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Monitor confirmed harvest mouse sites and captive breeding programme release sites PROJECT

1 Oct 1998 1 Oct 1999
Imported from BARS Actions

Contacts

Penny Rudd Login to view email address

Targets

No targets defined

Progress

Progress Description Date File
270 Harvest Mice were released onto Zoo land adjacent to the Shropshire Union Canal in Upton-by-Chester in mid-June 2003. The aim of the project is to establish a re-introduction protocol for this species, which can be used world wide as and when required. These mice were released in a 50:50 sex ratio and a 50:50 `hard` versus `soft` release experiment, and in addition 20 animals (10 males and 10 females, 10 hard released and 10 soft released) were radio-collared and tracked for a period of 20 d Progress: 270 Harvest Mice were released onto Zoo land adjacent to the Shropshire Union Canal in Upton-by-Chester in mid-June 2003. The aim of the project is to establish a re-introduction protocol for this species, which can be used world wide as and when required. These mice were released in a 50:50 sex ratio and a 50:50 `hard` versus `soft` release experiment, and in addition 20 animals (10 males and 10 females, 10 hard released and 10 soft released) were radio-collared and tracked for a period of 20 days, 24 hours per day, post release. This was to determine survival, dispersal and habitat choice. Extensive pre-release monitoring, at the release site, through live mammal trapping, was undertaken in accordance with the IUCN Guidelines for re-introduction. In addition pre-release veterinary health screening - both of Zoo mice and the indigenous small mammals in the release area was carried out by the Zoo`s veterinary team. All mice were micro-chipped for individual identification prior to release. A vegetation mapping exercise was carried out prior to release and will continue throughout the year to assess the habitat. Apart from the radio-tracking, live mammal trapping began three weeks after the release and this form of post-release monitoring will continue throughout the year at 4 to 5 weekly intervals. Post-release monitoring continued in 2003 at and around the two (Zoo and Pickering`s Pasture) release sites used in 2002. 31/12/2003
Continued monitoring of 2002 and 2003 release sites Progress: Continued monitoring of 2002 and 2003 release sites 31/12/2004
The North of England Zoological Society (NEZS) team and many volunteers, continued to monitor the two 2002 and 2003 release sites on NEZS land throughout 2005. Harvest Mice were found on both sites during 2004 and also into 2005. Nest searches were carried out in February and March 2005, and determined increased numbers of nests on the 2003 release site and over a wider range of the habitat. Biota and Cheshire County Council continued to monitor the 2004 release site at Anderton Nature Park Nor Progress: The North of England Zoological Society (NEZS) team and many volunteers, continued to monitor the two 2002 and 2003 release sites on NEZS land throughout 2005. Harvest Mice were found on both sites during 2004 and also into 2005. Nest searches were carried out in February and March 2005, and determined increased numbers of nests on the 2003 release site and over a wider range of the habitat. Biota and Cheshire County Council continued to monitor the 2004 release site at Anderton Nature Park Northwich. The thesis documenting this release and the immediate post-release monitoring, including the radio-tracking of 20 individuals for twenty days, was published by John Crowder, as his third year undergraduate thesis from Liverpool John Moores University. Both the Gatewarth and Pickerings Pasture release sites were monitored throughout 2004 and 2005, and the smallest site at Pickerings Pasture reports that no mice were found and it was presumed that they had disappeared or dispersed into adjacent habitat. Analysis of data from the releases is on-going and a three-month contract is underway to write-up the radio-tracking and trapping reports. 31/12/2005
A large team of volunteers continued to monitor the 2002 and 2003 Experimental Release sites for this species throughout 2006. The monitoring sessions occurred approximately three time during the year on each of the two Chester Zoo sites and Harvest mice were found to still be present in the area four years after the first release. We are aware that there is the likelihood that the Harvest mice have dispersed into a much wider area than that currently being monitored but in order to obtain compa Progress: A large team of volunteers continued to monitor the 2002 and 2003 Experimental Release sites for this species throughout 2006. The monitoring sessions occurred approximately three time during the year on each of the two Chester Zoo sites and Harvest mice were found to still be present in the area four years after the first release. We are aware that there is the likelihood that the Harvest mice have dispersed into a much wider area than that currently being monitored but in order to obtain comparative date over the four year post-release period, we need to continue to monitor in exactly the same way throughout this time. All species caught in live-mammal traps during our sessions are recorded (identified, weighed, sexed and marked where appropriate) and this data is currently being collated and analysed by Eleanor Kean. 31/12/2006

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