The Richard Rischbieth Churchill Fellowship to develop world-leading reintroduction strategies for threatened South Australian aquatic species

Costa Rica
United Kingdom
Land, Commerce and Logistics
The Richard Rischbieth Churchill Fellowship to develop world-leading reintroduction strategies for threatened South Australian aquatic species featured image
Nick used his Fellowship to learn from experts around the world about how conservation translocation can assist often-neglected Australian freshwater species. The species we love are rapidly being lost; the rate of species extinction in Australia is the second highest globally. Species occupying freshwater environments, the rivers, the lakes and the wetlands, are going extinct more rapidly than terrestrial and marine species. Conservation translocation –- the intentional movement and release of living organisms where the primary objective is a conservation benefit –- is increasingly being employed to address the decline of species. Reintroduction can restore populations of species to areas where they have been lost, and reinforcement can supplement existing populations; all promoting recovery of the species. In assisted colonisation, species are released outside their natural range to counter new threats (e.g. climate change), or to perform a specific ecological function. Unfortunately, many conservation translocations have suffered from poor planning (including unclear objectives or indicators of success) and inadequate implementation. However, when commitment is given to more robust planning and implementation, success is high. Learning more and joining an international discussion about how conservation translocation can assist our often-neglected Australian freshwater species. Nick’s Fellowship began with participation in International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Conservation Translocation training organised by world leading translocation experts. He then met with translocation practitioners in New Mexico, Oregon, New York, West Virginia, Bristol and Padstow. They discussed what is working, and what is not. He met with other people to discuss conservation more broadly and visited places where the profile of freshwater species is being raised. Finally, Nick presented at a European freshwater crayfish conference. Over 66 days, he discussed conservation translocations with more than 50 experts in 20 cities and towns across five countries. Themes emerged in relation to conservation translocation of freshwater species: process, production, implementation, and promotion. Nick’s Report identifies key findings under each theme. This is both a challenging and exciting time to be involved with conservation translocations. Nick’s Fellowship has allowed for perspective on what has worked previously and what is needed in the future. He is now eager to take the opportunity to make effectively planned and implemented conservation translocations at an appropriate scale more routine for neglected Australian freshwater species.


Nick Whiterod

Nick Whiterod


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