Introduction Of Exotic Game Birds In South Carolina

Trial releases of three species of exotic game birds were made on nine areas in South Carolina by the South Carolina Wildlife Resources Department. The black francolin was released on four areas from 1960 to 1962. The Western Iranian black-neck pheasant was released on five areas from 1961 to 1968. The red junglefowl was released on three areas from 1965 to 1968. A study was made of seven of the release sites to determine population levels of the released birds and to survey the vegetation. The black francolin exhibited generally negative census results two years after the last release. The Western Iranian pheasant has continued to survive only on areas where annual releases were made. Although the red junglefowl has shown promise, it is too early to determine its chances of survival. The results of the study indicate that the introduction of exotic game birds in South Carolina thus far has not been very successful. In cases where the introduced birds have survived, the survival of the introduced birds may be due to regular and periodic releases than to reproductive success of the exotic game birds. Since the successful introduction of the ring-necked pheasant (Phasianus colchicus) into Oregon in 1881, various state game departments and private individuals have tried to establish other exotic game birds in the United States. The majority of these attempts were unsuccessful. The implications of the ecological problems in releasing fauna into the United States led to the establishment of a Foreign Game Introduction Program sponsored by the International Association of Game Fish, and Conservation Commissioners, the Wildlife Management Institute, and the United States Fish and Wildlife Service after reviewing the history of exotic introduction attempts in 1950. United States Fish and Wildlife Service biologists made an evaluation of foreign game birds that occupied habitats and niches which were similar to certain areas of the United States. State wildlife biologists made an ecological survey of game-deficient areas to determine potential release sites. Thirty-two of the 45 cooperating states have actively participated in this Introduction Program. Over 150 species or subspecies of foreign game birds have been evaluated and 26 of these have been recommended for trial releases (Bump, 1968).

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