Comparative evaluation of effort, capture and handling effects of drive nets to capture roe deer (Capreolus capreolus), Southern chamois (Rupicapra pyrenaica) and Spanish ibex (Capra pyrenaica)

Abstract

The objective of this study is to assess the usefulness of drive nets to capture roe deer (Capreolus capreolus), Southern chamois (Rupicapra pyrenaica) and Spanish ibex (Capra pyrenaica), comparing the results obtained with other capture methods and amongst the three species. Sixty-five drive net capture operations using beaters were conducted from January 1998 to September 2004. A total of 161 wild ungulates (31 roe deer, 95 Southern chamois and 35 Spanish ibexes) were captured. The average number of animals captured per operation was 1.07 for roe deer, 3.96 for Southern chamois and 2.92 for Spanish ibex. The average number of person–days per captured animal was 21.5, 7.1 and 10.6 for roe deer, Southern chamois and Spanish ibex, respectively. Specificity was 100% for Southern chamois and Spanish ibex (only the target species captured) and 77.5% for roe deer. Risk for the animals (mortality plus injuries) was 3.23% for roe deer, 5.27% for Southern chamois and 0% for Spanish ibex, whereas injuries to the operators occurred with 3.1% of the handled animals. Sex ratio was skewed towards females in roe deer, towards males in Southern chamois and balanced in Southern chamois. Drive nets showed good performance, although many operators were required. Safety for the animals and specificity were higher than traditionally attributed to this capture method. It is concluded that drive nets are an efficient and safe method to capture many ungulate species.

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Acknowledgements

The authors wish to greatly thank the rangers and staff of the National Game Reserves of Alt Pallars-Aran, Cadí, Cerdanya-Alt Urgell, Freser-Setcases and Ports de Tortosa i Beseït for their invaluable collaboration in the capture of the animals, as well as the volunteers participating in the captures. We are also grateful to Professor P.G. Meneguz for support in literature search and to Professor Meneguz and Fabio for organizing the roe deer capture operations in Italy. This work is part of the research projects ‘Capture and handling stress in roe deer’ (AGF97-0493), ‘Assessment of capture and handling stress in Southern chamois (Rupicapra pyrenaica)’ (AGF99-0763-C02), and ‘Assessment of capture and post-capture handling stress in Spanish ibex (Capra pyrenaica)’ (REN 2001-1989/GLO), all of them financed by the Spanish ‘Comisión Interministerial de Ciencia y Tecnología’ (CICYT). One of the authors had a grant from the ‘Direcció General de Recerca’ (DGR) of the Catalan government, and another one had a FPI grant of the Universidad Autónoma de Barcelona. All the projects and procedures included in this study were approved by the Autonomous University of Barcelona’s Animal Welfare Committee and comply with national laws. The English of the manuscript has been read and corrected by a native English-speaking instructor of the Autonomous University of Barcelona.

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Correspondence to Jorge R. López-Olvera.

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López-Olvera, J.R., Marco, I., Montané, J. et al. Comparative evaluation of effort, capture and handling effects of drive nets to capture roe deer (Capreolus capreolus), Southern chamois (Rupicapra pyrenaica) and Spanish ibex (Capra pyrenaica). Eur J Wildl Res 55, 193–202 (2009). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10344-008-0232-5

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Keywords

  • Wild ungulates
  • Mortality
  • Lesions
  • Performance
  • Sex ratio