Are reintroduced animals wild?

Among other things… a released otter will roam wherever it wants, probably far from where released. A planted tree will never move again until it dies. A main point of marking cultivated is to separate out things that got there on their own from things out there by people. This is important for ecological monitoring and understanding the range of species. Please do mark any planted tree as planted regardless of how old it is or whether it’s identified. That is how the site is meant to be used.


I know I am beating a dead horse at this point, but the released otter didn’t get there without human intervention and a tree that no one has maintained for years, is no longer cultivated. I understand iNat’s definitions, they just seem to have a strange double standard.

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One significant differentiation is that animals that are released (intentionally) are almost always of a species native to, or at a minimum previously native to that spot. All the old ornamental trees planted on my street happily surviving on their own are not native here. Considering those trees as wild effectively renders the concept of the species even having a range as irrelevant.

If you can simply plant a bunch of stuff it also effectively renders the need to protect or conserve wild populations of plants needless.

edited to account for rare instances


Not always true. Nonnative ungulates have been released as game animals well outside their native range. Diorhabda beetles released in the USA to control invasive tamarisk are not native.


The otter may be in Minnesota because of humans but it’s hiding under a log near a specific lake in the Boundary Waters because it decided to do that. The filter largely exists for mapping purposes and while it may be a bit fuzzy it’s also established protocol for most ecological monitoring. Of course there are edge cases. Often in the woods in Vermont I find an apple tree that may have been planted at a homestead 100 years ago or may have sprouted from a seed on its own. For those edge cases leaving as wild is fine.


I have wondered about restoration plantings, but there are some interesting quirks about those especially one major restoration project I know from many decades ago where it was replanted with a native species but a species native to a different island which would not have gotten there naturally. Some times its pretty obvious that a restoration took part. But there are some areas I am less sure if the plants in them were specifically planted, or if they are offspring/growing from other dispersal methods long after the project finished. Especially with some areas which were planted next to original forest or in gaps between different original forests. Luckily I am generally more interested in organisms which can move around, and things like epiphytes. I have run scenarios in my head of restoration projects I would like to get into and how to map species change/success over the years.

A planted tree is cultivated as long as it lives. If it produces an offspring the next generation is not planted and can be considered wild.

[quote=“JeremyHussell, post:3, topic:6334”]
Generally speaking, one should not mark an unidentified observation as captive/cultivated, because that changes it from “Needs ID” to “Casual”, where it is much less likely to be identified. This is due to (what can be viewed as) a flaw in the design of the site. After an observation has reached “Research Grade” is the time to debate whether it counts as wild or not.[/quote]

There are so many observations of pets, plants in a pot or grown in a garden or in a urban green space that keeping them as “needs id” would turn out to be keep them forever unflagged as they should be. iNat could be interpreted as a sort of “identification factory” while users should be encouraged to stay here to map wild organisms.

Some horticultural cultivars and artificial hybrids succed in becoming wild. Many of them are well known by ecologist and conservation scientists because they can represent a threat for native biodiversity (e.g. American grapes, both species and hybrids, used as rootstock here in the Mediterranean).

Captive/cultivated observations should be marked whether or not they’re identified. Those who want to identify them can use the filters to find them. But this isn’t related to the topic about reintroduced animals.


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