Translocation: moving animals and plants
IntroductionA guide to moving live animals or indigenous plants from one location to another.
What is a translocation?
Translocation is the managed movement of live indigenous plants or animals (taonga) from one location to another. Translocation covers the entire process, including planning, the transfers, release, monitoring and post-release management.
A translocation can have one or more transfers. A transfer is the physical moving of the plant or animal from one location to another and its release.
Translocations are carried out:
- As a short or long term way to increase a species’ chance of survival or recovery - a translocation enables new populations to be established, existing populations to be enhanced, or locally extinct species to be re-established.
- As part of a restoration programme.
- To establish a species for a specific purpose such as advocacy, education or scientific study.
Translocations are complicated
Translocations are commonly used, and have been a highly successful tool in well-planned endangered species recovery programmes. Overall however, individual translocation projects in New Zealand have had low and varied success rates. We have monitored over 1,000 translocations. From these, only 7–40% have succeeded in population establishment (depending on the type of species).
These low success rates show that translocations are complicated. You'll need to carefully consider many different factors when planning a translocation. We encourage you to use best practices, and to help us improve them so that future translocations are more successful.
Translocations are just one type of conservation action. Most of the time, managing a species in their current location along with wider habitat management, will have less costs and risks. But there are situations where translocations are required.
Most of the time, you will need an approved translocation proposal before carrying out translocations - mainly those that involve protected wildlife (and in certain situations, plants).
A translocation proposal details the reasons for the translocation, the possible effects it may have, the proposed plan of action, and the consultation carried out.
If you don't need an approved translocation proposal, you will probably still need a permit from DOC.