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Special Session on Ostriches : restoring the North African Ostrich to Tunisia

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Presented during the 17h Annual Sahelo-Saharan Interest Group Meeting organized by the NGO Sahara Conservation Fund in Senegal, from 4 to 6 May 2017. The Sahara Conservation Fund (SCF) gathers every year about a hundred people who are interested in the field of Sahelo-Saharan species conservation.

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Special Session on Ostriches : restoring the North African Ostrich to Tunisia

  1. 1. 17th Annual Sahelo-Saharan Interest Group Meeting 2 days of talks on biodiversity conservation in the Sahara and in the Sahel Special Session on Ostriches : Returning the North African ostrich to Tunisia Marie PETRETTO, Conservation Biologist – Marwell Wildlife May 4 – 6, 2017
  2. 2. Returning the North African ostrich to Tunisia SSIG St-Louis, Sénégal Mai 2017 Marie Petretto, Chawki Najjar & Abdelkader Chetoui
  3. 3. Dghmes 25 Orbata; 32 Sidi Toui; 8 Friguia; 5 Moroccan lineage ü20 chicks imported ü12 (6;6) contributed ü41 (+14) birds in 8 years 25 32 8 5 41 adults 16 juveniles 8 chicks Sudanese lineage ü40 chicks imported ü3 (1;2) contributed ü5 (4;1) not yet breeding ü10 birds in 3 years 2017
  4. 4. Dghoumes NP (Tozeur) 4(1;3) from Chadian lineage 9(5;4) released in the NP (7;7) Adults 3 juveniles 3 chicks 20 0 5 10 15 20 25 Jul-08 Jan-09 Jul-09 Jan-10 Jul-10 Jan-11 Jul-11 Jan-12 Jul-12 Jan-13 Jul-13 Jan-14 Jul-14 Jan-15 Jul-15 Jan-16 Jul-16 nber of chicks nber of adults 2009 2010 2011 2012 20142013 2015 20162008 2017 (7;7) Adults 3 juveniles 8 chicks 1 nest 25
  5. 5. Orbata NR (Gafsa) 8(5;3) from Chadian lineage 21(7;8,6) released in 200km² 0 5 10 15 20 25 Jun-08 Dec-08 Jun-09 Dec-09 Jun-10 Dec-10 Jun-11 Dec-11 Jun-12 Dec-12 Jun-13 Dec-13 Jun-14 Dec-14 Jun-15 Dec-15 Jun-16 nber of chicks nber of adults 20(12;8) adults (1;3) juv 11 chicks 35 2009 2010 2011 2012 20142013 2015 20162008 2017 24(13;11) Adults 8 juveniles >2 nests 32
  6. 6. Sidi Toui NP (Médenine) 2009 2010 2011 2012 20142013 2015 20162008 3(1;2) from Soudanese lineage released Chicks of Soudanese lineage imported (1;2) Adults 5 juv (F?) 1 nest 8 0 2 4 6 8 10 12 14 16 nber of chicks nber of adults
  7. 7. -20 -15 -10 -5 0 5 10 15 20 Chicks Juveniles Adults Friguia Sidi Toui Sudanese lineage (N=8+5) OrbataDghoumes Chadian lineage (N=20+18+11) MALES FEMALES UNDETERMINATE SEX (21; 14) (4 ; 10)
  8. 8. 11 25 8 5 21 -30 -25 -20 -15 -10 -5 0 5 10 15 20 25 30 North-African ostrich (S. c. camelus) population structure, all protected areas (N=70), 01/17 male female Friguia Sidi Toui Sudanese lineage (N=8+5) OrbataDghoumes Chadian lineage (N=38+11+8)
  9. 9. §Sex ratio & population size §Nests (locations / eggs number / date of any events) §Hatching, death & other life events §Health condition §Opportunistic behavioral observations §Opportunitistic post-mortem hatching rate Brood size survival rate reproductive success Mean value 62% 10 chicks (2 to 21) 43% 0,98 adult/mature female Dghoumes 62% (N=8) 12,3 25% (N=10) 0,50 Orbata 41.9±12.0% (N=69) (Sabei et al., 2009) 7,9 70% (N=7) 1,53 Sidi Toui 8,5 39% (N=2) 1,75 ü Sexual dimorphism: ~18 month old ü First nest: ~24 month old ü Nest size: ~20 eggs
  10. 10. Brooding & rearing Since 2011, in Dghoumes: ü102 chicks kept in captivity, 81 died! ü33 chicks left “free-ranging”, 33 died!
  11. 11. §Nutritional unbalance §Access to water ? §Predation pressure §Management procedures & consequences on Behavioural patterns
  12. 12. ALLEE EFFECT
  13. 13. What could be the next steps for the North African ostrich conservation in Tunisia ?
  14. 14. Current context & Achievements ü National strategy for sahelo-saharan conservation 2001-2020 that includes North-African ostrich return ü Reintroduction started in 2008 (2 lineages represented; 70% pop growth) ü On going repopulation of natural habitat after 130years of absence ü Existing agreements, infrastructures, experiences and demand ü Identified weaknesses and possible mitigation solutions
  15. 15. Proposed Action plan • Increase the number of sites • Increase the groups size • Improve management • Improve resources, facilities and support 5 years Viable metapopulation in Tunisia (natural breeding) Free ranging animals Able to source other projects
  16. 16. Increase the number of sites El Gonna Orbata Dghoumes Sidi Toui Oued Dekouk Djebil Senghar- Jabbes Chadian lineage 57 birds* Sudanese lineage 13 birds* Bou Hedma/ Haddej *May.2017
  17. 17. Increase the groups size 1 adult / female / year Estimated functioning group size ~40 adults / PA Better success with hard release of juveniles + 10 birds in Dghoumes/ Bou Hedma /Oued Dekouk in 2017-2018 + 20 birds in Senghar in 2018-2019 + 10 birds in Djebil / El Gonna in 2019 or later + 10 birds in Djebel Orbata in 2019 or later
  18. 18. Improve management Action Challenge Timescale + 10 birds in Dghoumes/ Bou Hedma /Oued Dekouk + 20 birds in Senghar in Get 20 chicks from Morocco + 30 chicks from Saudi Arabia Ensure they will be reared safely (Orbata? El Gonna? Friguia?) Prepare full release in Senghar June 2017 During >15months Release in DNP, BH, OD= Dec-March 2018 Release in Senghar = Dec-March 2019 + 10 birds in Djebil / El Gonna Secure Djebil Build fence in El Gonna Get additional imput from Morocco & Saudi Arabia 2019 and beyond + 10 birds in Djebel Orbata Organize a community- based conservation project 2019 and beyond
  19. 19. Improve resources, facilities & support ü Rearing sites set up ü Food and vitamin supply ü Capture / transport material ü Workshops & trainings to the park staff ü Hiring a project leader
  20. 20. Improve resources, facilities & support ü Set up the rearing sites ü Food and vitamin supply ü Capture / transport material ü Workshops & trainings to the park staff ü Hiring a project leader
  21. 21. Research component Behaviour Ecology Physiology/Health
  22. 22. Thank you!

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