November 6, 2023 – Our wildlife expert, Slaven Reljić, recently made a significant contribution to the field of wildlife conservation at the International Symposium on Wildlife Capture and Chemical Immobilization, held from October 19 to 21, 2023, in the Maiella National Park in South-Central Italy, with a presentation entitled “Chemical immobilization of brown bears – a Croatian experience”.
The presented research was a collaborative effort involving researchers from OIKON Ltd. – Institute of Applied Ecology, University of Zagreb, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine and Faculty of Food Technology and Biotechnology, and Croatian Forests. The scientific team included Slaven Reljić, Goran Gužvica, Lidija Šver, Lana Pađen, Ratko Popović, and Đuro Huber.
Over the course of several decades, they have employed evolving techniques for capturing bears for scientific purposes, including the use of radio (VHF) collars and, more recently, GPS/GSM collars. The methods involve the use of different drug combinations, ketamine and xylazine (KX) from the beginning or tiletamine and zolazepam with medetomidine (TZM) since 2015. The research highlights a broad range of dosages related to field conditions and recommends using oxygen flow devices when employing the TZM combination due to lower blood oxygen levels. Ultimately, the study concludes that these chemical agents are relatively safe, especially when estimating the body mass of captured animals is challenging.
The International Symposium on Wildlife Capture and Chemical Immobilization, organized by the Wildlife Research Center of Maiella National Park, brought together a diverse range of experts, including wildlife veterinarians, biologists, One Health professionals, wildlife and ecosystem managers, researchers, and students. The symposium served as a platform to discuss the latest scientific developments in wildlife capture techniques, aiming to enhance conservation and management practices in an ever-evolving human-wildlife interface.
The presentation “Chemical immobilization of brown bears – a Croatian experience” has not only added valuable insights to the symposium but has also highlighted Croatia’s work in brown bear research, contributing to global wildlife conservation efforts.