Reintroductions

What is Reintroduction?

Reintroduction involves the release of captive individuals into an area which was once part of that species’ historical range, but from which it has been extirpated or extinct.

Translocation is similar to reintroduction in that it involves the release of individuals into a part of the species’ historical range. However, instead of captive individuals, translocation refers to the relocation of wild-caught individuals from another area.

The primary goal of species reintroductions is to reestablish a species in an area where it has lived historically, but has since become locally extinct. With more species declining due to human influences, reintroduction will play a more vital role in conservation efforts. One way to observe the status of a reintroduction attempt is to look for the establishment of a sustainable population of a species in an area where it had previously been extirpated.

Zoos play a crucial role in many reintroduction efforts.  While wild populations may be declining or non-existent, zoos can maintain stable, carefully managed captive populations. These zoo populations can provide individuals for release into the wild. 

Reintroduction programs also benefit from zoos’ experience in captive breeding. Successful breeding in captivity is essential to provide individuals for future reintroductions into the wild. The knowledge and expertise of zoo employees ensures the likelihood of having a stable, genetically diverse population that will not only exist into the future, but also will be capable of increasing in population size to provide animals for release. 

Reintroduction Programs at Lincoln Park Zoo

In its commitment to conservation, Lincoln Park Zoo is involved in reintroduction efforts. From the creation of an avian database documenting past reintroductions to coordinating SSP programs with reintroductions, to direct involvement with the reintroduction of various species, Lincoln Park Zoo uses its expertise and resources to aid conservation efforts through reintroduction.

Species Reintroduction programs at Lincoln Park Zoo
Lincoln Park Zoo participates in reintroduction programs in several capacities.  The  Association of Zoos and Aquariums Population Management Center, based at Lincoln Park Zoo, acts as advisor for reintroduction programs. Through both selection of breeding pairs within the captive population and selection of individuals that should be targeted for release, the PMC ensures that institutions will be able to maintain genetically diverse populations while releasing individuals into the wild. Lincoln Park Zoo staff also coordinates and advises SSP programs that have reintroduction components.

Avian Reintroduction and Translocation Database
By providing a single source for researchers and wildlife managers seeking information on avian reintroductions and translocations, this conservation resource will enable them to learn from the past to achieve better results in the future.


Restoring the Smooth Green Snake
Lincoln Park Zoo is working with the Lake County Forest Preserve District to return the region’s smooth green snakes to their natural habitats.


Protecting the Puerto Rican Parrot
Lincoln Park Zoo is lending its population-planning expertise to help the endangered Puerto Rican Parrot continue on its path to recovery.

Lincoln Park Zoo is partnering with the Lake County Forest Preserve District to restore the meadow jumping mouse, an important grasslands species, to northern Illinois.

Meadow Jumping Mice Recovery Project
Lincoln Park Zoo is partnering with the Lake County Forest Preserve District to restore the meadow jumping mouse, an important grasslands species, to northern Illinois.


By giving ornate box turtle hatchlings a healthy head start at the zoo, Lincoln Park Zoo is helping the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service restore this threatened species to Illinois.

Ornate Box Turtle Recovery in Illinois
By giving ornate box turtle hatchlings a healthy head start at the zoo, Lincoln Park Zoo is helping the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service restore this threatened species to Illinois.


Reintroduction Links

 

First International Wildlife Reintroduction Conference
210 scientists from 31 countries gathered at Lincoln Park Zoo to discuss the science of species reintroductions.


The official Association of Zoos and Aquariums guidelines for the reintroduction of animals.  

AZA Guidelines for Reintroduction of Animals
The official Association of Zoos and Aquariums guidelines for the reintroduction of animals.


The International Union for Conservation of Nature Species Survival Commission Reintroduction Specialist Group provides reintroduction practitioners with tools such as reintroduction guidelines, networking resources and publications for distributing information on reintroduction projects.  

IUCN/SSG Reintroduction Specialist Group
The International Union for Conservation of Nature Species Survival Commission Reintroduction Specialist Group provides reintroduction practitioners with tools such as reintroduction guidelines, networking resources and publications for distributing information on reintroduction projects.