On the need for rigorous welfare and methodological reporting for the live capture of large carnivores: A response to de Araujo et al. (2021)




Caravaggi, Anthony
Amado, Talita F.
Brook, Ryan K.
Ciuti, Simone
Darimont, Chris T.
Drouilly, Marine
English, Holly M.
Field, Kate A.
Iossa, Graziella
Martin, Jessica E.

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Methods in Ecology and Evolution


De Araujo et al. (Methods in Ecology and Evolution, 2021, https://doi.org/10.1111/2041-210X.13516) described the development and application of a wire foot snare trap for the capture of jaguars Panthera onca and cougars Puma concolor. Snares are a commonly used and effective means of studying large carnivores. However, the article presented insufficient information to replicate the work and inadequate consideration and description of animal welfare considerations, thereby risking the perpetuation of poor standards of reporting. Appropriate animal welfare assessments are essential in studies that collect data from animals, especially those that use invasive techniques, and are key in assisting researchers to choose the most appropriate capture method. It is critical that authors detail all possible associated harms and benefits to support thorough review, including equipment composition, intervention processes, general body assessments, injuries (i.e. cause, type, severity) and post-release behaviour. We offer a detailed discussion of these shortcomings. We also discuss broader but highly relevant issues, including the capture of non-target animals and the omission of key methodological details. The level of detail provided by authors should allow the method to be properly assessed and replicated, including those that improve trap selectivity and minimize or eliminate the capture of non-target animals. Finally, we discuss the central role that journals must play in ensuring that published research conforms to ethical, animal welfare and reporting standards. Scientific studies are subject to ever-increasing scrutiny by peers and the public, making it more important than ever that standards are upheld and reviewed. We conclude that the proposal of a new or refined method must be supported by substantial contextual discussion, a robust rationale and analyses and comprehensive documentation.



analysis, animal welfare, large carnivores, live capture, methods, peer-review


Caravaggi, A., Amado, T. F., Brook, R. K., Ciuti, S., Darimont, C. T., Drouilly, M., English, H. M., Field, K. A., Iossa, G., Martin, J. E., McElligott, A. G., Mohammadi, A., Nayeri, D., O’Neill, H. M. K., Paquet, P. C., Périquet, S., Proulx, G., Rabaiotti, D., Recio, M. R., … Wynn-Grant, R. (2021). On the need for rigorous welfare and methodological reporting for the live capture of large carnivores: A response to de Araujo et al. (2021). Methods in Ecology and Evolution, 12, 1793-1799. https://doi.org/10.1111/2041-210X.13664