Wildlife research, observation and handling

Important tips for wildlife researchers

Undue stress or injury

Researchers conducting field studies should anticipate and be prepared to deal with the range of conditions that may cause undue stress or injury to an animal. This may require terminating field studies, either temporarily or permanently, because of mounting concern for animal or human safety.

Every effort must be made to minimize distress and ensure the post-handling survival of the animals by selecting the most appropriate method(s) of capture, handling, and release.

Procedures with negative effects

Procedures likely to have lasting negative effects on an individual or population, or to affect the existence of a population, should not be undertaken, except under extraordinary circumstances. When such impacts are likely, the investigator must demonstrate, through the concurrence of recognized experts, that the procedure is necessary.

Handling

Animals should not be handled at times when they may be more sensitive to distress, for example, during late pregnancy.

Manipulation

Field research involving manipulation of wildlife for experimental studies requires that investigators use the fewest animals and the least invasive practical procedures required to achieve the study objectives. In many cases, the "fewest animals" is the minimum number of animals that an a posteriori statistical power analysis indicates is necessary to meet the research objectives.

Observation

Observational activities should minimize disturbance that can lead to abandonment of home ranges, pre-emption of feeding, disruption of social structures, or alteration of predator-prey relationships.

Drugs

Use of drugs for the immobilization of wildlife should be done in compliance with the the Standard Operating Procedures for the Capture and Handling of Wildlife in the NWT.