Wildlife Capture, Holding & Translocation
Elephants will be darted from a helicopter whenever possible. Be aware that darting on foot or from a vehicle is potentially more dangerous, especially if working with family groups, as it affords less control over darted animals during the induction phase. Dart the animals in the large muscle groups of the hindquarters, back or shoulders. Avoid areas in the region of the ears. Due to the thickness of the skin a dart must be placed at right angles to the body surface to ensure a deep intramuscular injection.Dart the matriarch and other dominant females first when capturing family groups...read more
Black rhino must preferentially be darted from a helicopter as darting on foot can be extremely hazardous as they there are aggressive and unpredictable. This is compounded by the fact that their preferred habitat is dense bush. Vehicle access to immobilized animals may also be limited by the habitat.
Signs of induction include a slowing of pace, elevation of the head and a high-stepping action. At this point the animal cannot be turned and it will start running into obstacles, and can fall into gullies or over cliffs. The animal usually stops when it runs into an obstacle...read more
Buffalo can be darted from a vehicle. The use of a helicopter is essential when darting a group of animals out of a herd. A group of 20 to 25 animals is separated out from the herd using the helicopter. This group is guided to an open site and then herded in a circular direction using the helicopter. As the group is circling suitable animals are selected from the outer edge of the group and darted. Once 12 to 15 animals have been darted they are kept bunched together by the circling helicopter until the drugs take effect and they become recumbent...read more
Giraffe can be darted from a vehicle but can be difficult to follow, especially over rough terrain, as they can run a considerable distance during the induction phase. The use of a helicopter as a darting platform is preferred. Do not dart giraffe that have just drunk as they tend to regurgitate once immobilized. Avoid the heat of the day and excessive chasing of animals. Dart sites include the shoulders and hind-quarters. The more traditional method of capturing giraffe uses a combination of immobilization with etorphine and mechanical capture...read more
Proceedure differs for Kgalagadi and Kruger Lions. In Kruger, lure lions to a capture site at night by securing a carcass a tree and playing recorded sounds of lions and hyaenas feeding at a kill. A scent trail, created by dragging the carcass also attracts lions to the capture site. The lions are darted from a vehicle or caravan positioned 20 to 25m away from the carcass. Immobilized animals must be monitored when ataxic as it could happen that when feeding they could fall asleep in the pelvic area of the carcass and suffocate, they are moved to an area away from the carcass, and the necessary samples and data are collected... read more
There are various approaches and techniques. One example is plastic bomas where animals are captured in a large funnel constructed of opaque and/or dark plastic sheeting. The animals are herded into the mouth of the funnel by helicopter (and occasionally aided by vehicles, people and/or motorbikes) and once inside the plastic curtain at the opening is closed behind them. The animals regard the plastic sheeting as a solid wall and will rarely attempt to escape through it. The animals are chased towards the neck of the funnel, through a solid-sided crush and up a loading ramp into a suitable game transport vehicle...read more
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