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Evaluation of the adaptation process of a reintroduced anatolian mouflon (ovis gmelinii anatolica) population through studying its demography and spatial ecology

Özüt, Deniz
In this thesis the demography, home range and habitat selection of a reintroduced population of Anatolian mouflon (Ovis gmelinii anatolica), which had a single remaining population, was studied to evaluate the reintroduction success and determine the conservation management interventions. For this purpose among 104 individuals reintroduced in Sarıyar Wildlife Protection Area (Ankara, Turkey), 40 adults were radio-collared and 28 juvenile were ear-tagged and monitored from 2005 to 2009. The survival of the population according to the age groups (females, 0: 0.5423, 1: 0.60, 2: 0.5316, 3: 0.6637, 3+: 0.6728) and the fecundity of adult females (2: 0.2260, 3: 0.2034, 3+: 0.2034) are estimated. A population viability analysis was performed and the persistence of the population within the next 20 years was estimated. Increasing the survival rate of adult female through conservation or restocking the population with at least six adult females every year decreased the risk of extinction in the near future considerably. The year-round home ranges of the individuals ranged between 805 – 3435 ha. (Mean ± SE: 1934 ± 140 ha). The movements of the tracked individuals followed seasonal patterns: centers of activities changed according to seasons in 80% of the adult mouflon. Reintroduced mouflon selected southern aspects (p=0.001), increasing slopes – especially medium to high slope terrain – (slope > 30°, p=0.002), and distant locations to villages and roads. Results indicate that appropriate protective measures should be implemented immediately to mitigate the causes of juvenile mortality. Restocking the population for the next 10 years with adult females would have a stabilizing effect on the declining population and will act as a buffering mechanism during the adaptation period to the new area.