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Capture and Chemical Anesthesia of Amur (Siberian) Tigers

John M. Goodrich, Linda L. Kerley, Bart O. Schleyer, Dale G. Miquelle, Kathy S. Quigley, Yevgeny N. Smirnov, Igor G. Nikolaev, Howard B. Quigley and Maurice G. Hornocker
Wildlife Society Bulletin (1973-2006)
Vol. 29, No. 2 (Summer, 2001), pp. 533-542
Published by: Wiley on behalf of the Wildlife Society
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3784177
Page Count: 10
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Capture and Chemical Anesthesia of Amur (Siberian) Tigers
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Abstract

In 1992, we began a research program on the ecology of endangered Amur (or Siberian) tigers (Panthera tigris altaica) to develop a database from which conservation plans could be developed. Radiotelemetry was a necessary part of our program because tigers are cryptic, secretive, and difficult to observe; hence, we developed techniques to capture them, equip them with radiocollars, and collect tissue and blood samples. We captured 19 tigers 23 times in 12,287 trap nights during 1992-1998, using Aldrich foot snares. Most (65%, n=23) tigers were caught at mark trees, but snares set at kills were most effective (1 capture/47 trap nights, n=6 captures). The snared foot was swollen in all cases (n=18; data on swelling were not recorded for all captures). We observed no other detectable injuries (e.g., lacerations) in 68% of 22 captures, but in the remaining captures, we observed minor lacerations in 23% of the cases, moderate injuries in 4.5%, and severe injuries in 4.5% (2 fractured metatarsals). To change radiocollars, we recaptured 8 tigers 12 times in 19 attempts from a helicopter (Russian MI-8). Tigers sustained no notable injuries because of capture from helicopter. We anesthetized tigers with a mixture of ketamine hydrochloride (x̄=10.8±3.4 mg/kg, n=33) and xylazine hydrochloride (x̄=0.81±0.24 mg/kg, n=23).

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