Special Issue "Mammal Trapping, Wildlife Conservation, and Animal Welfare"

A special issue of Animals (ISSN 2076-2615). This special issue belongs to the section "Wildlife".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 November 2020) | Viewed by 4657

Special Issue Editor

Dr. Gilbert Proulx
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Alpha Wildlife Research & Management Ltd., 229 Lilac Terrace, Sherwood Park, AB T8H 1W3, Canada
Interests: wildlife ecology and management; mammalogy; ungulates; rodents; carnivores; forest and agriculture ecosystems; human–wildlife conflict; habitat; economic importance; education on wildlife

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Mammal trapping is an important aspect of wildlife research and management. During the last few decades, extensive research and development programs on the humaneness of killing and restraining trapping devices and the pertinence of trapping in conservation programs have been carried out in different regions of the world. Many wildlife agencies, biologists, and trade groups claim that today’s trapping devices are humane, capture-efficient, and selective. They also state that furbearer trapping is necessary to address human–wildlife conflicts and maintain a vibrant fur industry, which does not endanger the future of species. However, in recent years, new scientific research and reviews question the adequacy of current humane trapping standards, the selectivity of traps, the impact of trapping on biodiversity, the sustainability of wildlife communities, and the use of trapping to resolve recurring human–wildlife conflicts. Nonetheless, mammal trapping may impact, directly and indirectly, on animal welfare and wildlife conservation programs.

Original manuscripts that address any of the issues associated with mammal trapping in research, fur management, pest control, and wildlife conservation are invited for this Special Issue, particularly those that: (1) assess international standards relative to the humaneness, capture-efficiency, and selectivity of killing and restraining traps and snares; (2) assess the impacts of trapping on the welfare of individuals and the sustainability of wildlife communities, including species at risk; or (3) identify and/or quantify welfare impacts that have not previously been recognized.

Dr. Gilbert Proulx
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

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Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Animals is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1800 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • animal welfare
  • humaneness
  • capture efficiency
  • selectivity
  • standards
  • conservation impacts
  • human–wildlife conflicts
  • wildlife management programs
  • wildlife conservation models.

Published Papers (3 papers)

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Research

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Article
Baiting/Luring Improves Detection Probability and Species Identification—A Case Study of Mustelids with Camera Traps
Animals 2020, 10(11), 2178; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10112178 - 22 Nov 2020
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 986
Abstract
Motion-triggered trail cameras (hereafter camera traps) are powerful tools which are increasingly used in biological research, especially for species inventories or the estimation of species activity. However, camera traps do not always reliably detect animal visits, as a target species might be too [...] Read more.
Motion-triggered trail cameras (hereafter camera traps) are powerful tools which are increasingly used in biological research, especially for species inventories or the estimation of species activity. However, camera traps do not always reliably detect animal visits, as a target species might be too fast, too small, or too far away to trigger an image. Therefore, researchers often apply attractants, such as food or glandular scents, to increase the likelihood of capturing animals. Moreover, with attractants, individuals might remain in front of a camera trap for longer periods leading to a higher number of images and enhanced image quality, which in turn might aid in species identification. The current study compared how two commonly used attractants, bait (tuna) and glandular scent (mustelid mix), affected the detection and the number of images taken by camera traps compared to control camera sites with conventional camera traps. We used a before–after control group design, including a baseline. Attractants increased the probability of detecting the target species and number of images. Tuna experiments produced on average 7.25 times as many images per visit than control camera traps, and scent lures produced on average 18.7 times as many images per visit than the control traps. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mammal Trapping, Wildlife Conservation, and Animal Welfare)
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Article
The Efficiency of Live-Capture Traps for the Study of Red Fox (Vulpes vulpes) Cubs: A Three-Year Study in Poland
Animals 2020, 10(3), 374; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10030374 - 26 Feb 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1039
Abstract
Safe and efficient techniques for the live capture of carnivores are limited. In this study, we identified some of the factors that could affect the success of capturing red fox cubs with live capture traps (also known as cage traps). During a three-year [...] Read more.
Safe and efficient techniques for the live capture of carnivores are limited. In this study, we identified some of the factors that could affect the success of capturing red fox cubs with live capture traps (also known as cage traps). During a three-year period, we analysed 32 captures of 25 fox cubs (1.3 captures/fox). We assessed the impact of the following factors: sex of animals, month of trapping, weather conditions recorded for each trap-night, the willingness of cubs to explore and enter cage traps, the researchers’ activity around den complexes before trapping and distances to the nearest village or farm. The overall trap rate (32 captures, including recaptured cubs) and the trap rate for individual cubs (25 captures) was 11.2 cubs/100 trap-nights and 8.7/100 trap-nights, respectively. Animals other than foxes were captured only three times, thus the selectivity of the cage-trapping method was high (32/35 = 91.4%). The probability of capturing one cub per night was 70.2% (32 cubs/47 nights). Cubs inhabiting dens in the vicinity of human settlements were less likely to explore and enter traps. Vixens were more likely to relocate their litters if the activity of the staff setting the traps was intense at the trapping site. The success of trapping was higher during poor weather as, for example, during rain or thunderstorms. None of the trapped animals suffered any injuries. Whereas cage trapping can be an effective and safe capture method for juvenile foxes, capture efficiency is affected by the experience of the trappers and a range of other factors including weather and distance to human settlements. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mammal Trapping, Wildlife Conservation, and Animal Welfare)
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Review

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Review
Updating the AIHTS Trapping Standards to Improve Animal Welfare and Capture Efficiency and Selectivity
Animals 2020, 10(8), 1262; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10081262 - 24 Jul 2020
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 2155
Abstract
In 1999, after pressure from the European Union, an Agreement on International Humane Trapping Standards (AIHTS) that would result in the banning of the steel-jawed leghold traps in the European Community, Canada, and Russia was signed. The United States implemented these standards through [...] Read more.
In 1999, after pressure from the European Union, an Agreement on International Humane Trapping Standards (AIHTS) that would result in the banning of the steel-jawed leghold traps in the European Community, Canada, and Russia was signed. The United States implemented these standards through an Agreed Minute with the European Community. Over the last two decades, scientists have criticized the AIHTS for (1) omitting species that are commonly trapped; (2) threshold levels of trap acceptance that are not representative of state-of-the-art trap technology; (3) excluding popular traps which are commonly used by trappers although they are known to cause prolonged pain and stress to captured animals; (4) inadequate coverage of capture efficiency and species selectivity (i.e., number of captures of target and non-target species) performance. Concerns about the ability of standards and test procedures to ensure animal welfare, and about the implementation of standards, have also been voiced by wildlife biologists, managers, and conservation groups. In this review, we present a synopsis of current trapping standards and test procedures, and we compare the standards to a then contemporary 1985–1993 Canadian trap research and development program. On the basis of the above-noted concerns about AIHTS, and our experience as wildlife professionals involved in the capture of mammals, we formulated the following hypotheses: (1) the list of mammal species included in the AIHTS is incomplete; (2) the AIHTS have relatively low animal welfare performance thresholds of killing trap acceptance and do not reflect state-of-the-art trapping technology; (3) the AIHTS animal welfare indicators and injuries for restraining traps are insufficient; (4) the AIHTS testing procedures are neither thorough nor transparent; (5) the AIHTS protocols for the use of certified traps are inadequate; (6) the AIHTS procedures for the handling and dispatching of animals are nonexistent; (7) the AIHTS criteria to assess trap capture efficiency and species selectivity are inappropriate. We conclude that the AIHTS do not reflect state-of-the-art trapping technology, and assessment protocols need to be updated to include trap components and sets, animal handling and dispatching, and trap visit intervals. The list of traps and species included in the standards should be updated. Finally, the concepts of capture efficiency and trap selectivity should be developed and included in the standards. Based on our review, it is clear that mammal trapping standards need to be revisited to implement state-of-the-art trapping technology and improve capture efficiency and species selectivity. We believe that a committee of international professionals consisting of wildlife biologists and veterinarians with extensive experience in the capture of mammals and animal welfare could produce new standards within 1–2 years. We propose a series of measures to fund trap testing and implement new standards. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mammal Trapping, Wildlife Conservation, and Animal Welfare)
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