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Developing a new shock-collar design for safe and efficient use on wild wolves

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Abstract

Electronic training collars, or shock collars, have received relatively little application as a non-lethal 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. © 2013 The Wildlife Society.

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