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Food supplementation as a conservation intervention: A framework and a case of helping threatened shorebirds at a refuelling site
Zhang, S.; Bai, Q.; Melville, D.S.; Feng, C.; Piersma, T.; Ma, Z. (2021). Food supplementation as a conservation intervention: A framework and a case of helping threatened shorebirds at a refuelling site. Biol. Conserv. 264: 109394.
In: Biological Conservation. Elsevier: Barking. ISSN 0006-3207; e-ISSN 1873-2917, meer
Peer reviewed article  

Beschikbaar in  Auteurs 

Author keywords
    East Asian-Australasian flyway; Food shortage; Foraging; Fuel storage; Species conservation; Staging site

Auteurs  Top 
  • Zhang, S.
  • Bai, Q.
  • Melville, D.S.
  • Feng, C.
  • Piersma, T., meer
  • Ma, Z.


    Supplemental feeding to mitigate the effects of food shortages may in some cases provide critical help to species conservation . However, supplemental feeding may have both positive and negative effects on wildlife and the environment. A scientifically designed feeding project helps to achieve conservation targets and reduces adverse effects. Here, we summarize a three-step framework for food supplementation that we used in practice: (1) determining whether supplemental feeding is required; (2) designing and implementing a practical feeding scheme; and (3) evaluating the effectiveness of food supplementation. We supplemented food for great knots (Calidris tenuirostris), an endangered migratory shorebird , at a recently impoverished refuelling site (Yalu Jiang estuary) in the Yellow Sea in spring 2018. The abundance of the staple food of great knots (Potamocorbula laevis, which had become very rare after 2012), was insufficient for the birds to refuel before the migratory flight to the breeding grounds . In our practical test, living P. laevis were collected in subtidal areas and transported to the intertidal area where great knots had been foraging in earlier years. The supplemented areas attracted 48% of all the great knots present in the 200 km2 study area. Nearly 90% of the supplemented food was consumed. Most great knots (>80%) foraged inthe high-density supplementation zone where the densities of P. laevis were restored to the naturally occurring levels in 2011–2012. Here, food intake rates (mg AFDM/s) were 4.2 times those in the adjacent control zones. The framework and the feeding practice should help guide future supplemental feeding in a wide range of species.

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