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Overview of Capturing and Restraining Wild Animals

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Lecture – 18
Preliminaries
Today we begin a new module capturing and restraining of wild animals. (Refer Slide Time: 00:21)

In this module will be having 7 lectures. The first one deals with preliminaries, which basically introduces us to what capturing and restraining means; what are the different kinds of restraints that we normally used on the animals and what are the general points that we need to keep in mind whenever we are going out to capture or to restrain an animal? The second lecture, would deal with mechanical capture; the mechanical capture is capturing by way of things like noses so you can use rope to capture an animal or you can use a trap or you can use a funnel or you can use a net.
So, will look at one such method pitfall method in greater detail and we were also consider how and which method to use, in which situations? The third lecture would deal with chemical capturing. Now chemical capturing is capturing by the use of drugs. So, basically we could go for a drug that is either inhaled by the animal or is eaten or drunk by the animal or is injected into the animal. So, we will look at different kinds of chemicals that are used, how we use the injectable forms, because those are the most common ways and which we use chemical capturing of animals. How do we use a blow pipe? How do we use a tranquilizing gun?
Now, tranquilizing gun was an old term these days, you also called that is immobilizing guns. So, both these terms are used together and we will also look at different precautions that need to be taken. After that we will deal with capture myopathy, the capture myopathy is a condition because of which we lose a number of animals during our capturing and restraining procedures. So, essentially if you capture in animal and it gets into a lot of stress then it might lead to certain physiological changes in the body which might even lead to the death of the animal.
So, this is one thing that we need to keep in mind that all times, whenever we are handling a wild animal. Next will deal with the care of immobilized animals so, when you have immobilized an animal say, during using chemical capture. How do you take care of that animal, how do you ensure that this animal lives and you are able to resuscitate back into normal conditions. Then we would we will deal in great details about the legal aspects of captured and restraint.
So essentially, in our country wild animals that are normally found in protected areas so, even entering into a protected area is regulated by a number of laws. Even if the animal has moved out of the protected area, it is protected by certain laws, which prohibit normal individuals, normal citizens or people who do not have adequate veterinary training to handle these animals.
So, we will deal with these aspects and several others in the lecture on legal aspects of capture and restraint, and then in the final topic we will have other topics in capture and restraint and that will deal with things like human safety. So, if you are going out to perform a capture and restraint and operation; there could be medical emergency. So, for instance, if you have a dart that is field within immobilizing chemical and if you prick it into your skin. So, now, these darts have a very high concentration of the drugs, even if you prick your skin or even if that drug falls on to your skin and gets absorbed that might have consequences. So, how do we deal with these situations? What are the kinds of precautions that we need to take? And other such aspects will be delft with in the final lecture. So, let us now begin with preliminaries.
(Refer Slide Time: 04:07)

So, we will begin with what is a restraint? Now restraint is a procedure involving capture and some degree of handling. So essentially, when we say that there is a fisherman that has gone into the sea and has used a net to capture certain fishes do, we call it a restraint? We will say ‘no’, because it involves capturing and certain degrees of handling. So, in certain degrees of handling includes things like, if you have a tiger that has wounded itself, say, in a territorial fight. So, in that case and you have decided that, this tiger needs to be treated by giving a veterinary care. So now, a restraining would mean that you either immobilize this tiger physically or chemically, in most situations we go for a chemical immobilization in these days.
So, basically you would shoot dart on this animal, you would immobilized. So, it has gotten these immobilizing chemicals and has now lost consciousness, then you will go there and then you will handle this animal. So, basically if it has some wounds, maybe those wounds will have to be washed and then cleaned and then applied with some medicines and once you have done that then you bring this animal back into consciousness.
So, that is known as restraint. So, restraint is a procedure involving capture. So, in this case, you have captured the animals chemically or in certain situations would even go for a physical capture or even a behavioral capture. Now behavioral capture is something that we regularly use in the case of our camp elephants. So, if you have an elephant that is being used for departmental purposes. So for instance, we are using this elephant to take logs from one place to another place.
So this is an animal, that is a camp elephant or else we are using this elephant to counter the human wildlife conflict situations. So, we need this elephant and so we are keeping it in captivity, we have given it adequate amounts of training. Now if this animal suffers from some disease, suppose it has rot in its foot. So, now, rot in a foot is an extremely painful situation and essentially, if there is a wild animal that is out that in the forest and is diseased and if you try to approach it. Even if you want to treat it, the animal might feel stressed, it might feel that you are coming to give it some harm and it might come and attack you.
Now in the case of camp elephant, because we need to regularly handle them so, we give them certain sorts of behavioral trainings. So, what does that training mean? So, essentially if you have an elephant you would have a Mohouth that is there with the elephant and then this mohouth will regularly try to touch the elephant, maybe with his bare hands, maybe with a stick.
So, that this elephant becomes desensitized to this to the sense of touching by a human being. So essentially, when every time this elephant is being touched, whenever it is given a feed. So, this elephant will now associate this touching with something good. So, whenever this animal is being touched then it is given food. So, it will think that whenever I am being touched it is good for me, because I am getting something out of it. Similarly we could even give them certain treats or maybe we could give them certain amounts of play or certain amounts of exercises and all of those will be associated with this feeling of touching. So, once this animal is acclimatized to the sense of touching once it is understood that this human being does not mean any harm to me, he only means benefit to me.
So, next time in this animal has an injury in its foot or a rock in it is foot and the mohouth or the veterinarian comes there and then touches it and then clean its wound. The elephant will not find it as a situation that is very odd for it because it is already acclimatized, it already knows that these things happen and these things are not going to harm it. So, such kinds of restraints in which we are using certain amounts of training to the animal to restrain that animal to keep it in one place and to enable us to handle that also goes in the in the term of restraint.
(Refer Slide Time: 08:31)

So, this restraint is a procedure involving capture in certain degree of or some degree of handling of the animal. So essentially, we have 4 different kinds of restraint. The first restraint goes by the name of physical restraint.
Now, in the case of physical restraint only physical force is used to capture and handle the animal. So example, hand restraint done using the handler’s bare hands and some level of equipment can be used including gloves, ropes, poles, shields and nets. Now, when do we use a physical restraint? Now for instance, if you have a dog in your home and suppose this dog needs to be given certain injections; so, you might just go there and hold it, especially if it is a very small dog say, it is a puppy.
So in that case and you want to handle it, you know that this animal is cannot bite you, you know that it is easy to handle this animal, just if you hold it like this. So, we have healthier animal and the veterinarian has come and has given some injection. This is a physical restraint. We normally use physical restraint in the case of a number of birds and in the case of a number of small animals.
So, for instance if there is a hare or say if there is a pygmy hog. So, pygmy hog is an animal that we delft with, in the introductory two minute video. So, there we saw pygmy hogs, that are there in the pygmy hog capture breeding facility and these are small animal; these are like this big. So now, if you want to handle this animal, if you want to say, put a transmitter on this animal or say, if you want to give it some medicines or give some injections or maybe if you want to clean it wounds. So, what people would do? Is just set up a trap in the form of a net trap, the animal comes and then it is captured in the net and then people can just take it out and then handle it just by holding it in their bare hands or with gloves.
So, this is physical restraint. The second restraint is a mechanical restraint. So, mechanical mechanisms such as squeezebox, drop floor chute or hydraulically operated restraint chutes are deployed. So, it also uses force because the animal is not able to break apart from this equipment, but then in place of using just bare hands, we are now moving into mechanization. So, that is known as a mechanical restraint. So, things like traps. So, basically you would have seen mousetraps in your homes.
So, a mousetrap generally kills the mouse, but then in the case of wild animals, we could go for a non lethal version of a mousetrap or say, a box trap. So, that is a box and it has an entrance on one side, the animal gets inside and the entrance closes. So now, this becomes a mechanical restraint because we are using certain amount of mechanization or some machine to deploy this restraint. So, this is mechanical restraint and we will deal with it in greater detail in the next lecture.
Next is chemical restraint. So in chemical restraint drugs are used for immobilization or tranquilization of the animal. Now in this case, what do we mean by immobilization and what do we mean by tranquilization? So, immobilization is a technique or a phenomenon in which we have given certain drugs to the animal and now the animal is not able to move. So essentially, for instance, if you have given at certain amount of anesthetic. So, it has lost, it is consciousness and it is just lying there that is immobilization or for instance, you have given it, a very strong muscle paralytic. So, even though it knows what is going on in the surroundings, but it is not able to move, it is muscles that is immobilization. Tranquilization, on the other hand, means a certain drug that is given to the animal to calm itself.
So for instance, if you are transporting an animal from point A to point B, you would give it certain amount of tranquilizers so that it is calm, it does not feels any amount of anxiety. So, even if there is an animal that is feeling anxiety then it might try to bump into the walls of the crate or it might suffer capture myopathy or things like that, but in the case of a tranquilized animal, it feels no anxiety. So, it feels very cool and calm. So, in most of the situation, whenever we are giving a muscle paralytic or muscle relaxing to the animal to immobilize it, we also give it certain amount of tranquilizing drugs so that even though this animal is not able to move and it has consciousness but then also when we are going there and we are handling this animal it should not feel any amount of anxiety. (Refer Slide Time: 13:07)

Next sort of restraint goes by the name of behavioral restraints. So, as we saw in the case of the camp elephants, in this case animal husbandry training desensitization and/or operant conditioning are used to perform a procedure. Now, what do we mean by operant conditioning? So, operant conditioning is a term that comes from psychology.
(Refer Slide Time: 13:28)

Now, operant conditioning is a type of learning in which the animal learns to associate certain actions or certain behaviors with certain rewards, which naturally are not related to each other. So for instance, you would have read about very classic example that goes by the name of classical conditioning. So, drill up on classical condition for a while you better understand, what operant conditioning is. Now, in the case of classical conditioning, what happens is that when an animal has a stimulus, it gives out a response. So for instance, if you have a dog and you put food in front of the dog, when it gets the smell of the food then, it starts giving out a response for instance, it will start salivating.
So, this is a natural mechanism that is normally scene in nature. So, any stimulus is associated with a response, know what we do is that we combined the stimulus S with another stimulus S 1 so, for instance, ringing of a bell. So, whenever we give this dog the food, we always ring the bell along with that so it will associate food with the bell. So, whenever there is bell, there is food, wherever there is food, there is salivation. Now, after a while, once this dog is very much acclimatized to this sensation, you then remove the food, you just ring the bell. So, once when you are ringing this bell this dog associates this bell with the food and it is start salivating. So, that is classical conditioning, now in the case of operant conditioning you do not have a mechanism that is seen in the nature.
(Refer Slide Time: 15:35)

So for instance, another classic example in this case, is that you have a place on which say, let us give it a colored space and then there is a bird. Now, if this bird ever pecks on this plate. So, pecking means that if you see any bird, it would show this behavior, if this is the beak of the bird, it would go and just hit upon it. So, now, this is something that we normally see, when birds are trying to dominate a over other birds.
So, basically in the birds hierarchy, there would be a bird that pecks on everybody and that would be the boss and then there are some birds that are being pecked up on and they would be lower in the hierarchy. Now pecking is something that is normally seen in the birds, but then pecking of this particular piece of metal is not seen in the birds. Now what we do is that, we take a box, we keep the bird inside and whenever the bird pecks on this piece of metal, we would give it some food. Now, in the first instance there would be a large size plate and the bird would say accidentally peck up on it or even see touch it at some place.
So, whenever the bird has touched this plate, we give it food, then later on, we try to reduce this large sized plate into a smaller sized plate and then we are trying to mould the behavior of the animal of the bird. In this case, to ensure that any sort of touching does not help only a pecking would help. So essentially, we would try to restrain the kinds of behavior that the bird is doing. So essentially, in the first instance there was a big plate, the bird touched it anywhere and you give it the food. Later on, the plate size reduces and when it reduces, then only when the bird is touching the smaller plate it is given the food, then later on say only when the bird is turning it is head towards or it is touching not through it is body, but only through it is head then, we give it the food. So, the animal learns by trial and error later on only when, the bird pecks on this plate you would give it the food.
So, the animal is learning again and again, that certain behaviors are going to be associated with the reward and then later on, when this animal has learnt that anytime it is going to peck on this plate it would get the food, then we would see that this bird is continuously or regularly pecking on this plate. Now, this is a behavior that is not seen and nature; birds do not go randomly and peck on any metal plate, but then just because you have associated it with certain amount of a reward or it could even be a punishment in certain situations. So, a reward and punishment that is now molding the behavior of the bird. So, that it gives you a certain behavior, that you want it goes by the name of operant conditioning. (Refer Slide Time: 18:30)

Now coming back to the slides. In the case of behavioral restraint, you have animal husbandry training, desensitization and/or operant condition are used to perform a procedure. Now what sort of operant conditioning would be there in the case of our elephant.
So basically, you could have a situation that whenever there is a veterinarian and it comes close to the elephant. So basically, we could have a veterinarian that is distinguished by say white color coat. So when anybody in with a white color coat comes and approaches the animal and suppose it comes to the right fore leg then the animal should raise this leg so that the veterinarian is able to inspect it. So, now, such kinds of behaviors can be taught to the animal using operant conditioning.
So, basically whenever any person with a white coat is approaching this animal and this animal is yet untrained, whenever it moves it is legs even slightly then we would give it some certain amount of treats. Then later on when this animal moves it is moves it is legs much more then, will give it a treat then later on only when this animal holds it is legs, it is fore leg, say for a period of say 30 second, we would give it a treat, then later on we would even mould this behavior further, whenever anybody approaches and this animal lifts it is leg and then holds it for say 2 minutes, it would be given a treat.
So, once you have given all these sorts of trainings to the animal before a situation has arisen. So, all these trainings have been given, before this animal ever got an injury in the foot or rot in the foot or any disease in the foot. So, once you are given all these sorts of behaviors, now later on whenever the veterinarian comes the animal would instinctively just hold it is leg for a closer inspection and maybe for treatment.
So, in such situations we would not require any amount of force, we would not require any sort of mechanical device, we would not need to immobilize the animal, but just with this behavioral training, we would be able to restrain the animal and handle this animal. (Refer Slide Time: 20:37)

So, this is known as behavioral restraint. Now, when do we need to use this capture and restraint procedures? So, we have a number of situations in which we could have a capture and restraint that is required. So, an animal in the forest appears a disease and needs to be given a veterinary treatment. So, you went into the forest and you saw a tiger that was having some injury or it was having some disease, maybe it was not able to feed properly, maybe it was having a wound somewhere and now you think that this animal needs to be given a veterinary treatment.
So, you would capture this animal, you would restraint this animal so as to be able to give it the treatment. Next, an animal has entered a human habitation and needs to be rescued and shifted to the forest. So basically, you have say, a leopard that came into the village and then this leopard went inside the house, the person inside the house went out locked the door and now the leopard is now inside human habitation, it is inside the house. So, you need to rescued this animal and then shift it back to the forest. This is another situation that would require capture and restraint.
In most situations, we normally immobilized animal with dart and then when it has lost consciousness, we go and take it out, put it into a cage transport it into the forest and then release it, after giving it drugs so that it regains the consciousness. Another example is an area that needs to be replenished or restocked with animals following the population decline. So for instance, a few days back we had tigers that had to be moved from Bandhavgarh Tiger Reserve and Kanha Tiger Reserve in to Satkosia Tiger Reserve in Odisha.
Now, Satkosia Tiger Reserve had a decline in the tiger population, it did not have sufficient numbers of tigers, it needed more tiger. So, then we captured and restrained tigers from other national parks and then transport them and then release them into a national park that has suffered a population decline. So, this is another situation where we require capture and restraint, in this case also we went for a chemical restraint. Next is genetic rescue needs to be performed in a population, for which animals should be brought in from somewhere. So, in this situation you have animals in your protected area, the number of animals is sufficient, but all these animals are now related to each other. So, basically you might be seeing situations of inbreeding or enbreeding depression.
So in this situation, we would require genetic rescue that needs to be performed and you here also you would need to capture animals from somewhere else and then bring it to your population that needs to be rescued. Next is a rogue animal needs to be removed and put up for behavior modification. A classic example is that, in the case of elephant reserve, we could have situations in which there is an elephant that is regularly coming and raiding the food crops or the farm lands in the nearby area. So, even though this animal has food inside the forest, but this animal is coming out and is (Refer Time: 23:34) raids on the food crops, in that case, to reduce the situations of conflict, now this animal would need to be removed and put up for behavior modification.
(Refer Slide Time: 23:48)

So, in this case this animal would be taught that it should not come out of the forest. Other situation is when there is a research project that requires blood samples of animals, for DNA profiling a disease monitoring.
So here also if you want a blood sample from an animal, it may be required to capture the animals to restrain, the animal to take out the sample and also the disease monitoring. Next is an animal needs to be fitted with radio collar for radio telemetry activity. So, this is something that we observed in our second module. So, there was a tiger that had a radio collar fitted on it.
Now once, you have an animal that has a radio collar fitted to it is neck, then it is extremely easy to track that animal, but then how do you put your radio collar there in the first place?
So, this is our classic question of who is going to bell the cat? So, here also you have a cat, a tiger that needs to be belled with a radio collar. So, in this case also, we go for a chemical immobilization and then when the animal has lost it is consciousness, we put the collar and then we give it drugs so that it regains the consciousness. So, this is another situation, we should warrant a capture and restraint of the animal.
Next is captive elephants are needed by the department with trained for rescue activities. So, in this case also we would go and capture certain elephants. Now earlier, capturing of elephants from the forest used to be done very regularly, but these days because from we have reduced a departmental activities and also because our outlook has changed, we normally do not go into the forest and capture the wild elephant, but we only use those elephants that are showing our own behavior or that has getting into conflicts. So essentially, like there is an elephant that comes out of the forest, raids the crop plants and has even killed a few human beings.
So, then to reduce this conflict, we could either terminate the animal or preferably we try to capture this animal, try to rehabilitate it somewhere in the forest, even if that thing does not work, even after rehabilitation it is always coming out and getting into a conflict situation, then we will take this elephant out put it into one of our training camps and then use it as a departmental elephant or a camp elephant. So, when capture the elephants are needed by the department to be trained for rescue activities, this would also required certain degrees of capture and restraint.
Not only to capture this elephant out from the wild situations, but also when we are keeping it in a corral for training activities, in that is also a mechanical capture that is being used. Next is that you have found an animal in a trap for a snare and this animal needs to be freed.
So, we normally observe that in the forest areas, we could be having poachers in certain situations they could even be locals that are going out into the forest and want to trap an animal just for its meet. So, they could have put up as snare out there in the forest. So, a snare could be something like a clutch wire, that is put up as a noose (Refer Time: 26:45) in then, that is kept in one of the shrubs. Now when any animal tries to move past it, it would put it is head into this snare and then this snare would be tightened up because it was attached to one of the trees nearby.
So essentially, your animal would be trapped there. Now suppose, you went into the forest and we saw one such animal that was trapped or say you saw a tiger that had one of these snare was across it is body, may be in its abdominal portion of maybe in its neck portion. Now whenever you find such situations and these animals need to be rescued, we normally go for a chemical immobilization of the animal. So, we shoot it with the dart, when the animal goes down, when it is immobilized we go there, we remove this snare wire or the trap and then we also give it certain amounts of medications, certain antibiotics and then we give it drug. So, that it regions consciousness and so, this animal is now rescued and is freed from the trap or the snare wire whatever.
So, these situations also required captured in restraint. A whale that has beached and needs to be put back safely, what is beaching of a whale? It means that there was a whale that move at a very fast speed and then it came on top of a beach. So now, whale for animals that live in the oceans, that live in the seas and when you have a whale that is there on your sea beach. It is being exposed directly to the sun, it is drying out very fast and if nothing is done then this animal might even die.
So in these situation when we want to rescue these whales, we might make use of physical force. So, we might say bring in some cranes or maybe some bulldozers and we try to push it back into the ocean to save it is life. Now this is another situation, that required certain amount of captured and restraint. Now restraint might also be required, because whenever we deal with such situations, we try to mark this animal and also try to take some samples out of it for scientific study. Next, you have situations where orphan cubs are found in agricultural field and they need to be, they need to be rehabilitated. Now what do we mean by orphan cubs? Now we have observed that in a number of situations, we would have tigers, lions, and leopard that have their cubs out there in the agricultural fields. So for instance, fields of a sugarcane are generally preferred by these large cats.
So, there was a mother that had its cubs out there in agricultural fields. Now the agricultural season is over and now people have come and they are trying to cut this sugarcane fields. Now, when there are a large number of people and machines out there in the agricultural field, the animal might feel stress, it might feel that it is cubs are and danger or it is own life is in danger. So, the animal might first try to relocate the cubs. So, it might just pick up it cubs and take them away, but if there is a situation when the mother had gone out for hunting and then when she comes back she observed that there are so many people and machines that are there working on the field.
So, it might even abandon the cubs. So, we have situations in which we have found abandoned tiger cubs, abandoned leopard cubs and these cubs, they need to be rescued because, once their mother has abandoned them, they are going to die in a very short period of time, until and unless we make a manual intervention, a human intervention there. We take these cubs out and then rear them in our facilities, give them milk, give them certain food and maintain them. So, that they are able to lead their lives. Now these situation should also required that these animals, these small cubs, these babies are captured, restrained and then given food, given certain amounts of training.
(Refer Slide Time: 30:38)

So, this is also another situation that would warrant capture and restraint. Then we could have situations in which a leopard has fallen into a well, now this is something that we very commonly encountered out there in a field situations.
So, there are a number of wells, that do not have embankments on their top. So, it is very easy for an animal to fall inside and we have seen and number of situations in which leopard falls into the well and now this leopard needs to be taken out and rescued, otherwise it is going to drown there and die.