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DEPE | Séminaires BEEPSS / BEEPSS Seminars » Socio-ecological assessment of the reintroduction of the European pond (...)

Socio-ecological assessment of the reintroduction of the European pond turtle in Alsace, NE France

Last update: : Friday 27 September 2019, by Nicolas Busser

Presented by: Jean-Yves Georges, IPHC-DEPE
Date: Thursday 3rd October 2019, 13:00-14:30
Place: Amphithéàtre Grünewald, Bâtiment 25

In the present context of the 6th biodiversity crisis, reintroduction of species is considered as a future strategy for the management of habitats and biodiversity (Griffith et al. 1989, Sarrazin & Barbault 1996). A reintroduction consists in an intentional release, in the historical habitat of the species, of individuals usually raised in captivity. Many reintroduction programs failed (eg Dodd & Seigel 1991, Germano & Bishop 2009), mainly because they only focused on aspects of the biology of the released species, without addressing in a comprehensive manner the ecological, social, economic, legal, political and organizational aspects of these measures. This is particularly true when reintroducing badly perceived species (eg the wolf in Scotland, Nilsen et al., 2007) or having disappeared from the collective memory. Here we propose an overview of the history, actions and first results of the reintroduction of the European pond turtle EPT Emys orbicularis in Alsace, NE France. The EPT is a small freshwater turtle emblematic of wetlands yet considered to have disappeared from the Upper Rhine since its channelization in late 19th century. Thanks to an initiative from the local council (Conseil Départemental du Bas-Rhin), some 400 immature turtles raised in the conservatory husbandries of Petite Camargue Alsacienne and Parc Zoologique et Botanique de Mulhouse have been released since 2012 in the dedicated, restored, site of Le Woerr (Lauterbourg, 67). There, a global research program aiming at assessing the effectiveness of such conservation actions has been developed to assess individual, demographic and ecological processes leading to potential re-establishment of the species in present landscapes. We also address the societal issues in terms of perception and potential conflicts of interest when reintroducing a species that disappeared from the collective memory. Finally, we propose a to (not)-do list that may contribute to guidelines for other reintroduction and reinforcement programs of this species in France and in Europe.