On the need for rigorous welfare and methodological reporting for the live capture of large carnivores: A response to de Araujo et al. (2021)

Anthony Caravaggi*, Talita F. Amado, Ryan K. Brook, Simone Ciuti, Chris T. Darimont, Marine Drouilly, Holly M. English, Kate A. Field, Graziella Iossa, Jessica E. Martin, Alan G. McElligott, Alireza Mohammadi, Danial Nayeri, Helen M. K. O’Neill, Paul C. Paquet, Stéphanie Périquet, Gilbert Proulx, Daniella Rabaiotti, Mariano R. Recio, Carl D. SoulsburyTamara Tadich, Rae Wynn‐Grant

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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De Araujo et al. (Methods in Ecology and Evolution, 2021, https://doi.org/10.1111/2041-210X.13516) described the development and application of a wire foot snare trap for the capture of jaguars Panthera onca and cougars Puma concolor. Snares are a commonly used and effective means of studying large carnivores. However, the article presented insufficient information to replicate the work and inadequate consideration and description of animal welfare considerations, thereby risking the perpetuation of poor standards of reporting. Appropriate animal welfare assessments are essential in studies that collect data from animals, especially those that use invasive techniques, and are key in assisting researchers to choose the most appropriate capture method. It is critical that authors detail all possible associated harms and benefits to support thorough review, including equipment composition, intervention processes, general body assessments, injuries (i.e. cause, type, severity) and post-release behaviour. We offer a detailed discussion of these shortcomings. We also discuss broader but highly relevant issues, including the capture of non-target animals and the omission of key methodological details. The level of detail provided by authors should allow the method to be properly assessed and replicated, including those that improve trap selectivity and minimize or eliminate the capture of non-target animals. Finally, we discuss the central role that journals must play in ensuring that published research conforms to ethical, animal welfare and reporting standards. Scientific studies are subject to ever-increasing scrutiny by peers and the public, making it more important than ever that standards are upheld and reviewed. We conclude that the proposal of a new or refined method must be supported by substantial contextual discussion, a robust rationale and analyses and comprehensive documentation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1793-1799
Number of pages7
JournalMethods in Ecology and Evolution
Issue number10
Early online date5 Oct 2021
Publication statusPublished - 5 Oct 2021


  • Applied Ecology
  • Behavioural ecology
  • Community ecology
  • Conservation ecology
  • Invasion ecology
  • Life history ecology
  • Movement ecology
  • Population ecology
  • Spatial ecology
  • Trophic interactions
  • Urban ecology
  • Zoology
  • analysis
  • animal welfare
  • large carnivores
  • live capture
  • methods
  • peer‐review


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