While a goal of many field primatologists is to observe subjects in as undisturbed a setting as possible, it is often necessary to anesthetize animals for any of a variety of reasons. In this paper, we review techniques for anesthetizing wild primates, based on our experience with more than a thousand such procedures carried out on baboons in East Africa. We consider the following: 1) rationales for anesthetizing a wild primate; 2) systems for the delivery of anesthetic and choice of anesthetic; 3) the darting process itself and issues relevant to the period between darting and the safe removal of the animal; 4) handling of an anesthetized primate; 5) medical complications associated with darting; 6) when to reanesthetize an animal; 7) the process of recovery from anesthesia and release of an awake animal; 8) safety issues for humans. The range of information that can be obtained through field anesthetizations, when carried out successfully, as well as the potential benefit for the animals involved, can be enormous. However, this process is not trivial from the standpoint of the dangers involved to both the subjects and to humans and because of the potential disruption of social behavior to the group. As such, anesthetizations in the field should not be carried out without a strong rationale and without a tremendous priority given to the safety and care of all involved. Am. J. Primatol. 44:155–167, 1998. © 1998 Wiley‐Liss, Inc.
American Journal of Primatology – Wiley
Published: Jan 1, 1998
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