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Developing a New Shock-Collar Design for Safe and Efficient Use on Wild Wolves

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Electronic training collars, or shock collars, have received relatively little application as a nonlethal management tool for reducing livestock losses caused by gray wolves (Canis lupus). One of the major obstacles to using shock collars on wolves has been the lack of a safe and efficient collar design. We developed a new shock-collar design and tested it for safety and efficacy on captive wolves. Our design used a radiocollar with a shock unit mounted on the back. Shock units were fitted with rounded probes that contact the back of a wolf’s shaved neck and with externally mounted batteries to increase battery life. We tested our design in 5 different captive trials conducted during 2003–2005 at the Wildlife Science Center, Minnesota, USA, and eliminated neck damage shown in previous shock-collar research, while retaining the ability to effectively deliver a shock. We extended battery life to 80 days. We believe this new shock-collar design could be used as a safe and efficient alternative to lethal control in certain situations for wild wolves. Copyright 2013 The Wildlife Society.

Document: Hawley-et-al-2013_WSB-shock-collars.pdf  PDF icon

Author(s): Jason E. Hawley, Shawn T. Rossler, Thomas M. Gehring, Ronald N. Schultz, Peggy A. Callahan, Raymond Clark, Jerry Cade, Adrian P. Wydeven

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