Best Practice Guidelines for the Re-introduction of Great Apes
Re-introduction is one of many proposed tools for conserving great apes, but the process may be long, complex, expensive and often fraught with pitfalls. To assist current and future re-introduction projects, the IUCN/SSC Primate Specialist Group produced the Best-Practice Guidelines for Great Ape Re-introduction, designed to provide a framework of simple, practical standards for wildlife professionals working with great ape re-introduction.
Although IUCN has established working protocols for plant and animal re-introduction, the great apes present unique challenges and concerns owing to their singular cognitive development. This prompted the Primate Specialist Group to reconsider the existing guidelines in terms of the specific needs of great apes. The resulting synthesis, representing the expert opinion of primatologists and re-introduction practitioners, is presented here as part of the series of best-practices documents.
Specifically designed for rehabilitators and specialists in re-introduction, these guidelines start from the fundamental assumption that re-introductions should not endanger wild populations of great apes or the ecosystems they inhabit. Equally important is the health and welfare of the individual great apes being re-introduced, as well as the caretaker staff and the residents of the surrounding areas. The re-introduction guidelines also require that the factors which first threatened great apes in the proposed site of release have been addressed and resolved.
For all great ape individuals being considered for re-introduction, the guidelines recommend extensive medical screenings, to protect both the re-introduced individuals and any wild apes they may interact with. Once re-introduced, the apes must be closely monitored for at least a year – a challenge in itself, given the apes’ size, strength and wide-ranging habits. The new guidelines address these and many other issues in detail, and the Primate Specialist Group recommends that they be taken into consideration by all groups and programs planning great ape re-introduction.
The full PDF of this report is available in English, French, and Bahasa Indonesia below:
Panduan Re-introduksi Kera Besar
Suggested citation: Beck, B., Walkup, K., Rodrigues, M., Unwin, S., Travis, D. and Stoinski, T. 2007. Best Practice Guidelines for the Re-introduction of Great Apes. IUCN/SSC Primate Specialist Group, Gland, Switzerland.
Additional guidelines will be posted on the Best Practices page as they become available.
The Primate Specialist Group gratefully acknowledges the financial support of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in the publication of this report.