“We hope this study will increase awareness among researchers and help raise the bar on how we use wild animals in research,” said Marc Cattet, a research associate and adjunct professor with the Western College of Veterinary Medicine.
The retrospective study led by Cattet compiled data from two independent research projects to assess the long-term effects of capture and handling of bears in two geographically distinct areas—grizzly bears in Western Alberta and American black bears in the Pisgah Bear Sanctuary of North Carolina.
“While wildlife researchers have made some great strides in addressing animal welfare concerns by using minimally obtrusive capture and handling techniques, we found that some commonly used procedures still have potential to cause injury, change normal behavior, or more generally affect health in a negative manner,” said Cattet.
The study of a total of 340 black and grizzly bears found that blood analysis results from six of every 10 captured bears showed abnormally high values for muscle enzymes, indicating muscle injury which could be caused by the stress and extreme exertion of bears struggling to escape capture.
Injury was particularly evident in bears captured by leghold snare, a technique widely regarded as an acceptable method of capture for bears and other large carnivores. Enyzmes were also high in one in five grizzly bears darted from helicopter and in one in five grizzly or black bears captured by culvert trap.
The team also found that regardless of the capture method used, bears moved less through their territory after capture, with effects lasting three to six weeks on average after capture.
“This finding warrants more detailed investigation of specific and cumulative effects of other stressors that bears may be exposed to during and after capture, for example, sample collection, marking, and carrying radiotransmitters,” Cattet said.
The team also found that bears captured multiple times tended to lose body fat or gain fat at less than normal rates. “This finding is particularly important because as body condition fades, so too does an animal’s potential for growth, reproduction, and survival,” he said.
Cattet says these findings likely also apply to other wild animals commonly studied through capture and release.
“Not only do researchers have a role to play, but so do government wildlife agencies and funding agencies in supporting research to improve capture procedures and validate alternative techniques to capture,” he said.
Also, government wildlife agencies and groups such as the Canadian Council on Animal Care will need to consider revising guidelines and standard operating procedures followed by animal care committees in granting approvals for field research procedures, he said.
Other members of the research team included B.C. statistician John Boulanger, Foothills Research Institute project manager Gordon Stenhouse, North Carolina State University zoologist Roger Powell, and Powell’s former graduate student Melissa Reynolds-Hogland.For more information, contact:
Kathryn Warden | Newswise Science News
Amputees can learn to control a robotic arm with their minds
28.11.2017 | University of Chicago Medical Center
The importance of biodiversity in forests could increase due to climate change
17.11.2017 | Deutsches Zentrum für integrative Biodiversitätsforschung (iDiv) Halle-Jena-Leipzig
MPQ scientists achieve long storage times for photonic quantum bits which break the lower bound for direct teleportation in a global quantum network.
Concerning the development of quantum memories for the realization of global quantum networks, scientists of the Quantum Dynamics Division led by Professor...
Researchers have developed a water cloaking concept based on electromagnetic forces that could eliminate an object's wake, greatly reducing its drag while...
Tiny pores at a cell's entryway act as miniature bouncers, letting in some electrically charged atoms--ions--but blocking others. Operating as exquisitely sensitive filters, these "ion channels" play a critical role in biological functions such as muscle contraction and the firing of brain cells.
To rapidly transport the right ions through the cell membrane, the tiny channels rely on a complex interplay between the ions and surrounding molecules,...
The miniaturization of the current technology of storage media is hindered by fundamental limits of quantum mechanics. A new approach consists in using so-called spin-crossover molecules as the smallest possible storage unit. Similar to normal hard drives, these special molecules can save information via their magnetic state. A research team from Kiel University has now managed to successfully place a new class of spin-crossover molecules onto a surface and to improve the molecule’s storage capacity. The storage density of conventional hard drives could therefore theoretically be increased by more than one hundred fold. The study has been published in the scientific journal Nano Letters.
Over the past few years, the building blocks of storage media have gotten ever smaller. But further miniaturization of the current technology is hindered by...
With innovative experiments, researchers at the Helmholtz-Zentrums Geesthacht and the Technical University Hamburg unravel why tiny metallic structures are extremely strong
Light-weight and simultaneously strong – porous metallic nanomaterials promise interesting applications as, for instance, for future aeroplanes with enhanced...
11.12.2017 | Event News
08.12.2017 | Event News
07.12.2017 | Event News
14.12.2017 | Health and Medicine
14.12.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
14.12.2017 | Life Sciences