This risk assessment has been produced to assist in the decision making surrounding the conservation translocation of African penguins (Spheniscus demersus). Conservation translocation represents just one, of many tools to assist in the conservation of the African penguin, complimentary to and in no way replacing other actions such as colony protection, fish stock management, and ex situ breeding. This risk assessment sets out neither to advocate for, nor oppose, the process of conservation translocation, but rather provides a framework upon which to appraise proposed conservation actions involving conservation translocation. All conservation actions for the species should be carried out as part of an integrated strategy under the ‘Biodiversity Management Plan for the African Penguin’ (2013).
It was specifically written to consider the conservation translocation of captive bred African penguins, as the conservation translocation of wild bred individuals is already a well established and accepted practice, with many hundreds of individuals being released annually as part of welfare rehabilitation programmes, and more recently as part of conservation and research programmes. However the conservation translocation of captive bred individuals is not inherently or necessarily of any higher risk than that of wild bred individuals therefore this risk assessment provides a tool for appraising all conservation translocations, whilst focussing on any potential differences between wild and captive sources of penguins.
Any proposed conservation translocation should be justified by identifying the conservation benefits and weighing any benefits against risks, while considering alternative actions that could be taken. Motivations such as experimenting solely for academic interest, releasing surplus captive stock, rehabilitation for welfare purposes, attracting funding or public profile, or moving organisms to facilitate economic development are not generally regarded as conservation purposes.