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Red Junglefowl Introductions in the Southeastern United States: History and Research Legacy
Tomas Condon, I. Lehr Brisbin Jr., and C. Ray Chandler

Southeastern Naturalist, Volume 18, Issue 1 (2019): 37–52

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Southeastern Naturalist 37 T. Condon, I.L. Brisbin Jr., and C.R. Chandler 22001199 SOUTHEASTERN NATURALIST Vo1l8.( 118):,3 N7–o5. 21 Red Junglefowl Introductions in the Southeastern United States: History and Research Legacy Tomas Condon1, I. Lehr Brisbin Jr.2, and C. Ray Chandler1,* Abstract - As part of the US government’s Foreign Game Investigation Program (FGIP), there was an extensive and sustained effort in the 1960s to introduce Gallus gallus (Red Junglefowl) in the southeastern United States. We review the history of this effort with the objective of showing how well-documented introductions such as those carried out by FGIP can shed light on current research questions. The stock for the junglefowl introductions was captured in northern India under the direction of Gardiner Bump in areas thought to be free of hybridization with domestic Gallus gallus domesticus (Chicken). A total of 117 wild-caught birds was shipped to the United States as breeding stock, and over a 10- year period nearly 10,000 Red Junglefowl were introduced into at least 52 sites in 8 states. Despite this massive effort, no wild populations of Red Junglefowl have persisted in the Southeast. However, descendants of the FGIP junglefowl still exist in captivity. Careful breeding of birds from the original FGIP has resulted in a captive population of 100–200 Red Junglefowl distributed among several aviculturists in the Southeast and thought to be derived from populations that predate introgression with domestic Chickens. Because of their well-documented origins, these descendants of FGIP junglefowl are probably the genetically purest captive population of this species, and they have a tremendous research legacy for the conservation of Red Junglefowl and study of the genetic changes associated with domestication. Introduction The widespread intentional and accidental introductions of species outside their native ranges have prompted concern about the negative ecological and economic impacts of invasive species (Gallardo et al. 2016, Pimentel et al. 2005, Rhymer and Simberloff 1996) and the homogenization of global faunas (McKinney and Lockwood 1999). Despite this concern, the frequency of bird introductions, both intentional and accidental, remains high (Kark et al. 2009, Marchant 1996). At least 425 species of birds have been introduced to sites outside their native ranges, and ~39–44% of these species have established extralimital populations (Kark et al. 2009, Long 1981). At least 127 species of birds have been introduced into the United States (Witmer and Fuller 2011). Although caution about new introductions is justified, historical records concerning past introductions are an under-used resource. These records may contain important information on the ecological challenges posed by a new habitat or contain the keys to current research questions on introduced species. Although many bird introductions were carried out with little 1Department of Biology, Georgia Southern University, Statesboro, GA 30460. 2Savannah River Ecology Laboratory, Drawer E, Building 737-A, University of Georgia, Aiken, SC 29802. *Corresponding author - chandler@georgiasouthern.edu. Manuscript Editor: Roger Applegate Southeastern Naturalist T. Condon, I.L. Brisbin Jr., and C.R. Chandler 2019 Vol. 18, No. 1 38 or no record keeping, others have been well-documented (Lever 2005, Long 1981, Moulton et al. 2018). The objective of this paper is to summarize the history of one such welldocumented case, the introduction of Gallus gallus L. (Red Junglefowl; hereafter Junglefowl) into the southeastern United States. Carried out under the Foreign Game Investigation Program (FGIP), the introduction of Junglefowl into the southeastern states was one of the most extensive and sustained (though ultimately unsuccessful) efforts to introduce a bird species outside its range. Given the interest in the history of domestication (Lawler 2012, 2014a), the unsuccessful introduction of Junglefowl might yet have an important modern research legacy. Unfortunately, the records of this program are detailed only in scattered publications and obscure government reports. This lack of accessible documentation is a common problem with introductions and translocations, and it has resulted in calls for greater publication of outcomes (Fischer and Lindenmayer 2000). We believe there is value in assembling these data to address 3 questions. (1) What was the origin and fate of the Junglefowl introduced into the southeastern United States? There is evidence that existing wild Junglefowl populations in their native range are threatened by widespread introgression with domestic “village” Gallus gallus domesticus (L.) (Chicken) (Peterson and Brisbin 1998). Thus, the genetic characteristics of the Junglefowl introduced into the United States, and the fate of this genetic stock, is of significance. (2) Do the records of the FGIP provide any insight into the reasons for the failure of such extensive and sustained introductions? The ecological factors that affect the success or failure of introduced species are of particular interest (Blackburn and Duncan 2001, Blackburn et al. 2009, Smallwood 1994, Williamson and Fitter 1996). Records from the FGIP’s decade-long introduction of thousands of Junglefowl may bear on this issue (see also Moulton et al. 2018). (3) Can FGIP records contribute to current research on the genetics or ecology of genetically pure, wild Junglefowl? Although these introductions were ultimately unsuccessful, descendants of the introduced Junglefowl still exist in captivity and have possibly hybridized with domestic Chickens in at least 1 free-ranging population in the Southeast. The Foreign Game Investigation Program In the mid-1940s, there was interest in the idea of pursuing new and exotic game species for recreational hunting in the United States (Bump 1968). Because of concern over what they saw as potentially disastrous consequences of unregulated introductions of non-native species carried out by the public, the International Association of Game, Fish, and Conservation Commissioners requested that the US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) set up a program to investigate foreign game species that might be used to meet this public demand (Bump 1968). In 1948, the USFWS established the FGIP to study, collect, import, propagate, and release foreign game species into areas of the United States that provided suitable habitat and were deemed deficient in huntable populations of native game (Bump 1968). Dr. Southeastern Naturalist 39 T. Condon, I.L. Brisbin Jr., and C.R. Chandler 2019 Vol. 18, No. 1 Gardiner Bump was hired as a Wildlife Research Biologist and appointed leader of the FGIP (US Department of the Interior 1949). Although the FGIP began in 1948, most of the introductions were made between 1960 and 1970. During this decade, 24 game bird species, subspecies, and hybrids were released in at least 27 states and the US territory of Guam (Banks 1981, Bump 1968). In all, more than 340,000 individual birds were released (Banks 1981; Bohl and Bump 1970; Bump 1962; Bump and Bohl 1964; Chambers 1965, 1966). Poor survival of introduced birds, combined with a shift in mindset regarding the ecological appropriateness of such introductions (e.g., Gullion 1965), resulted in the discontinuation of the FGIP in 1970 (Banks 1981). However, the goal of the FGIP was pursued by a number of state agencies that continued to make releases for several more years (Banks 1981). Ultimately, 7 species established self-sustaining populations. Francolinus francolinus L. (Black Francolin), F. pondicerianus (Gmelin) (Gray Francolin), F. erckelii (Ruppell) (Erckel’s Francolin), Pterocles exustus (Temminck) (Chestnut-bellied Sandgrouse), and Lophura leucomelanos (Latham) (Kalij Pheasant) became established on Hawaii. Tetraogallus himalayensis (G.R. Gray) (Himalayan Snowcock) and Phasianus versicolor (Vieillot) (Green Pheasant) became established in continental North America (Lever 2005). Red Junglefowl in the Southeast One of the species selected for introduction in the southeastern United States was the Junglefowl. It was praised as a challenging bird to hunt, with good-tasting meat and the ability to withstand relatively heavy hunting pressure (Bump and Bohl 1961). It was also thought that Junglefowl would do little damage to agricultural crops and would compete minimally with native species (Bump and Bohl 1961). Given these characteristics, it was concluded that the Junglefowl would make an ideal game bird in parts of the South where the climate and habitats were similar to those of their native range in southern Asia (Bump 1968, Bump and Bohl 1961). Origins of introduced birds Gardiner Bump and fellow USFWS biologist Wayne Bohl began their investigation of the Junglefowl in India in the late 1950s. In July 1959, the team traveled to Bihar, a state bordering Nepal in eastern India, where they observed and began trapping Junglefowl in the fall of 1959. The exact locations in India where Junglefowl were collected were recorded imprecisely. It appears, however, that at least 1 of the locations was 24–32 km southeast of Dehradun, Uttarakhand (based on I.L. Brisbin Jr.’s notes from interviews with G. Bump, 20 January 1969). It is also known that the original stock was collected from nests found at 305–610 m in elevation (G. Bump, 20 January 1969 interview). Given this information, it is likely that at least one of the collection sites was in or near the present day Rajaji National Park (30° N, 78° E). Regardless of the exact location, Bump assured Brisbin in his interview that all of the Junglefowl were collected with care to insure that no free-ranging, village Chickens were in the vicinity. Eggs and chicks were collected from areas Southeastern Naturalist T. Condon, I.L. Brisbin Jr., and C.R. Chandler 2019 Vol. 18, No. 1 40 at least 5 km from any village, and most were collected 16–24 km away or farther (G. Bump interview, 20 January 1969). Bump did mention the difficulties in locating Junglefowl that had not interbred with domestic Chickens, an early expression of concern about the conservation threat posed by hybridization and introgression (Bohling 2016, Peterson and Brisbin 1998, Rhymer and Simberloff 1996). Finally, it is worth noting that Bump’s collection of Junglefowl was controversial in India at the time, with some accusations of smuggling (Doctor 2015). Ultimately, Bump and his team spent 2 years collecting, transporting, and distributing the Junglefowl that would form the basis of the FGIP introductions (Table 1; Lawler 2014a). The first group of birds was collected between October 1959 and January 1960, but only 2 birds were captured. These birds were shipped to the United States sometime between 22 March and 19 May 1960 (Bump 1960) and were held at the US Animal Quarantine Station in Clifton, NJ. These 2 birds were ultimately shipped to an unknown state as breeder stock (Bump 1960). Collection efforts resumed in the spring of 1960, this time on a larger scale. Local game wardens and trappers were hired to search for nests and collect eggs and chicks (Bump 1960; G. Bump [now deceased], pers. comm.). The eggs were set under domestic Chicken hens, and twice a week the chicks were transported to FGIP headquarters in New Delhi where Bump, his wife, and other FGIP personnel raised them in homemade brooders (Bump 1960; G. Bump, pers. comm.). The birds were transferred to outdoor pens when 3–4 weeks of age and were loaded into crates and shipped to the United States when 12–14 weeks old (Bump and Bohl 1961). By May 1960, a total of 107 Junglefowl had been hatched, with 70 ultimately being shipped to the United States (Table 1; Bump 1960). After quarantine, these 70 birds were distributed to state-operated game farms in Alabama, Georgia, Oklahoma, and Virginia (Bump 1961b). A final collection of Junglefowl was carried out in the spring of 1961 under the direction of Wayne Bohl (Bump 1961b). By fall of 1961, Bohl had shipped 47 additional Junglefowl to the US, and the 45 survivors were distributed to game farms in Florida, Kentucky, Tennessee, and Virginia (Table 1; Bump 1962). Ultimately, the FGIP effort to introduce Junglefowl to the United States was based on 117 wildcaught birds (Table 1). Table 1. Fate of the Red Junglefowl collected in India under the Foreign Game Investigation Program, 1959–1961. Group 1 Group 2 Group 3 Total Date collected Winter 1959–1960 Spring 1960 Spring 1961 Number collected 2 107 47 156 Died in rearing 0 5 0 5 Shipped from India 2 70A 47 119 Died in quarantine 0 0 2 2 Shipped to states 2 70 45 117 Destinations ? AL, GA FL, KY OK, VA TN, VA AOf the 102 birds reared, 32 (mostly males) were distributed to zoos in India. Southeastern Naturalist 41 T. Condon, I.L. Brisbin Jr., and C.R. Chandler 2019 Vol. 18, No. 1 Fate of introduced junglefowl Seven southeastern states received wild-caught Junglefowl under the FGIP (Table 1). Two additional states (Louisiana and South Carolina) acquired their breeding stock later from states that had already successfully propagated the species. Between 1960 and 1971, ~10,000 Junglefowl were raised in these 9 states (Banks 1981; Bohl and Bump 1970; Bump 1961a; Bump and Bohl 1964; Chambers 1965, 1966). Typical of these breeding operations was the facility at the Bowen’s Mill fish hatchery near Fitzgerald, GA, where more than 2200 junglefowl were raised between 1961 and 1970 (Fig. 1). Between 1961 and 1971, a total of 9724–9924 Junglefowl were released at a minimum of 52 sites in 8 states (Table 2, Fig. 2). Virginia was the only state that raised Junglefowl but did not make releases. Based on FGIP records (Banks 1981; Bohl and Bump 1970; Bump 1961a; Bump and Bohl 1964; Chambers 1965, 1966), individual releases varied from 10 to 700 birds, with a median of 67 (interquartile min–max = 44–143; n = 99). Despite these extensive and sustained efforts, Junglefowl appear to have established populations at only 2 sites (a maximum 3.8% per site success rate). One population became established on Avery Island, Iberia County, LA (R. Rogers, Land Manager, McIlhenny County, pers. comm.), and another became established near Fitzgerald, Ben Hill County, GA (Hopkins 1979). The population on Avery Island persisted until the early 1990s before disappearing for unknown reasons, although a hurricane or tropical storm is speculated to have played a role (R. Rogers, pers. comm.). In Fitzgerald, it appears that Junglefowl existed in a relatively wild state through the late 1970s or early 1980s before breeding with domestic Chickens and assuming a more or less feral existence (Hopkins 1979). The largely unsuccessful release of almost 10,000 Junglefowl is striking in comparison to some other bird introductions. With the exception of a few other galliform birds such as Alectoris chukar (J.E. Gray) (Chukar) and Phasianus colchicus L. (Ring-necked Pheasant), introductions of this magnitude are rare (Lever Table 2. Red Junglefowl released in the United States under the Foreign Game Investigation Program, 1961–1971. Number of birds Number of Number of State Release years released counties release sites Alabama 1962–1971 1813A 10 ≥10 Florida 1963–1968 1002 7 ≥7 Georgia 1963–1970 2250A 8–10 ≥8 Kentucky 1964–1967 469 2 2 Louisiana 1963–1967 1151 5 ≥5 Oklahoma 1961–1967 1093–1293 4 ≥5 South Carolina 1965–1971 1380A 12 ≥12 Tennessee 1964–1966 566 3 ≥3 Virginia Raised junglefowl, but no birds released Total 1961–1971 9724–9924A 51–53 ≥52 AEstimated. Southeastern Naturalist T. Condon, I.L. Brisbin Jr., and C.R. Chandler 2019 Vol. 18, No. 1 42 2005, Long 1981, Moulton et al. 2018). Although large numbers are thought to increase the chance of establishment of an invader (Blackburn et al. 2015), many bird species have established extralimital populations with a far smaller number of Figure 1. Red Junglefowl and their breeding facility at Bowen’s Mill near Fitzgerald, GA, where more than 2200 junglefowl were raised between 1961 and 1970. Top: Brooder house with outdoor cages for rearing young birds. Bottom: Adult Red Junglefowl in breeder pens from which eggs were collected for hatching. The lack of combs on the hens and the horizontal tail posture on both sexes are traits associated with wild ancestry (Peterson and Brisbin 1998). Southeastern Naturalist 43 T. Condon, I.L. Brisbin Jr., and C.R. Chandler 2019 Vol. 18, No. 1 founders. Passer domesticus L. (House Sparrow) may have established themselves in the New York area from an introduction of as few as 16 birds (Moulton et al. 2010), and Sturnus vulgaris L. (European Starling) were established from an introduction of ~60–100 birds (Long 1981). Reasons for failure If number of birds released was not the critical issue (Moulton et al. 2018), why were the extensive efforts to introduce Junglefowl ultimately unsuccessful? Because the goal of the FGIP was to establish stable and ultimately huntable populations of Junglefowl, the release sites were visited periodically. Populations persisted for varying amounts of time but, with the exception of the 2 populations mentioned above, all introduced Junglefowl disappeared relatively quickly. The data in various FGIP reports provide the basis for the following assessment of the factors that might have been involved (based, unless otherwise noted, on Banks 1981; Bohl and Bump 1970; Bump and Bohl 1964; Chambers 1965, 1966). Abiotic factors. Abiotic factors are known to be important to the success of species introductions (Blackburn and Duncan 2001). Bump himself carefully considered this issue and noted the close match of the climate in northern India and much of the southeastern United States (see figure 5 in Bump and Bohl 1961). Although there were no studies to address this specific issue, it seems unlikely that abiotic factors played a major role in the failure of Junglefowl introductions. Almost 70% (36/52) of the counties where Junglefowl were released were in areas judged by Bump and Bohl (1981) to be “excellent” (20/52) or “fair to good” (16/52) matches to the climate in the Junglefowl’s native range (Fig. 2). Thus, the failure of Figure 2. Counties where Red Junglefowl were released as part of the FGIP introductions, 1961–1971. Counties in black fall within the region that Bump and Bohl (1961:figure 5) deemed an “excellent” match to the climate in the native range. Counties in dark gray are in an area with “fair to good” match. Counties in light gray are in a “borderline” area or outside the region that Bump and Bohl (1961) thought climatically suitable. Southeastern Naturalist T. Condon, I.L. Brisbin Jr., and C.R. Chandler 2019 Vol. 18, No. 1 44 large numbers of Junglefowl to establish populations implicates methodological or biotic factors. Nevertheless, some states opted to release Junglefowl into 6 counties that were completely outside the area indicated as climatically suitable by Bump and Bohl (1961) and into 10 that were judged to be borderline (Fig. 2). Method of release. There was variation in the method used to release Junglefowl. Most (n = 58) were considered “direct” releases (a “hard” release in today’s terminology) in which Jungefowl were placed directly into the wild with no shelter or supplemental food. Others (n = 19) were “gentle” releases (a “soft” release) in which birds were placed in conditioning pens at the release site and given continued access to food and water even after the pens were opened. The method of release for 22 other introductions was ambiguous or not recorded. Appparently, the method of release was at the discretion of individual states. All releases in Louisiana were gentle. No gentle releases were recorded in Alabama, Florida, Kentucky, Oklahoma, or South Carolina. Although the numbers are too small to make any statistical inferences about the relationship between release method and success, both introductions that established populations (Avery Island, LA, and Bowen’s Mill, GA) involved soft releases. Because subsequent studies have shown that soft releases can increase the success of translocations in galliform birds (Bernardo et al. 2011, Snyder et al. 1999; cf. Griffith et al. 1989), the use of direct or hard releases by most FGIP participants may have been an important contributing factor to many of the resulting failures. Given the enormous investment of time and resources involved in the introduction of Junglefowl, little attention seems to have been paid to the actual method of release. However, the many studies of the role of release method in the success of introductions or translocations would not come until many years after the FGIP work. Dispersal. Five states specifically noted that released Junglefowl dispersed widely and rapidly. Georgia reported “wide dispersion”, and Kentucky noted that birds “dispersed from release area rather rapidly and disappeared”. Dispersal distances of 3–10 miles (4.8–16.1 km) were reported. “Disappeared” is a common assessment of released populations in FGIP reports. Although not part of the FGIP, additional experimental releases of Junglefowl in the early 1970s on Ossabaw Island, GA, also resulted in rapid disappearance of the introduced birds (I.L. Brisbin Jr., unpubl. data). Dispersal from the release site is an important contributor to failure in translocations (Armstrong and Seddon 2008, Kemink and Kesler 2013), and such dispersal from the release site can contribute to higher predation rates as individuals move through unfamiliar space (Yoder et al. 2004). Predation. Predation can be a major constraint on the success of introduced or translocated populations, particularly pen-reared birds (Musil and Connelly 2009). The rapid disappearance of many introduced Junglefowl populations is consistent with the impact of predators. Many early assessments noted high mortality rates (e.g, “mortality appeared high immediately after release” at a site in Oklahoma). However, the FGIP provides little direct evidence. At a site in Florida there was a report of “four birds known dead”. Predation by humans is also part of the picture. Southeastern Naturalist 45 T. Condon, I.L. Brisbin Jr., and C.R. Chandler 2019 Vol. 18, No. 1 Although Junglefowl were introduced to create huntable populations, they were not intended to be hunted before populations became well established. Nevertheless, Florida reported “much poaching”. There is at least one documented case of hunting in the established Bowen’s Mill population (Hopkins 1979, Lawler 2014b). Disease. The FGIP reports did not provide any evidence of a role for disease in the failure of Junglefowl introductions. However, 42 ill or dead Junglefowl being raised as part of the FGIP were found to have a variety of diseases and parasites common to domestic Chickens, with coccidiosis being the most common problem (Kellogg et al. 1971). Junglefowl raised at sites in South Carolina and Georgia were capable of infecting Meleagris gallopavo L. (Wild Turkey) with the protozoan Histomonas meleagridis (Smith) (Kellogg et al. 1978). Habitat. The FGIP introduced Junglefowl into the southeastern United States because of broad climatic similarities to the native range (Bump and Bohl 1961). However, less consideration seems to have been given to the specific habitat needs at the release sites. The geographic distribution of release sites (Fig. 2) implies considerable variation in specific habitat features. Alabama noted that Junglefowl “moved 5 miles to river swamp”. Similarly, Georgia reported “distribution along streams and swamps”. Hopkins (1979:9) noted that an employee at the Bowen’s Mill, GA, hatchery reported that Junglefowl preferred “bottomlands and creek drains”. In Oklahoma, Junglefowl were observed in “thick blackjack post oak”, and Kentucky noted that Junglefowl occupied “heavy thickets”. What all of these descriptions have in common is a preference for heavy vegetation. However, the specific role of habitat suitability will probably never be known, and quality of habitat is a significant predictor of the success of translocations (Griffith et al. 1989). Reproduction. Although reproductive success was not quantified, introduced Junglefowl populations did reproduce. Broods were reported at a minimum of 12 sites in 4 states (Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Oklahoma). Reproduction at some sites in Alabama was assessed as “fair to good”. Georgia reported 15 broods at Bowen’s Mill, and Junglefowl were assessed as “probably established” in 2 other counties (Oaky Woods Wildlife Management Area, Houston and Pulaski counties). Louisiana noted that broods were seen on Avery Island and “breeding density [was] maintained”. Thus, reproductive failure could not have been a sole cause of the widespread failure of introductions, and nesting success was sufficient to maintain 2 populations, 1 for many years (Ben Hill County, GA) and 1 for decades (Avery Island, LA). Hybridization. Because most introduced junglefowl populations disappeared rapidly, hybridization of “wild” Junglefowl with domestic Chickens was unlikely to have contributed significantly to failure. However, there is evidence that hybridization could have hampered the long-term maintenance of any “pure” Junglefowl populations in the United States. Alabama reported cases where Junglefowl had “taken-up” with domestic Chickens and produced hybrid young, and a later report from that state noted “some crossing with domestic fowl”. Louisiana noted 2 males residing near a “barnyard flock”. Thus, it seems likely that, even if successful, Southeastern Naturalist T. Condon, I.L. Brisbin Jr., and C.R. Chandler 2019 Vol. 18, No. 1 46 most Junglefowl populations would have been destined for eventual hybridization with domestic Chickens and a semi-feral existence. The Junglefowl population that originated from Bowen’s Mill near Fitzgerald, GA, may be an example of just such a fate (see below). Ultimately, the direct release of Junglefowl into unfamiliar sites and habitats where they dispersed widely (and probably suffered high rates of predation) probably explains the failure of most Junglefowl introductions. Furthermore, hybridization with domestic Chickens was observed almost immediately and probably would have compromised the genetic integrity of any populations that did persist. It is interesting to note that by the late 1960s, Junglefowl introductions had exemplified issues (e.g., method of release, rapid dispersal, habitat quality, etc.) that the burgeoning literature on translocations and introductions during the 1980s would later come to cite as major factors affecting success. Research Legacy Gardiner Bump and his wife retired in the early 1970s during the last days of the FGIP and have since passed away. Before their retirement, Leslie Glasgow, former Assistant Secretary of the Department of Interior said, “the Bumps will be remembered and will be the source of vital information for many years to come because of the reliability of their studies ... it will take years for biologists to use fully the amount of scientific data they have acquired” (US Department of the Interior 1970:2). We agree there is an important research legacy from the Bumps’ work, and we wish to highlight one of their signal achievements, establishing and maintaining what may prove to be the last genetically pure remnant of the wild ancestor of over 20 billion domestic Chickens (Brisbin and Peterson 2007; Lawler 2012, 2014a; Peterson and Brisbin 1998). The JFW population In the 1960s, I.L. Brisbin Jr. began studies on the fate and effects of radioactive contaminants on game birds and other wildlife at the University of Georgia’s Savannah River Ecology Laboratory (SREL) near Aiken, SC (Brisbin 1993, Lawler 2014a). After initially using domestic Chickens as analogs for native game birds, he opted to switch to FGIP Junglefowl when they became available. Brisbin’s effort to obtain Junglefowl from the FGIP ultimately resulted in a captive population derived from FGIP stock and presumed to be genetically pure. This became known as the JFW (“Junglefowl-Wild”) population or sometimes as “Bump birds” or, later, the Richardson’s population (Condon 2012). Because of the origins of this population from known FGIP Junglefowl, we trace its provenance in some detail. Brisbin acquired his first Junglefowl on 24 May 1966 when he received 48 chicks from the Georgia Game and Fish Commission’s Bowen’s Mill facility. These birds eventually died out, but in 1969 Bump helped Brisbin obtain 5 more FGIP Junglefowl from the South Carolina Department of Wildlife Resources. These birds came from that state’s propagation facility at the Belmont Game Management Area in Belmont, SC. Although only 1 of these original birds remained by March of 1970, Southeastern Naturalist 47 T. Condon, I.L. Brisbin Jr., and C.R. Chandler 2019 Vol. 18, No. 1 three young birds grew to maturity by the start of the 1970 breeding season. Brisbin added to this flock in April 1970 when he picked up 101 eggs from the Bowen’s Mill facility upon the discontinuation of the Junglefowl program in Georgia; 26 of these eggs hatched. By February 1971, Brisbin’s flock had been reduced to 8 birds: 4 males and 4 females. However, on 11 May 1971, his flock increased in size again when he received 69 one-day-old Junglefowl from Dr. Dave Anderson and Dr. Stanley Vezey at the University of Georgia. They had acquired the eggs from the state game farm in Prattville, AL, and hatched them on the University of Georgia campus in Athens. Brisbin maintained the JFW flock at SREL until June of 1972. Although he was able to sustain this population, the birds experienced high mortality rates over these 3 years (1969–1972), which seemed to be due to viral diseases such as avian leukosis or Marek’s disease. In the spring of 1972, a move to Washington, DC, required Brisbin to search for individuals who could provide the high level of care that the JFW population required. Ultimately, in June 1972, Brisbin transferred most of the remaining JFW birds (12 birds: 8 adult males, 1 adult female, and 3 female chicks) to Mr. Isaac Richardson of Tuscaloosa, AL, and in August, Brisbin dropped off some additional birds (Lawler 2014a). Richardson was highly successful with the JFW birds, and by March of 1975 he had raised over 75 young Junglefowl. He began to distribute these offspring to other aviculturalists in the Southeast, but it appears that all of these lines eventually died out (I. Richardson, pers. comm.). Richardson, in contrast, remained highly successful raising Junglefowl, and he maintained a breeding colony of 5–20 birds at his home in Alabama for over 30 years (I. Richardson, pers. comm.). In July 1998, Richardson donated 65 of his junglefowl to the Georgia Game Bird Breeders Association (GGBBA) for distribution amongst its members (Hawkins 2001; S. Colomb, Moreland, GA, and A. Cuming [now deceased], pers. comm.). The birds, of various ages varying from quail-sized juveniles to adults, were picked-up by several members of the club and taken to the home of Mr. Alfred Cuming in Watkinsville, GA (A. Cuming, S. Colomb, and B. Shamblin, University of Georgia, Athens, GA, pers. comm.). Most of these birds were then distributed to GGBBA members in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, and Virginia, as well as to a few members of the Carolina Virginia Pheasant and Waterfowl Society (CVPWS) (Hawkins 2001; A. Cuming and W. Hawkins [now deceased], pers. comm.). Most of these junglefowl died from stress and disease shortly thereafter (A. Cuming and S. Colomb, pers. comm.). In 1999, Mr. Wayne Hawkins of the CVPWS established a studbook for the population, and a few people also listed their holdings with the International Species Information System (ISIS; Association of Zoos and Aquariums). Unfortunately, the studbook quickly became outdated and inaccessible following Hawkins’s passing in 2004. The current population of JFW birds originated from holdings of a few successful aviculturalists, most notably Mr. Elton Housley, Mr. Johnny Wise, Mr. Keith Burnam, Mr. Leggette Johnson, Mr. Al Cuming, Mr. Wayne Hawkins and the continued efforts of Richardson himself. Currently, the largest flock (averaging 15–20 pairs) Southeastern Naturalist T. Condon, I.L. Brisbin Jr., and C.R. Chandler 2019 Vol. 18, No. 1 48 is being maintained by Mr. Don Shadow, a private aviculturalist in Winchester, TN. There are a number of smaller flocks scatted throughout the country (e.g., Mr. Charles Hill of Commerce, GA, and Mr. Mac McClenahan of Yemassee, SC), but these lines can be difficult to track. Small numbers of birds were also transferred to the Department of Animal and Poultry Sciences at Virginia Tech (Sutherland et al. 2018) and the Poultry Science Department at Texas A&M (Athrey et al. 2018). The total population of JFW Junglefowl today is probably 100–200 birds. Because of their well-documented origins, the JFW descendants of FGIP Junglefowl are considered the genetically purest captive populations of this species (Brisbin and Peterson 2007, Peterson and Brisbin 1998). Furthermore, they are well known for their distinctive behavior—they are “skittish” and do not tame readily (Brisbin 1969, Brisbin and Peterson 2007)—and they have distinctive growth patterns relative to domestic strains (Sutherland et al. 2018). A genetic analysis by Athrey et al. (2018) provided evidence that JFW birds are indeed unmixed with domestic varieties. Given these facts, the JFW population is of fundamental research significance for the conservation of Junglefowl and for the study of the morphological and genetic changes associated with the domestication of the Chicken. The existence of JFW Junglefowl that are unmixed with domestic Chickens provides the opportunity to document morphological changes associated with the introgression of genes from domestic Chickens into the Junglefowl genome (Peterson and Brisbin 1998), leading to experimental manipulations (Brisbin and Peterson 2007, Condon 2012). JFW Junglefowl have been used to study changes in growth patterns associated with domestication (Sutherland et al. 2018). JFW birds are the ideal resource for this sort of comparative study because of their unbroken chain-of-custody from wild Junglefowl populations. Currently, many comparative and genetic studies use Jungefowl derived from zoo populations (e.g., Campler et al. 2009, Karlsson et al. 2016), and these populations almost certainly have a history of hybridization with domestic Chickens (Schütz and Jensen 2001). JFW Junglefowl should be a key resource in continuing efforts to understand the domestication of Chickens (Lawler 2012, 2014a). However, the maintenance of JFW birds as small captive flocks for many years has resulted in relatively low genetic variation and low effective population sizes (Athrey et al. 2018). Given the obvious research value of this genetically pure population, we urge a more coordinated effort in maintaining the existing populations. Creating a studbook or listing JFW Junglefowl with the International Species Information System (as was done in the early 2000s) would be a good start. The Fitzgerald population Although wild Junglefowl presumed to originate from FGIP stock disappeared from the vicinity of the Bowen’s Mill Hatchery, GA, by the early 1980s (Hopkins 1979), a large population of free-ranging Chickens can still be found living in the urban and suburban areas of nearby Fitzgerald, Ben Hill County, GA (Lawler 2014b). Based on surveys conducted in March and April of 2010, we conservatively estimated the Fitzgerald population to be >900 birds in the 4-km2 downtown Southeastern Naturalist 49 T. Condon, I.L. Brisbin Jr., and C.R. Chandler 2019 Vol. 18, No. 1 area alone (T. Condon, unpubl. data). Given the proximity of a genetically pure wild population until the early 1980s and the fact that some local citizens received eggs from the nearby hatchery and conducted their own releases (Hopkins 1979), Fitzgerald birds might be carrying at least some genes from the original FGIP Junglefowl (Lawler 2014b). If so, the free-ranging birds of Fitzgerald may be an analog of the genetic introgression that is threatening pure Junglefowl in their native range (Peterson and Brisbin 1998). This scenario is speculative but plausible. Thus, there is a need to assess whether hybridization with FGIP Junglefowl is detectable in the genome of the free-ranging Fitzgerald Chickens. Given the distinctive behavior and physiology of JFW descendants of FGIP birds (Brisbin 1969, Sutherland et al. 2018), are these traits detectable in Fitzgerald birds? If there has been significant hybridization with wild FGIP Junglefowl, study of this population might be relevant to understanding the behavior and ecology of introgressed Junglefowl populations in their native range. Conclusions The introduction of Junglefowl into the southeastern United States was notable for its planning, scope (8 states), and scale (almost 10,000 birds). We have shown that the records of the FGIP provide insight into the factors that likely contributed to the failure of such a large-scale effort. In fact, by the 1960s these records were pointing to problems (such as release method and dispersal) that would only become well-documented in the 1980s and 1990s with the growing interest in introductions and translocations. We have also shown that the JFW descendants of the FGIP Junglefowl have an important research legacy. Their apparent lack of hybridization with domestic Chickens makes them an invaluable resource for conservation and comparative genetic studies of domestication. The descendants of introductions that failed ~50 years ago may yet have value for researchers studying this unique species of bird that has become of such great importance to human civilization. Acknowledgments We thank the many aviculturists who have maintained the descendants of the FGIP Red Junglefowl over the past 50 years. 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