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New Developments in Humane Traps and Trapping Methods


Forestry Department, Alberta Research Council, P.O. Box 8330,
Postal Station F, Edmonton, AB T6H 5X2, Canada

Trapping is a wildlife management tool that can be used to control predators on waterfowl breeding grounds. However, a growing number of people disapprove of such an activity because they believe that actual trapping devices, particularly the steel leghold trap, are "cruel and inhumane." On the other hand, recent research programs produced "humane" traps that either quickly render animals unconscious and insensitive to pain or live-capture them with minimal trauma. The rotating- jaw C120 Magnum trap is an example of a "humane" killing trap that can render marten (Martes americana) and mink (Mustela vison) irreversibly unconscious within 3 minutes. This capture-efficient trap is a major improvement over the traditional Conibear 120 trap and is now manufactured. Other "humane" killing systems were also developed for marten and mink, and for fisher (Martes pennanti) and arctic fox (Alopex lagopus). However, for some species, killing traps appear to have limited application. Research work carried out at the Alberta Research Council recently showed that the foothold EGG trap was a "humane" device that could hold raccoon (Procyon lotor) for long periods of time without any serious injury. Other studies showed that padded leghold traps could substantially reduce limb injuries to canids and felids. With the development of "humane" killing and live-holding traps, trigger systems and trap sets were also improved to make trapping more selective. It is essential for the future of trapping that these "humane" traps be, immediately incorporated into wildlife management programs. Trap research programs must be maintained to develop more "humane," alternatives and rigorous trapping standards must be adopted to ensure that animals will be captured in the best possible manner.
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