Background: Capture, handling and chemical restraint are basic techniques often needed for research or management purposes. The aim of this study was testing a combination of tiletamine-zolazepam (TZ) (3 mg/kg) and medetomidine (M) (0.05 mg/kg) on Eurasian wild boar (Sus scrofa). A total of 77 free-ranging wild boar were captured by means of portable cages and corral traps and then anaesthetized with intramuscular darts using a blowpipe. The individual response to chemical immobilization was characterized using anaesthetic, clinical, and serum biochemical variables. After the procedure, 14 of these wild boar were monitored for 20 days using GPS-GSM collars. Results: Pre-release mortality during capture and handling (6.5%) was associated with severe trauma in corral traps. Capture specificity for wild boar was 96.3% and trapping effort was 16.5 days per captured wild boar. Mean induction period was 4.5 ± 2.2 min, hypnosis period enabling effective handling was 61.6 ± 25.4 min, and recovery period was 12.8 ± 12.1 min. No heart or respiratory failure due to added stress occurred and post-release monitoring by GPS-devices revealed no mortality due to anaesthesia. According to the best statistical model obtained, the main factor driving anaesthetic efficacy and stress indicators is trap type. Conclusions: Both cage and corral traps are efficient methods to capture wild boar. Cage traps are safer, as demonstrated by mortality rates as well as anaesthetic, physiological, and serum biochemical responses. This anaesthetic protocol is useful for prolonged handling of wild boar and allows sampling and collecting data for ecological and epidemiological studies. © 2013 Barasona et al.; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.
- Wild boar