Assessing methods to live-capture wild boars ( Sus scrofa ) in urban and peri-urban environments

Irene Torres-Blas, Gregorio Mentaberre, Raquel Castillo-Contreras, Xavier Fernández-Aguilar, Carles Conejero, Marta Valldeperes, Carlos González-Crespo, Andreu Colom-Cadena, Santiago Lavín, Jorge Ramón López-Olvera
Veterinary Record 2020 August 21

BACKGROUND: Wild boar ( Sus scrofa ) populations are increasing worldwide and invading urban areas. Live-capture can improve the management of this challenge, maximising efficiency, allowing scientific studies and potentially improving animal welfare. This study assesses teleanaesthesia, drop-net, corral trap and cage trap to live-capture wild boar in urban and peri-urban areas, evaluating efficiency and animal stress through haematology and serum biochemistry.

METHODS: From 2012 to 2018, 655 wild boars were captured in 279 operations (drop-net=17, teleanaesthesia=186, cage trap=66 and corral trap=10) in the urban and peri-urban areas of Barcelona (Spain). Haematological and serum biochemical variables were determined in 145 wild boars (42 drop-netted, 41 teleanaesthetised, 38 cage-trapped and 24 corral-trapped).

RESULTS: Performance (wild boars captured per operation) was highest for drop-net, followed by corral and cage traps, and finally teleanaesthesia. The three physical capture methods were more stressful than teleanaesthesia, causing a more intense physiological reaction, muscular damage, renal function impairment and homeostasis adaption. Stress response was predominantly adrenergic for drop-net and cortisol-induced for cage and corral traps.

CONCLUSION: Teleanaesthesia is the choice in reactive urban situations thanks to its adaptability; drop-net effectively targets wild boars in peri-urban environments; cage and corral traps are useful as long-term methods in specific areas.

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