Welfare and Clinical Assessment on Physical Captures Followed by Anesthesia in Apennine Chamois (Rupicapra pyrenaica ornata)

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Year of Publication:
Simone Angelucci, Antonio Antonucci, Fabrizia Di Tana, Marco Innocenti, Giovanna Di Domenico, Luca Madonna, Camilla Smoglica, Cristina Esmeralda Di Francesco, Jorge Ramón López-Olvera
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The Apennine chamois (Rupicapra pyrenaica ornata) is one of the rarest subspecies in Italy, listed in Annexes II and IV of the Habitats Directive and currently included as a vulnerable subspecies in the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List. The Maiella National Park population has recently been defined as a source population for reintroduction into other parks. Since collective captures allow for better selection of target animals for the establishment of new colonies, the aim of this study is to evaluate the physiological conditions and animal welfare in free-ranging Apennine chamois after collective physical capture followed by chemical immobilization with medetomidine 0.054 mg ± 0.007, ketamine 2.14 mg ± 0.28, and acepromazine 0.043 mg ± 0.006. Twenty-one Apennine chamois (18 females and 3 males) were captured and translocated for conservation purposes. The effects of capture and anesthesia were evaluated using clinical variables, hematology, serum biochemistry, and venous blood gas analysis, the latter being used in the field for the first time in chamois capture. A risk of metabolic acidosis and capture myopathy was identified, although it did not compromise the survival of 19 chamois, which adapted to novel environments and founded new colonies, as verified through GPS radiocollars. The protocol applied in this study represents an innovative approach to assessing animal physiology and welfare in collective mountain ungulate captures, useful for improving management activities for conservation purposes.


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