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The Journey of Species Survival is Durrell's main tool for planning and tracking how we deliver our mission of saving species from extinction. We monitor each species through 13 management stages and four main phases as our actions drive its population recovery from the brink of extinction back to safer levels.

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Phase I: Assessment & Planning

Phase I: Assessment & Planning

The first phase of the survival journey focuses on gathering the information required to plan our approach to effectively manage the recovery of the species.

Rapid assessment

Rapid assessment

1998

Durrell’s Juliette Velosoa begins researching the distribution and population of the rere to gain a better understanding of its ecology and the threats it faces. Through village interviews and site surveys, it is clear that the major threats to the rere are anthropogenic in the form of over-exploitation and habitat loss.

About the Rapid assessment stage
Field missions are used to assess species conservation status, key threats and initial actions needed to kick start the programme.

Rapid response

Rapid response

1999

1998  With the help of local communities, Durrell begins intensive nest monitoring and protection at Lake Antsilomba in Ankarafantsika National Park.

1999  A captive breeding programme is set up at Ampijoroa in Ankarafantsika National Park, with the goal of breeding animals to reintroduce into the wild.

2001  A head-starting programme begins at Lake Antsilomba. Two hatchlings from each wild nest are collected from healthy populations in order to be raised in captivity and eventually released to restore wild populations.

About the Rapid response stage
If extinction risk is very high, captive breeding programmes or rapid field interventions might be used to avert an immediate risk of extinction.

Stakeholder engagement

Stakeholder engagement

1999

With the main threats to the rere being anthropogenic, Durrell immediately begin to engage and involve local communities in rere conservation through public awareness and community motivation events. This is initially achieved through local festivals with an environmental theme; events which prove to be popular. These events are then followed by a series of village meetings and discussions on the importance of creating local associations responsible for implementing traditional environmental laws.

About the Stakeholder engagement stage
Conservation actions are successfully increasing the species’ numbers and the programme structure is now capable of monitoring and adapting to new or re-emerging threats to the species.

Full assessment

Full assessment

2004

New research by Durrell indicates a rapid decline in the species’ population size, averaging 70% over a ten year period. At 27% of sites throughout the species’ known range, the rere is close to extinction. At a further 31% of sites the species has been over-exploited and is in serious decline. Only eight sites, representing 7.6% of the species’ historical range, support stable populations and only six of these sites are located within protected areas.

About the Full assessment stage
Intensive research into ecological, environmental and socio-ecological factors affecting the species provides a baseline to inform the planning stage.

Planning & partnership

Planning & partnership

2001

Village meetings and discussions for the creation of local conservation associations responsible for implementing traditional environmental laws are held. Durrell work with local authorities and representatives from the Ministries of the Environment and Fisheries to support the legal transfer of local resource management from the National government to local communities. Durrell also collaborates with Madagascar National Parks to establish a plan for captive bred and head-started rere to be released into Ankarafantsika National Park.

About the Planning and partnership stage
Conservation targets and detailed action plans are developed to guide the programme's efforts. Partnerships and governance are also outlined to ensure the programme remains on track.

Phase II: Intensive Care

Phase II: Intensive Care

This phase involves the testing and implementation of intensive management actions to tackle the main threats to a species in order to stabilise its population and promote recovery. It often requires the most resources as it lays the foundation for a species’ long-term recovery.

Trialling actions

Trialling actions

2004

2004  158 head-started young (3–5 yrs old) were released into Lake Ankomakoma, Ankarafantsika National Park. The rere population at Lake Ankomakoma has been assessed twice each year post-release; 29% survived one year after release, 20% after two years, and 12% after three years. Although considered to be a success due to an overall increase in turtle numbers and the raising of the species’ profile within local communities, the population was still too low to guarantee long-term survival.

2011   An experimental translocation of hatchlings from Lake Antsilomba to Lake Ankomakoma was trialled, with the transfer of 28 hatchlings in 2010 and 18 in 2011. Similar to the collection of young for head-starting, two hatchlings were collected from each nest protected at Lake Antsilomba. The hatchlings were then kept in captivity for 2–4 weeks prior to release in Lake Ankomakoma. These translocations are monitored to compare the survival between translocated hatchlings and head-started juveniles.

About the Trialling actions stage
Conservation actions are tested on the ground, results are monitored and techniques are adapted to develop effective management actions.

Scaling up actions

Scaling up actions

2009

Nest protection is expanded and is started at Lake Ambondrobe. 146 nests are protected in 2008 and 2009, producing 1316 hatchlings during these two years alone. Elsewhere, at Ankarafantsika National Park, another 180 head-started turtles (aged 1–7 years) are successfully raised and are released to restore the wild population at Lake Ankomakoma. The captive breeding programme also starts to see some success with 58 hatchlings produced in 2008.

About the Scaling up actions stage
Once effective management actions are developed they can be rolled out across the intervention zone.

Intensive management

Intensive management

2015

2015 marks the first ever release of captive bred reres with 114 turtles released into Lake Ravelobe to restore the wild population. This also marks the third lake within Ankarafantsika National Park to be receive conservation attention; making this a habitat of huge importance for the rere.

Durrell continue the monitoring and evaluation of single populations using capture-mark-recapture at seven lakes and three rivers within five watersheds (Manambolo, Tsiribihina, Betsiboka, Mahajamba, and Mahavavy).

Within Ankarafantsika National Park, one of Durrell’s main field sites, rere populations have remained stable or are increasing. This is encouraging as these are sites where significant long-term conservation actions have been implemented by Durrell.

About the Intensive management stage
After actions have been scaled up they are then intensively implemented to bring primary threats under control, enabling the start of the species' recovery.

Adaptive management

About the Adaptive management stage
Conservation actions are successfully increasing the species’ numbers and the programme structure is now capable of monitoring and adapting to new or re-emerging threats to the species.

Phase III: Long-term Management

Phase III: Long-term Management

Once a species reaches this phase the population recovery is well underway but the sustainability and long-term robustness of the programme needs to be ensured.

Minimum management

About the Minimum management stage
Moving towards sustainability, the intensive actions are scaled back to minimum levels of effort required to meet conservation targets.

Capacity-building

About the Capacity-building stage
The capacity building activities within the programme enter the final stage and local partner(s) lead the strategic and operational management of programme.

Final evaluation

About the Final evaluation stage
A detailed programme evaluation reviews progress towards conservation targets, final responsibilities are passed onto local partners and a new long-term action plan is agreed.

Phase IV: Watching Brief

Phase IV: Watching Brief

This phase signals the exit point for Durrell as a species reaches the end of its survival journey.

Watching brief

About the Watching brief stage
Durrell steps back from the programme and provides technical support to local partners on request.

Population numbers

1998


Rapid assessment


Phase I: Assessment & Planning

1999


Rapid response


Phase I: Assessment & Planning

1999


Stakeholder engagement


Phase I: Assessment & Planning

2004


Full assessment


Phase I: Assessment & Planning

2001


Planning & partnership


Phase I: Assessment & Planning

2004


Trialling actions


Phase II: Intensive Care

2009


Scaling up actions


Phase II: Intensive Care

2015


Intensive management


Phase II: Intensive Care


Adaptive management


Phase II: Intensive Care


Minimum management


Phase III: Long-term Management


Capacity-building


Phase III: Long-term Management


Final evaluation


Phase III: Long-term Management


Watching brief


Phase IV: Watching Brief

Phase I


Assessment
& Planning


Stages 1 - 5

Phase II


Intensive
Care


Stages 6 - 9

Phase III


Long-term Management


Stages 10 - 12

Phase IV


Watching
Brief


Stage 13