Capture of the vicuña (Vicugna vicugna) for sustainable use: Animal welfare implications
Bonacic C., Feber RE., Macdonald DW.
The current program of vicuña conservation includes their live-capture for wool harvest in the Andes Region in northern Chile. Here, we describe studies that assess the impacts on the species of different variables relating to the capture process. The immediate physical and physiological effects on vicuña of contrasting capture methods, chase distances and restraint were measured. Comparisons between two methods of capture showed that cortisol concentrations were higher in animals herded using vehicles alone compared to those herded using a combination of vehicles and local people on foot. Blood glucose levels, heart rate and respiratory rate showed an immediate but ephemeral response to herding into a corral. The range of distances over which animals were herded caused less noticeable changes in blood and physical parameters. The most marked changes were associated with restraint, during which there were significant increases in creatin kinase, packed cell volume and rectal temperature. The implications of changes in these parameters on vicuña welfare and conservation are discussed. © 2005 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.