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Taxonomy and Translocations of African Mammals: A Plea for a Cautionary Approach

1
IUCN/SSC Primate Specialist Group, Viale Liegi 48A, 00198 Rome, Italy
2
Department of Zoology, Faculty of Science, University of South Bohemia, Branišovská 1760, 37005 České Budějovice, Czech Republic
3
Liberec Zoo, Lidové sady 425/1, 46001 Liberec, Czech Republic
4
Italian Foundation for Vertebrate Zoology (FIZV), Via Marco Aurelio 2, 00184 Rome, Italy
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Colin Michael Hall
Received: 6 May 2021 / Revised: 27 May 2021 / Accepted: 8 June 2021 / Published: 14 June 2021
Ecotourism can fuel an important source of financial income for African countries and can therefore help biodiversity policies in the continent. Translocations can be a powerful tool to spread economic benefits among countries and communities; yet, to be positive for biodiversity conservation, they require a basic knowledge of conservation units through appropriate taxonomic research. This is not always the case, as taxonomy was considered an outdated discipline for almost a century, and some plurality in taxonomic approaches is incorrectly considered as a disadvantage for conservation work. As an example, diversity of the genus Giraffa and its recent taxonomic history illustrate the importance of such knowledge for a sound conservation policy that includes translocations. We argue that a fine-grained conservation perspective that prioritizes all remaining populations along the Nile Basin is needed. Translocations are important tools for giraffe diversity conservation, but more discussion is needed, especially for moving new giraffes to regions where the autochthonous taxa/populations are no longer existent. As the current discussion about the giraffe taxonomy is too focused on the number of giraffe species, we argue that the plurality of taxonomic and conservation approaches might be beneficial, i.e., for defining the number of units requiring separate management using a (majority) consensus across different concepts (e.g., MU—management unit, ESU—evolutionary significant unit, and ECU—elemental conservation unit). The taxonomically sensitive translocation policy/strategy would be important for the preservation of current diversity, while also supporting the ecological restoration of some regions within rewilding. A summary table of the main translocation operations of African mammals that have underlying problems is included. Therefore, we call for increased attention toward the taxonomy of African mammals not only as the basis for sound conservation but also as a further opportunity to enlarge the geographic scope of ecotourism in Africa. View Full-Text
Keywords: Africa; mammal subspecies; biotic homogenization; Giraffa; game tourism; taxonomy; Panthera leo; ECU Africa; mammal subspecies; biotic homogenization; Giraffa; game tourism; taxonomy; Panthera leo; ECU
MDPI and ACS Style

Gippoliti, S.; Robovský, J.; Angelici, F.M. Taxonomy and Translocations of African Mammals: A Plea for a Cautionary Approach. Conservation 2021, 1, 121-136. https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/conservation1020011

AMA Style

Gippoliti S, Robovský J, Angelici FM. Taxonomy and Translocations of African Mammals: A Plea for a Cautionary Approach. Conservation. 2021; 1(2):121-136. https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/conservation1020011

Chicago/Turabian Style

Gippoliti, Spartaco, Jan Robovský, and Francesco M. Angelici 2021. "Taxonomy and Translocations of African Mammals: A Plea for a Cautionary Approach" Conservation 1, no. 2: 121-136. https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/conservation1020011

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