Use of etorphine hydrochloride for immobilisation of Nubian giraffe for wire snare removal: a retrospective study

Authors

Keywords:

giraffe, chemical immobilisation

Abstract

The critically endangered Nubian giraffe (Giraffa camelopardalis camelopardalis) is distributed in small, fragmented populations across East Africa. Safe immobilisation to facilitate animal monitoring, care, and translocation is important for management directed at ensuring long term survival. Due to a high incidence of reported complications, including mortality during giraffe immobilisations, there is a need for developing and refining techniques and sharing information to facilitate widespread application. This retrospective study utilised immobilisation data acquired during wire snare removals from 80 Nubian giraffe induced with intramuscular etorphine hydrochloride. Recorded data included age (adult, subadult), sex, estimated weight, body condition score, induction and reversal drug dosage, induction time, quality of induction, duration of the procedure, time to reversal administration, and snare wound characteristics. There were no statistically significant differences between males and females for induction quality (p > 0.99), induction time (p = 0.72), and procedure time (p = 0.18). No significant differences were noted between adults and subadults for induction quality (p = 0.16) and procedure time (p = 0.35). There was a significant difference in induction time between adults (7.58 ± 0.42 minutes) and subadults (5.65 ± 0.56 minutes) (p < 0.01). On average, adults received 12.4 mg etorphine while subadults received 11.6 mg. Wound severity did not have a significant impact on induction quality. No mortality was observed. Based on these data, etorphine hydrochloride, followed by rapid reversal, was safe for induction of Nubian giraffe presenting for snare removal and should be considered in similar circumstances.

Author Biographies

  • S Barnes, Colorado State University

    James L. Voss Veterinary Teaching Hospital, Colorado State University, United States of America

  • J Lubega, Giraffe Conservation Foundation

    Giraffe Conservation Foundation, Namibia

  • K Mama, Colorado State University

    Department of Clinical Sciences, Colorado State University, United States of America

  • M Driciru, Uganda Wildlife Authority

    Uganda Wildlife Authority, Uganda

  • S Rao, Colorado State University

    Department of Clinical Sciences, Colorado State University, United States of America

  • S Ferguson, Giraffe Conservation Foundation

    Giraffe Conservation Foundation, Namibia

  • MJ Sadar, Colorado State University

    Department of Clinical Sciences, Colorado State University, United States of America

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Published

2023-09-13

Issue

Section

Original Research