Advising Species Reintroduction and Recovery Programs

Advising Species Reintroduction and Recovery Programs


Alexander Center scientists collaborate with conservation partners to help with science advising for species involved in reintroduction programs, to support their recovery in the wild. They work with a wide variety of endangered taxa from red wolves to prairie chickens.


Small populations of animals are vulnerable to extinction, often requiring human management to survive. Sometimes intervention comes at the brink of extinction, when the last few animals are gathered into zoos or breeding centers to prevent catastrophic loss. Reintroductions, where animals are released to bolster an existing population or create a new population after extinction, are becoming increasingly common.

Reintroduction programs require careful management to ensure healthy genetic and demographic populations can be reestablished – deciding who to breed, how many individuals to release, and how long to continue releases are important decisions. Scientists at the zoo’s Alexander Center for Applied Population Biology work with conservation partners who make these decisions. They assist with data management, often using the software developed by the zoo, PopLink, to make sure essential information is tracked for a program. They provide advice on how to manage breeding center populations to maintain genetic health while supporting optimal release strategies that help the species make progress towards recovery. They build population viability analyses, computer models that can help partners evaluate the tradeoffs between populations in the wild and breeding centers, as well as the management strategies that will set the species on a path towards recovery in the wild.

Alexander Center scientists are open to collaborations with reintroduction and recovery programs in these areas. For more information, please reach out to


Thus far, Center scientists have applied this kind of scientific advising to a variety of species, including:

Attwater’s prairie chickens in Texas

Greater sage-grouse in Canada


Senior Director of Population Ecology
Population Analyst
Alexander Center for Applied Population Biology
Research Scientist
Alexander Center for Applied Population Biology
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