Ewen JG, PS Soorae and S Canessa (2014) Reintroduction objectives, decisions and outcomes: global perspectives from the herpetofauna. ANIMAL CONSERVATION 17:74-81

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Reintroductions and other conservation translocations are an important but often controversial form of wildlife management. Some authors have suggested the low success rates may reflect poor planning and decision-making. In this study, we used examples of herpetofaunal reintroductions, published in four volumes of the IUCN's Reintroduction Specialist Group Global Perspectives in Reintroduction Biology, to identify the objectives set by reintroduction practitioners, the indicators of success they choose and the types of difficulties they encounter. We found objectives focused on target species, but also on broader ecological objectives, such as ecosystem restoration, and social and economic aims. Practitioners reported high success rates: however, these referred to a mixture of general objectives, reflecting the fundamental aims of programmes, and technical aspects, such as developing husbandry protocols, that are important only as stepping stones for broader objectives. In some cases, important objectives were not assigned relevant indicators, thus making assessment impossible. Non-biological aspects such as funding dynamics were the most important source of difficulties; however, they were not always openly recognized by assigning relevant objectives and indicators. We argue that the adoption of a more structured approach to decision-making could help in addressing all these issues. In particular, we recommend that where possible, managers should clearly state all relevant objectives and constraints, and distinguish their respective relevance and importance. If such elements are not clearly defined a priori, planning and assessing reintroductions can become difficult or even impossible, increasing the risk of inefficient use of resources.