• Introduction

    Re-introduction (or reintroduction) is an attempt to establish a species in an area which was once part of its historical range, but from which it has become extinct (Beck et al., 2007). Re-introduction is also generally used to refer to the following related approaches:

    • a. Translocation: the deliberate movement of wild great apes from one natural habitat to another for the purpose of conservation or management.
    • b. Reinforcement/supplementation: the addition of individuals to an existing population of conspecifics (also known as re-stocking).
    • c. Conservation introduction: the introduction of an ape taxon, for the purpose of conservation, outside of its recorded known distribution, but within an appropriate habitat and eco-geographical area. This is an acceptable tool only when there is no suitable habitat remaining within an ape’s historic range.
    • d. Substitution: the introduction of a subspecies closely related to another subspecies that has become extinct in the wild and captivity. The introduction occurs in suitable habitat within the extinct subspecies historic range.
    • e. Rescue: the movement of wild great apes from one area to another to rescue them from a hazardous situation or to resolve conflits with humans.
    • f. Welfare re-introduction/introduction: the release of captive apes, either within (re-introduction) or outside (introduction) their historic range where there is evidence to indicate that their welfare would be improved.

    Re-introduction of great apes has included the following approaches: re-introduction (bonobos) translocation/rescue (orangutans), reinforcement (chimpanzees, orangutans), and welfare re-introduction (chimpanzees, gorillas, orangutans) and introduction (chimpanzees). Given the large number of rescued apes entering range-state sanctuaries and attempts to reintroduce, and because they are cognitively and behaviourally advanced and generate particular animal welfare concerns, IUCN developed a specialist set of best practice guidelines for great ape re-introduction (Beck et al., 2007). The guidelines include planning and preparation for re-introduction, disease risks and veterinary requirements, transport and release strategy, and post-release monitoring.

  • How does re-introduction help ape conservation?

  • Are there also negative aspects of re-introduction?

  • How is re-introduction implemented?

Compiled and edited 2011 by Kay H. Farmer
Reviewed by Hjalmar Kuehl, Josephine Head and Neba Funwi-Gabga

  • References