Translocation is defined as the human-managed movement of living organisms from one area for free release in another. Throughout the world, increasing numbers of animals are translocated every year. Most of these movements involve native mammals, birds and fish, and are made by private and national wildlife agencies to augment existing populations, usually for sporting purposes. The translocation of endangered species, often to reintroduce them into a part of the historical range from which they have been extirpated, has also become an important conservation technique. The main growth in reintroduction projects over the last decade has involved smaller animals, including amphibians, insects and reptiles. The success of potentially expensive, high-profile wildlife translocation projects depends to a large extent on the care with which wildlife biologists and their veterinary advisers evaluate the suitability of the animals and chosen release site, and on the ability of the translocated animals to colonise the area. The veterinary aspects of reintroduction projects are of extreme importance. There are instances of inadequate disease risk assessment resulting in expensive failures and, worse still, the introduction of destructive pathogens into naïve resident wildlife populations. In this paper, some of the disease risks attending wildlife translocation are described. Risk assessment, involving the examination of founder and recipient populations and their habitats, is now a pre-requisite of managed movements of animals.
Conservation – Disease risks – Quarantine – Reintroduction – Translocation – Vaccination – Wild animals.