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Assessing acute effects of trapping, handling, and tagging on the behavior of wildlife using GPS telemetry: a case study of the common brushtail possum

By T. E. Dennis, S. F. Shah

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Abstract

Trapping, handling, and deployment of tracking devices (tagging) are essential aspects of many research and conservation studies of wildlife. However, often these activities place nonhuman animals under considerable physical or psychological distress, which disrupts normal patterns of behavior and may ultimately result in deleterious effects on animal welfare and the validity of research results. Thus, knowledge of how trapping, handling, and tagging alter the behavior of research animals is essential if measures to ameliorate stress-related effects are to be developed and implemented. This article describes how time-stamped location data obtained by global-positioning-system telemetry can be used to retrospectively characterize acute behavioral responses to trapping, handling, and tagging in free-ranging animals used for research. Methods are demonstrated in a case study of the common brushtail possum, a semiarboreal phalangerid marsupial native to Australia. The study discusses possible physiological causes of observed effects and offers general suggestions regarding simple means to reduce trapping-handling-and-tagging-related stress in field studies of vertebrates.

Publication Title Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science
Volume 15
Issue 3
Pages 189-207
ISBN/ISSN 1088-8705
Publisher Taylor & Francis
DOI 10.1080/10888705.2012.683755
Language English
Author Address School of Biological Sciences, University of Auckland, Private Bag 92019, Auckland 1142, New Zealand.t.dennis@auckland.ac.nz
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Tags
  1. Animal diseases
  2. Animal rights
  3. Animals
  4. Animal welfare
  5. APEC countries
  6. Australasia
  7. Australia
  8. Biological resources
  9. Case Report
  10. Cleaning
  11. Commonwealth of Nations
  12. Conservation
  13. Developed countries
  14. Effect
  15. Handling
  16. Mammals
  17. Marsupials
  18. Methodologies
  19. Methods
  20. Oceania
  21. OECD countries
  22. peer-reviewed
  23. radiotelemetry
  24. Research
  25. Stress
  26. Studies
  27. Techniques
  28. telemetry
  29. trapping
  30. vertebrates
  31. Wild animals
  32. wildlife
Badges
  1. peer-reviewed