Conservation Science

Waterbird Conservation Translocations

We are conducting health risk analyses (also known as disease risk analyses) for, and providing health management guidance to, waterbird conservation translocation projects being undertaken in the UK and Madagascar.

We are working with the Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust (WWT) and other partners on conservation programmes for the black-tailed godwit (Limosa limosa limosa) and Eurasian curlew (Numenius arquata) in the UK. WWT is using an innovative technique called ‘headstarting’ to reinforce existing, vulnerable breeding populations of these species, as part of wider, collaborative conservation initiatives. More information on these conservation programmes can be found on the Project Godwit and WWT websites.

WWT, Durrell Conservation Trust (DCT) and multiple other partners are undertaking an ambitious conservation programme at a wetland catchment site in northern Madagascar: alongside a long-term programme of community-led wetland restoration, they are reintroducing the Critically Endangered Madagascar pochard (Aythya innotata) to the area. This endemic Malagasy species was thought to be extinct before a small number of birds was re-discovered in the wild in 2006. We are conducting a health risk analysis for this reintroduction project and are using it as a case study to explore a novel approach to health management planning for conservation translocations through the process of ‘structured decision-making’. This research started with a WWT/DCT workshop at WWT Slimbridge, UK, in early 2018, and is a collaboration with colleagues at the Institute of Zoology, Zoological Society of London.

For more information on this work please contact Katie Beckmann.

Image copyrights: David Morris RSPB