2024 journal article

Hand grab or noose pole? Evaluating the least stressful practice for capture of endangered Turks and Caicos Rock Iguanas Cyclura carinata

PEERJ, 12.

author keywords: Health screening; Blood metabolites; Lactate; Point-of-care; Rock iguanas; Animal welfare
UN Sustainable Development Goal Categories
15. Life on Land (OpenAlex)
Source: Web Of Science
Added: May 7, 2024

As the analysis of blood metabolites has become more readily accessible thanks to the use of point-of-care analyzers, it is now possible to evaluate stress level of wild animals directly in the field. Lactate is receiving much attention as a good stress level proxy in individuals subjected to capture, manual restraint, and data sampling in the wild, and appropriate protocols to maintain lactate values low should be preferred. In this study we compare how two different capture methodologies, hand grab vs. noose pole, affect the variation of blood lactate values in Cyclura carinata iguanas when captured for sampling. We used blood lactate concentration, measured immediately upon- and 15 min after-capture, as a proxy for stress level. While the primary goal of this work is to determine the least stressful capture methodology to be favored when sampling this and other wild iguanas, we also evaluated additional baseline physiological parameters relevant to the health and disease monitoring for this species. Our results show that while initial lactate values level-out in sampled individuals after 15 min in captivity, regardless of the capture methodology, rock iguanas captured by noose pole showed significantly higher lactate concentration and increased heartbeat rate immediately after capture. While the overall health evaluation determined that all analyzed individuals were in good health, based on our results we recommend that, when possible, hand capture should be preferred over noose pole when sampling wild individuals.