend on the species involved, the areas involved, and the manpower needed to follow long term. The restoration of chameleons in the wild in Madagascar is failing, even though agreements were made by the government and collectors to restore populations with captive bred chameleons to enhance the wild populations. Restoring alligators in Florida is having major problems because of water quality issues in the Everglades. The alligator populations are just "hanging on" and not returning to historic or projected size. You may hear about alligator problems after storms but that is just a media "catch story." There have been several papers published in the journals that question the validity of repatriation or repopulation attempts and failures. The bottom line is always protecting the wildlife assets in situ.

::Wild-born young, the San Diego Coast Horned Lizard as an example, have a survivability rate of up to 14%. Low survivability rates are in drought seasons and may be near 8 - 10% to reproductive age(2 years). In non-drought seasons, survivability is near 14% to reproductive age. The factor that will yield higher survivability is habitat quality, which would include resources available to individuals, internal links to members of the community, predator-prey ratios, native vs non-native plant/insect distribution, and several other factors.

::Lester G. Milroy III

Great post Lester. Good info. Is this published somewhere or otherwise available to the layman?

I have a few quick points and a couple of questions if you will be so patient.

Commercial collection should be a far greater detriment to populations as compared with poaching. So with commercial collection removed the impact should be pretty positive. Poaching will always be an issue but hopefully not critical to the survival of the species. I don't doubt that some HL's will show up in Japan. It is inevitable.

Do you have documentation that shows issues with the gene pool? That is interesting! What size an area would be required to support a diverse enough gene pool to maintain a healthy population? How many such areas are in existence for the coastal HL today? Who maintains these studies and the resulting data? Again, is it available?
To support diversity couldn't you transplant specimens from one area to another periodically? (As opposed to introducing captive bred HL's). Are you extrapolating tortoise info to come to conclusions regarding HL's or is the info you have presented for HL's directly. I know that viral and bacterial pathogens are of issue with the tortoise but had not heard it related to HL's.

Do you have repopulation study results from HL's specifically? I do see the value of protecting the assets in situ as you say, but I also know human nature and the inevitable population growth that will occur. This pressure will continue to grow in the foreseeable future. Setting aside land is great but it probably will not last on a very long-term scale. At least not on a wide enough scale to accommodate all threatened species.

Long-term it probably does not look great for the SD Coast HL. Property is too valuable and will be gobbled up bit by bit. But hopefully enough of it will remain for survival of the species.

I have one last hypothetical question to ask if I could. Assuming the land is gone or other factors contribute to the total decline of the wild population, what would you like to see happen to preserve some living specimens?
Thanks Lester.

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