Establish Satellite Populations

Translocating threatened birds to create populations safe from introduced predators

New populations of birds can be established through the process of translocation. Translocation is the intentional and planned release of birds to the wild to establish a new population. In the Mariana Islands, translocation is used to remove a species from an island where there is an overwhelming local threat from the brown tree snake so as to create a satellite population on another island where it may be safe from extinction by this introduced predator. In a sense, the long-term intent of such an action is to create genetic reserves for native species whose source populations are potentially threatened with extinction.

The Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands’ Division of Fish and Wildlife has specifically requested the following assistance: 

  • Translocating birds to islands in the Mariana archipelago that are free of the brown tree-snake to establish self-sustaining, satellite populations; and, 
  • Identification of when additional populations, either captive or wild, should be established. 

Cooperating with MAC and the AZA, the National Aviary has sent a staff member to the Mariana Islands to assist in the translocation of select species of birds. Our staff has participated in the field trapping of targeted species on the islands of Saipan and Tinian with the subsequent translocation of these birds to other snake-free islands in the archipelago.

In 2014, staff assisted in the translocation of 51 Rufous Fantail (Rhipidura rufifrons) to the island of Sarigan. In 2016, staff assisted in the translocation of 48 Bridled White-eye (Zosterops conspicillatus) and 54 Tinian Monarch (Monarcha tatatsukasae) to the island of Gugnon.