Chemical and Physical Restraint of Wild Animals:

A Training and Field Manual for African Species

ISBN 978-062052162-8
[Contents: Download PDF]

Chapter 1

Legal and ethical considerations in the use of immobilizing drugs, using Zimbabwe and South Africa as examples.

This chapter deals with the legal and legislative aspects of the use of drugs in the wildlife industry, especially those classified as Schedule 6 & 7. Both Zimbabwe and South Africa are used as examples. In Zimbabwe, the regulatory agency for all pharmaceuticals is the Medicines Control Authority of Zimbabwe (MCAZ) and is part of the Ministry of Health. The South African equivalent is the Medicines Control Council (MCC), which falls under the Department of Health and administers the Medicines and Related Substances Act 101 of 1965, it has a law enforcement arm that deals with the use of S6 & 7 drugs. The final pages of this chapter deal with ethical considerations with regards to the use of immobilizing agents for wildlife management.

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Chapter 2

Basic Physiology

There is a saying that the physiology of today leads to the medicine of tomorrow. Physiology provides the basis for understanding how the body works, be it the nervous, cardiovascular or respiratory system. This chapter introduces these various systems and explains what they are and how they work, and what happens when things go awry, for example, the transport of oxygen in the blood or the importance of respiratory physiology when immobilizing wildlife.

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Chapter 3

Basic Pharmacology

Capturing wild animals using powerful drugs is a challenge! Knowledge of how drugs work in the body and what the body does to these drugs is an essential component of the process. This chapter deals with these issues, examines drug dosages and calculations with examples.

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Chapter 4

Applied Pharmacology

Basic knowledge on pharmacokinetics and dynamics needs to be applied and this chapter does just that, practical application of basic pharmacology. Through attributes of the ideal immobilizing drug to specific drugs and their effects to safety, this chapter forms the basis for much of what follows in this Manual.

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Chapter 5

Stress and Capture Related Death

There is always an inherent risk when immobilizing or physically capturing a wild animal. This chapter outlines pathological aspects and the type of complications that may develop be they fractures or development of myopathy. Stress is always a big factor and knowledge on how stress develops, operates and can be reduced is vital part of the learning process, this chapter provides the basics.

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Chapter 6

Safety and First Aid in the Field – Weapons, Drugs and Animals

There is an inherent risk with wild animal capture, to the animal as well as to the person. Knowledge on safety and how to deal with accidents is an important part of the toolbox. This chapter deals with safety and first aid – with firearms, drugs, their effects and emergency treatment and animal safety.

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Chapter 7

Principles of Chemical and Physical Restraint of Wild Animals

Knowledge of and adherence to basic principles governing the chemical and physical restraint of wildlife is essential. From planning a capture operation to how an animal responds to an immobilizing drug (induction) through to reflecting on an operation and planning to do better next time, this chapter consolidates information presented previously in the manual and looks forward.

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Chapter 8

Helicopter and Fixed Wing Use in Wildlife Work

Helicopters and fixed wing aircraft are an essential part of a planned capture operation, be it through physical means using a capture boma or by delivering a drug in a dart to an animal with a dart gun or projector. This chapter deals with the different helicopters that can be used in wildlife work, with advantages and disadvantages, and examines some of the finer points of these flying machines in a dangerous environment with safety paramount.

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Chapter 9

Chemical Immobilization – Individual Species Requirements

Chapters 1-8 provide the basics in the learning process, drugs used, effects, stress, principles, flying machines, so on and so forth. Chapter 9 represents “walking the talk”, the actual “doing” – the species, their biology and peculiarities, recommended drugs, key issues and examples, tricks and the nitty-gritty of using drugs to catch wild animals, no matter how big or dangerous they are. Essential reading!

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Chapter 10

Drug Injecting Equipment

The basis for injecting a drug into an animal depends on knowledge about syringes and needles. Syringes and needles provide the ability to transfer drugs into dart syringes and treat animals with therapeutic drugs. This chapter describes how to use a syringe and needle to extract drugs and transfer them to a dart syringe. Technique can only mastered in a practical situation and through experience.

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Chapter 11

Ballistics and Projectile Darting Systems

Loading a dart with drugs is only the beginning, the dart needs to be delivered to the animal often under varying and challenging circumstances. One needs to address issues about dart size, needle type and size, tailpieces and the science of dart impact (KE= ½MxV2). High impact can result in tissue damage and even broken bones. Chapter 11 deals specifically with these issues and introduces different manufacturers of darts, their designs and how to work with and load them with drugs – very practical and important chapter.

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Chapter 12

Dart Projectors

Darts are delivered to an animal by a dart gun or projector. The power system is either a powder charge or gas (air or CO2). There is as much an art as there is a science to this. The trajectory is never flat like a high-powered rifle bullet and can be affected by wind, distance etc. Chapter 12 discusses several dart gun types and gives details on each make, operating instructions, advantages and disadvantages, suitable sights (v shape, telescope and red dot) and contact details. All of this is important but practice makes perfect!

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Chapter 13

Other Restraint Tools

When planning a capture operation, an open mind must be kept. Catching a wild animal using drugs may not be the preferred method. Chapter 13 explores alternative methods of capture using physical restraint. The net gun, linear nets, traps, use of slings, hobbles, tape, ropes etc. and elaborated on in more detail in Chapter 15

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Chapter 14

Ancillary Treatments in Wildlife Capture and Care

Despite good planning, capture operations can result in a number of clinical challenges at capture or soon thereafter. Chapter 14 describes the most common clinical/medical conditions that can occur and how to treat these.

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Chapter 15

Overview of Capture Methods and Transport of Wild Animals

The translocation of wild animals involves several stages -capture, loading and transport, and settling them in at their final destination. This chapter provides an overview on factors affecting the success of capture, discusses physical methods of capture, and provides guidelines for loading and transportation.

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Chapter 16

Post-Capture Boma Management

A capture operation must not be judged as successful once animals are loaded into a crate. Success depends on good initial planning, the use of the most appropriate capture method, through to release into the veld or a boma. Management of wild animal in a boma provides a big challenge, with species, specific requirements. Stress is always a major factor in terms of the ultimate success of an operation. The humane treatment and care of animals, and the safety of personnel working with these animals are paramount.

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Chapter 17

Necropsy Techniques

Morbidity and mortalities associated with the capture of wild animals need to be investigated in order to determine the cause of, for example, a broken leg or sudden death, and whether an underlying disease is to blame. A necropsy is an essential part of the toolkit that allows the development of safe capture methods and good wildlife management – health does matter. Chapter 17 describes basic necropsy techniques that can be applied in the field, what to look for, samples to take, labeling, transporting, etc.

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Chapter 18

Notes on Developing an Immobilizing Kit for the Field and inclusion of Data Sheets

Chapter 18 provides some guidelines on what is needed in your capture toolbox, syringes, needles, essential drugs etc., and examples of capture data sheets.

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Appendix 1:

Important Contacts – Addresses, E Mail and Websites

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Appendix 2

Malilangwe Course

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