The definitions below are taken from the IUCN Guidelines for Reintroductions and Other Conservation Translocations.  The full Guidelines and accompanying Annexe document will be available soon on the IUCN Species Survival Commission Reintroductions Specialist Group website.

Translocation is the human-mediated movement of living organisms from one area, with release in another.
Translocation is therefore the overarching term. Translocations may move living organisms from the wild or from captive origins. Translocations can be accidental (e.g. stowaways) or intentional. Intentional translocations can address a variety of motivations, including for reducing population size, for welfare, political, commercial or recreational interests, or for conservation objectives.

Conservation Translocation is the intentional movement and release of a living organism where the primary objective is a conservation benefit: this will usually comprise improving the conservation status of the focal species locally or globally, and/or restoring natural ecosystem functions or processes.

A translocation involves releasing organisms. Release here specifically excludes the act of placing organisms into conditions that, for management purposes, differ significantly from those experienced by these organisms in their natural habitats. These differences may include the density under which individuals are kept, their sex ratio and group size, breeding system, environmental conditions, dependence on provisioning and, consequently, the selection pressures imposed.

Conservation translocations can entail releases either within or outside the species’ indigenous range. The indigenous range of a species is the known or inferred distribution generated from historical (written or verbal) records, or physical evidence of the species’ occurrence. Where direct evidence is inadequate to confirm previous occupancy, the existence of suitable habitat within ecologically appropriate proximity to proven range may be taken as adequate evidence of previous occupation.

1. Population Restoration is any conservation translocation to within indigenous range, and comprises two activities:

a. Reinforcement is the intentional movement and release of an organism into an existing population of conspecifics.
Reinforcement aims to enhance population viability, for instance by increasing population size, by increasing genetic diversity, or by increasing the representation of specific demographic groups or stages.
[Synonyms: Augmentation; Supplementation; Re-stocking; Enhancement (plants only)]

b. Reintroduction is the intentional movement and release of an organism inside its indigenous range from which it has disappeared.
Reintroduction aims to re-establish a viable population of the focal species within its indigenous range.

2. Conservation Introduction is the intentional movement and release of an organism outside its indigenous range.
Two types of Conservation Introduction are recognised:

a. Assisted Colonisation is the intentional movement and release of an organism outside its indigenous range to avoid extinction of populations of the focal species.
This is carried out primarily where protection from current or likely future threats in current range is deemed less feasible than at alternative sites.
The term includes a wide spectrum of operations, from those involving the movement of organisms into areas that are both far from current range and separated by non-habitat areas, to those involving small range extensions into contiguous areas.
[Synonyms: Benign Introduction; Assisted Migration; Managed Relocation]

b. Ecological Replacement is the intentional movement and release of an organism outside its indigenous range to perform a specific ecological function.
This is used to re-establish an ecological function lost through extinction, and will often involve the most suitable existing sub-species, or a close relative of the extinct species within the same genus.
[Synonyms: Taxon Substitution; Ecological Substitutes/Proxies/Surrogates; Subspecific Substitution, Analogue Species]

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