1.0 Purpose of the Guidelines
These guidelines have been written to provide guidance for members of Animal Ethics Committees (AECs) and investigators who carry out wildlife surveys, including those for Species Impact Statements or Environmental Impact Statements required under environmental protection legislation (National Parks and Wildlife Act 1974, Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 and the Threatened Species Conservation Act 1995).
There are no general texts which describe the ethical capture and handling of Australian wildlife in the field, although some have been published overseas (see Section 14.0.). There is Australian information on the care of captive wildlife [for example, National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) 1990] and on first aid for injured wildlife (for example, Walraven 1990).
The guidelines are not meant to be exhaustive or prescriptive. Their aim is to provide some general principles for reducing the impact on wildlife during surveys, to promote good practice and to raise issues which AECs need to consider when discussing such proposals. The information they contain is taken from the scientific literature and from animal care statements provided by existing licence holders.
A list of terms used in the text is provided in Section 11.0
2.0 The Regulation of Animal Care during Wildlife Surveys in NSW.
In NSW, the welfare of animals used for animal research is protected by the Animal Research Act 1985 and the Animal Research Regulation 2005. Wildlife surveys are considered as animal research and are hence subject to the provisions of these Acts. The legislation also requires that the conduct of animal research must be consistent with the provisions of the Australian code of practice for the care and use of animals for scientific purposes (seventh edition, NHMRC 2004), hereafter referred to as the Code of Practice.
Wildlife surveyors and AEC members should be conversant with both pieces of legislation and the Code of Practice.
In addition to the legislation and the Code of Practice, the Animal Research Review Panel (the Panel) has a number of policies and guidelines relevant to wildlife surveys that should be consulted (see Section 13.0). Investigators should obtain copies and be familiar with the contents of all these documents. Along with general information on the legislation, AECs, the Panel and the Code of Practice, the policies and guidelines are available on the Animal Ethics Infolink website.
The intent of the legislation to protect the welfare of animals is implemented through the requirement that all animal research must be approved by an AEC before the work commences. The AEC considers the ethical aspects of the study such as the justification for the survey, the methods used and the impact of all procedures on the animals. To assist the AEC in its deliberations, application is made by the investigator on a proposal form that aims to ensure that AEC members have the information they need for their discussions, written in plain English.
Intending wildlife surveyors associated with an accredited institution should seek approval from the institutional AEC. Those not associated with an accredited institution may apply to the Director-General’s ACEC (contact Amanda Paul, Executive Officer at the Animal Welfare Branch of NSW Department of Primary Industries, Locked Bag 21, Orange NSW 2800). If the AEC approves the application, the investigator will be issued with an Animal Research Authority for the project.
3.0 General ethical considerations and wildlife surveys.
The Code of Practice advances three fundamental concepts for improving the welfare of animals used for scientific research. These are known as the Three Rs and are:
- The replacement of animals with other methods
- The reduction of the number of animals used.
- The refinement of the techniques used to reduce the impact on animals.
The Three Rs are as relevant to wildlife surveys as to laboratory studies of animals, and in this section examples of their implementation through good survey planning and design and appropriate methodology are discussed. Specific wildlife survey methods are discussed in later sections.
3.1 Survey planning
The existing knowledge of the fauna in the proposed study area should be used to determine if a new survey is both necessary and justified. Sources of such information include:
- Published records in scientific journals and the newsletters of scientific and natural history societies.
- Reports by NSW NPWS and State Forest.
- The NSW NPWS Wildlife Atlas.
- Australian Museum records.
- Birds Australia The New Atlas of Australian Birds (Barrett et al 2004).
- Previous Species Impact Statements and Environmental Impact Statements (available from the Department of Infrastructure, Planning and Natural Resources).
- Local knowledge (local councils, land management groups, land holders).
The outcome of this background research will reveal the extent of the proposed survey necessary to meet the project objective. For example, there may already be sufficient information about some species, in which case there will be no need to re-survey these, thus reducing animal usage.
Reduction in animal usage by the application of existing knowledge depends on the availability and accessibility of that knowledge. For that reason, wildlife surveyors are encouraged to publish survey information whenever possible, and to lodge results where they can be accessed in the future. Examples of such repositories include the Australian Museum and the NPWS Wildlife Atlas.
3.2 Survey design and methodology
It is not the purpose of these guidelines to provide detailed technical advice about the design and methodology of wildlife surveys. Rather, the intent is to show how the welfare of animals can be increased during surveys by employing appropriate design and methodology. This section is a general discussion of these issues. In later sections more specific suggestions are made.
The following points should be considered when designing a wildlife survey:
- It should be appropriate to the objectives of the project
- It should be based on sound scientific and statistical principles so that the results are valid
- It should minimise the impact on animals
- Sample sizes should be kept to the minimum required and that number justified.
The following general points should be considered when determining the methods to be used in a wildlife survey.
- Surveyors must have practical training and be experienced and competent in all the techniques they intend to use.
- Whenever possible, methods that do not require animals to be captured should be used (for example, spotlight counts, AnaBat ™ detectors, hair tubes and playback calls).
- If animals must be captured, the least stressful methods available should be used. Consider the biology of the animal in relation to the time of year of the survey and the time of day of capture and release of the animals. Avoid periods when there are high environmental stresses. Ensure that animals are captive in traps for the minimum time.
- Animals that have to be handled should be restrained gently and the procedures completed as quickly as possible.
- Animals that have to be temporarily held after capture should be housed in a way appropriate to their biology and as free from environmental stresses as possible.
- If identification is necessary, methods used should be non-invasive and temporary whenever possible, and must not adversely interfere with the normal functioning of the animal.
Careful selection of a survey design and methodologies can greatly improve the welfare of animals during wildlife surveys. As examples, a good experimental design can reduce the number of animals necessary to achieve a valid result; the use of indirect survey methods such as spotlight counts, AnaBat ™ detectors, hair tubes and playback calls replace and reduce the number of animals used while the use of the least intrusive methods and short handling times refines the use of animals.
3.3 Voucher specimens
The collection of voucher specimens is a traditional part of scientific research. However, it is a practice of concern to some sections of the community. Wildlife surveyors intending to collect voucher specimens should consult the Panel’s Guidelines for the collection of voucher specimens. Briefly, some important points are listed below.
- The collection of voucher specimens must be fully justified, the number of specimens collected kept to a minimum and the collection of animals from more than one site must be justified.
- Voucher specimens should not be routinely collected for species that are readily identifiable in the field. Where only confirmation of the field identification is necessary, this might be possible by other means. Examples include hair samples, photographs and sound recordings.
- The AEC must consider the potential conservation impact as part of the justification for collection of voucher specimens.
- The animal welfare requirements for the capture of voucher specimens are no different from those for animals that will be released.
- Euthanasia of animals to be used for voucher specimens must be by an approved method (see section 3.5 below).
- Voucher specimens must be fully and correctly documented and lodged with a publicly accessible scientific collection.
3.4 Emergency procedures
All applications to an AEC for wildlife research require a detailed description of emergency procedures. The purpose of these is to ensure that threats to the welfare of animals resulting from emergencies are mitigated. In the context of wildlife surveys, emergencies include events such as injuries to animals, inclement weather, floods, bushfires and the illness or injury of the surveyor.
- Investigators should be conversant with the Panel’s policy, Emergency Procedures. Issues particularly relevant to wildlife surveys include the following.
- Arrangements must be made to clear and close all traps in the event of inclement weather, floods and bushfires.
- Arrangements must be made to clear and close traps in the event that illness or injury removes the investigator from the field.
- Investigators should have the appropriate skills and equipment to euthanase seriously injured animals in the field should this be necessary. Euthanasia must be by an approved method (see section 3.5 below).
- Arrangements must be made to appropriately transport seriously injured animals to the nearest veterinarian for treatment, noting that injured animals should be taken to veterinarians initially rather than to wildlife carers.
- Any unexpected problems should be reported to the AEC as soon as possible, including mortalities and injuries to animals. Future surveys may need to be modified in the light of these problems.
Emergency euthanasia or killing of specimens for vouchers may need to be carried out by surveyors in the field. Investigators should be conversant with the Panel’s policy, Acts of Veterinary Science and the use of restricted drugs, which details the legal requirements for using sodium pentobarbitone (see section 13.0). The following points about euthanasia need to be considered.
- Methods must be humane and produce a painless death as rapidly as possible.
- Methods which are acceptable are described in Reilly (2001), UFAW/WSPA (1989), UFAW (1996 and 1997) and AVMA (2000).
- Methods which are not acceptable include car exhaust fumes, cervical dislocation in animals larger than 150 g, drowning and freezing. Note that cooling reptiles and amphibians to make them easier to handle is acceptable but, even after cooling, freezing is not an acceptable method of euthanasia.
- Surveyors must be trained and competent in the use of the acceptable methods of euthanasia.
Zoonotic diseases (those which affect both animals and humans and may be passed between them) are known to be present in Australian native animals e.g. Australian bat lyssavirus. Diseases may also be transferred between animals. Surveyors should therefore take basic precautions to prevent animal–animal, animal–human and human–animal transfer of disease. Such precautions include the following:
- High levels of personal hygiene.
- Not eating, drinking or smoking whilst handling animals.
- Washing field clothes and equipment that has come into contact with animals’ blood or body fluids and cleaning all survey equipment between surveys.
- Basic first aid for treatment of cuts, bites and scratches.
- Observance of protocols to avoid transmission of frog chytrid fungus as outlined in NSW NPWS (2001).
- Obtaining vaccinations against Australian bat lyssavirus before handling microbats and/or flying foxes.
- Should anyone who handled animals become ill within 2 months of a survey, the attending medical practitioner should be informed of the potential exposure to zoonoses. Further information on zoonoses can be obtained from NSW Health.
4.0 Surveys of terrestrial and arboreal mammals
Catling et al (1997) provides general information on surveying mammals.
4.1 Methods not involving animal capture
4.1.1 Animal signs
Some mammal species leave signs (scats and tracks) sufficiently distinctive to provide positive identification. The sign of many Australian mammal species is described in Triggs (1996). Signs which indicate the presence of species or groups of species should be used in surveys wherever possible.
4.1.2 Hair tubes
The use of hair tubes is described by Scotts and Craig (1988), Lindenmayer et al (1999) and Mills et al (2002). Points to consider are as follows.
- Ensure that the floor of the tube is free of adhesive tape to prevent small lizards and frogs becoming stuck.
- If an animal does become stuck to the tape, do not try to pull the tape off, as this may seriously damage the skin. Either carefully trim the tape on the animal to as small a size as possible (the remaining tape will be shed during normal skin replacement) or gently ease vegetable oil under the tape and slide it off.
- Slope hair tubes with the entrance pointing slightly downwards to ensure drainage.
4.1.3 Spotlight counts
When spotlighting animals:
- Avoid prolonged exposure to the light (ie more than 2 minutes).
- Use a light with a narrow beam.
- When practical, use a red filter or, preferably, a dimmer switch to reduce light intensity for prolonged observations once the animal has been spotted.
4.2 Methods involving animal capture
In general, the following points apply to the use of traps:
- Use the trapping method with the least impact.
- Whenever possible, avoid trapping at times of the year when animals may be susceptible to greater stress, such as during breeding seasons or droughts. If animals are breeding, minimise their time in traps by checking more frequently and releasing pregnant or lactating females as a matter of priority.
- Select the type of trap which is appropriate to the species being targeted.
- Ensure all traps are in good working order and checked immediately prior to use.
- Limit the number of traps set per field worker to that which can be cleared in two hours.
- At any one site, unless justified otherwise, limit trapping periods to no more than four consecutive nights with a minimum of three nights between trapping periods to avoid continually trapping the same individuals.
- Use a bait appropriate to diet of the target species. The bait should not only lure the animal into the trap, but should also replace the food and moisture it would have consumed had it not been trapped. This is particularly important for small mammals which have high metabolic rates.
- Locate each trap to reduce exposure of trapped animals to the sun, wind, rain etc (for example, place traps under shrubs or beside logs).
- Avoid placing traps in areas of high ant activity.
- Do not trap during periods of inclement weather.
- Ensure all traps are located and checked each time a trap line is checked and that all traps are removed from the field or closed at the end of the trapping period. If individual traps are numbered and set in order, it makes it easier to ensure that all traps are checked.
- For nocturnal species, begin clearing traps at first light and where practical leave the traps closed until late afternoon. During periods of extremely cold weather, cease trapping completely or clear and close traps by 0200 hrs each day.
- For diurnal species, have an inspection schedule which minimises the impact on any trapped animals and locate the traps so as to minimise the possibilities of heat or cold stress.
- Release animals as soon as possible and where they were caught.
- Cease trapping immediately if there has been an unusually high mortality of animals.
4.2.2 Box traps (also known as Elliott traps)
In addition to the general points in 4.2.1 above, the following need to be considered:
- Provide bedding in the traps. Dry leaf litter and Dupont Hollofill ™ are suitable materials, although the latter sometimes wraps around the animals’ feet. Cotton wool should not be used because it absorbs moisture, increasing the risk of hypothermia.
- In areas with wetter climates, place traps in a plastic bag, taking care to ensure adequate drainage (slope traps at 10o to the horizontal to allow drainage during rain).
- During periods of high temperatures in areas where traps cannot be sheltered from the sun, close traps during the day.
- Traps set in trees should be on the opposite side of the tree to the morning sun.
4.2.3 Cage traps
In addition to the general points in 4.2.1 above, the following need to be considered.
- Set traps in sheltered positions.
- Provide shelter for trapped animals by covering the trap with opaque plastic (cooler areas) or with shade cloth (hotter areas).
- If traps cannot be sheltered from the sun, they should be closed during the day if temperatures are high.
4.2.4 Dry pitfall trapsThe Panel has developed guidelines for the use of pitfall traps, which should be observed (see section 13.0).
In addition, consider the following points:
- To minimise drowning from flooding, a flat styrofoam disc, at least 2-3 cm thick, may be used which is slightly smaller than the diameter of the pit and placed at the base. As the water level rises the disc floats and the animal will escape if the water level rises high enough. Alternatively, use a flat piece of wood or bark or a small stick.
- Use suspended lids to reduce predation and close lids during adverse weather conditions.
- Provide dry leaf litter, Dupont Hollofill, raw wool and soil or 35 mm PVC tubing to protect trapped animals.
- Providing material for shelter may result in snakes using the traps as refuges. In these areas, traps without shelter material may be used if they are at least 400 mm deep (so that there is sufficient shade inside throughout the day).
- On the first day of setting pitfall traps, a small amount of water should be added to the trap as appropriate to provide moisture for trapped animals.
- Consider the need for insecticides to prevent ant attacks of trapped animals in drier areas (for example Rid Roll-on or Coopex residual ant killer around the rim of the trap). However, insecticides should be used with caution, bearing in mind that the toxic effects of insecticides on most native species are unknown. Move the trap if ants start entering in numbers.
Radio transmitters are rarely necessary for general wildlife surveys so their use is not covered here in depth. See the Panel guideline, Radio tracking in wildlife research.
5.0 Surveys of bats
A description of bat survey methods can be found in Helman and Churchill (1986). Surveys for bats should be carried out by an experienced bat investigator as (apart from the fruit bats) little is known of their biology or taxonomy and species can be difficult to identify.
5.1 Methods not involving animal capture
Ultrasound detectors (for example, the AnaBat ™) can be used to detect bats without any impact and should be used whenever possible.
5.2 Methods involving animal capture
The following general points need to be considered when trapping bats:
- Whenever possible avoid trapping during the breeding season.
- Bats should be released at the point of capture as soon as possible. However, they should not be released in daylight. Those which cannot be released before dawn should be held until the following dusk.
- When necessary, bats should be held separately in suspended cloth bags in a dark, quiet and warm place.
- Bats may go into torpor in the trap or while held in bags and will need to be re-warmed before release.
- Care should be taken when handling both flying foxes and microbats, due to the zoonotic disease Australian bat lyssavirus (see Section 3.6).
5.2.2 Harp traps
A description of the use of harp traps can be found in Tidemann and Woodside (1978). Points additional to those in 5.2.1 that need consideration are:
- Set traps in a sheltered spot in potential flyways.
- Clear within two hours of dusk and again after dawn but before the sun begins to warm the hessian.
- Harp traps must not be used where large numbers of bats could be caught (for example at entrances to roost sites) to avoid the overheating of bats in the collection bag.
5.2.3 Mist nets
Points additional to those in 5.2.1 that need consideration are listed below:
Because of the high risk of injury and death to bats, mist nets should only be used where other methods have already been rejected as unsuitable.
Mist nets must only be used by trained and competent personnel. An appropriate authority for the use of mist nets by the Australian Bird and Bat Banding Scheme (ABBBS) is preferred.
- Only use mist nets after dark to avoid catching birds.
- The net must be attended at all times and captured bats removed immediately.
- Mist nets should not be used in areas where large numbers of bats could be caught (e.g. at entrances to roost sites).
- Nets should be closed when not attended and during the day.
5.3.4 Trip lines
Note that trip lines are ineffective for bats that can take off from water (eg fishing bats).
Points additional to those in 5.2.1 that need consideration are:
- Due to the risks of injury to bats, use other methods whenever possible.
- Monitor continually whenever the line is deployed.
- Be prepared to enter the water to rescue bats if necessary.
- Have at least one low-powered torch to collect bats since they will swim away from bright lights.
- Before any trapping is undertaken, the likelihood of platypus being present should be ascertained from other sources.
- In deep water habitats, lightly weighted gill nets should be used in case platypus are present to allow them to swim to the surface.
- Trapping must not be carried out during the months of October-March, when females are laying eggs and raising young, unless justified to the AEC.
- Gill nets should be manned continuously to detect when a platypus is caught eg by the splashing.
- Gill nets should be lifted every hour to check for snags and entrapped large fish.
- Nets should have a stretched mesh size of at least 150 mm, or be fitted with an entrance grill with a mesh size of less than 35 mm, or be set so that there is an air space available along the length of the net.
- Due to the potential to cause deaths of platypus and turtles, note that it is illegal to use opera-house style traps in some NSW waterways; check with NSW Fisheries before deployment.
- Captured platypus should be transferred to a clean bag or secure box and held in a quiet place until all nets are closed for the night, to minimise the likelihood of hypothermia, attack by predators or by other platypus (particularly between males in the breeding season).
7.0 Surveys of birds
7.1 Methods not involving animal capture
7.1.1 Direct Observation
- Avoid close range inspection during breeding and feeding.
- Carry out searches for nests, mounds, display areas, characteristic scrapes and scratchings, visual and auditory searches such as breeding calls.
7.1.2 Playback calls
- Avoid prolonged exposure by limiting calling sessions to two 15 minute periods per night.
- Use of play back calls during the species’ breeding season should be done with care so as not to disrupt the breeding of the resident pair.
7.1.3 Spotlighting owls
Examples of techniques to census owls can be found in Kavanagh and Peake (1993).
See also section 4.1.3 Spotlighting mammals.
7.2 Methods involving animal capture
7.2.1 Mist nets
Guidelines for using mist nets can be found in the Australian Bird Banders Manual (Lowe 1989).
- Because of the high risk of injury and death to birds, mist nets should only be used where other methods have already been rejected as unsuitable.
- Mist nets must only be used by trained and competent personnel. An appropriate authority for the use of mist nets by the Australian Bird and Bat Banding Scheme (ABBBS) is preferred.
- Mist nets should be attended at least every 30 minutes and captured birds removed immediately.
- Nets must be closed when not attended.
8.0 Surveys of reptiles and amphibians
A summary of survey methods for reptiles can be found in Blomberg and Shine (1996).
Choosing the correct season is critical for effective surveys of amphibians (and to a lesser extent with reptiles). Most amphibian species are active only during the warmer months of the year (Spring–Summer–Autumn), although there are some which are active only during the cooler months (Autumn and Winter). Outside of their active season many frogs aestivate or go into torpor, usually in burrows, hollows in trees, crevices in timber or rocks or under loose soil. When in torpor, they are undetectable. To a lesser extent this may also occur during the active season when weather conditions are unsuitable (eg dry).
8.2 Surveys not involving animal capture
8.2.1 Spotlighting amphibians with or without using playback
- Avoid excessive foot traffic around the water body.
- Keep exposure to a minimum to prevent overheating.
- Use a lower intensity light held at a distance for further observations.
8.3 Surveys involving animal capture
- Consider that hand searches carried out by experienced personnel under suitable conditions will locate nearly all species of reptiles and amphibians in an area within a short period of time which may mean that fewer traps or no traps at all need be set.
- Frogs should be handled as little as possible because handling removes skin secretions and predisposes the frog to fungal infections (White 1990), while continuous holding in the hand can result in overheating.
- Hygiene precautions as detailed in NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service (2001) must be observed when handling frogs and tadpoles, including the use of gloves.
- Gloved hands should be wetted in the local water or in wet grass/vegetation so that loss of skin secretions is minimised when frogs are first picked up.
- Frogs should be moistened with rainwater or water from the stream being surveyed after holding or can be held separately temporarily (up to 24 hours) in a new moist plastic bag containing some vegetation (although, in the dark, vegetation will absorb oxygen).
- Reptiles should be held separately in appropriately sized secure bags or boxes with some vegetation, or a moist paper towel, as appropriate, in a cool place.
- Tadpoles are often easier to find than adults and provide important information about habitats used and other measures of environmental quality. However, care needs to be taken when handling tadpoles, as handling can result in a high level of injury and death of the tadpoles. See Anstis (2002) for identification keys.
8.3.2 Hand searching for reptiles and amphibia
- Take care to uncover and reposition rocks and logs to prevent animal injuries and to avoid causing habitat disturbance which may affect the subsequent abundance of the species.
- Wash hands without soap (for instance in the water of the water body being surveyed or with rainwater) to reduce contamination from chemicals.
- Noose type devices to catch large reptiles should be used with care and sticks to pin snakes need to be padded to avoid causing damage.
- While all personnel must use gloves to handle frogs, smokers must use gloves when handling any amphibians to prevent absorption of nicotine through the animals’ skin.
8.3.3 Pitfall traps
Note that the Panel’s Guidelines for the Use of pitfall traps should be followed.
See also section 4.2.5 Dry pitfall traps.
- PVC tubing or objects such as a piece of wood, may be placed at the bottom to provide a perch or shelter for trapped animals. Burrowing animals prefer loose soil and, in western areas when trapping for lizards, provide a layer of sand.
- Use a saturated sponge to provide high moisture levels for trapped amphibians or provide water plus a dry area by using a rock or by tipping the trap so that the bottom has a dry and a wet area.
- Insecticides may be used where ants are prevalent (for example Rid Roll-on or Coopex residual ant killer around the rim of the trap). However, insecticides should be used with caution, bearing in mind that the toxic effects of insecticides on most reptiles and amphibians are unknown. Move the trap if ants start entering in numbers.
- Check twice a day.
8.3.4 Spider burrows
- Small drainage holes should be placed in the bottom.
- Keep handling time to a minimum.
9.0 Surveys of turtles
9.1 Freshwater turtles
- Set traps with an air space to prevent drowning of turtles or by-catch such as platypus, water rats or water birds. The air space can be maintained by use of a float (eg an empty drink container) or by tying the trap to an overhanging tree or log. Opera-house style traps can be tied to a stake on the bank. Note that is illegal to use opera-house style traps in some NSW waterways; check with NSW Fisheries before deployment.
- Traps should be checked at least at dawn and dusk. They should be checked more frequently if turtle numbers are high and during summer.
- Transport animals separately to avoid the risk of shell damage and hence infection. Keep cool during transport to avoid heat stress.
9.2 Marine turtles
- Marine turtles are very susceptible to heat stress, especially during transport. They can be cooled by the use of wet hessian bags.
- Confining the animals in small spaces increases the risk of abrasions, and hence infections. Marine turtles are best restrained by placing them on their backs in a cool place.
- During transport, insulate from heat and also from vibration. They are best transported within a vehicle rather than in the tray of a utility.
10.0 Surveys of fish
General information is available in Barker et al (2002) and Merrick 1990.
- Consider that fish are usually in their best condition in spring and early summer and will be able to cope with the shock of capture and recover more quickly than in the winter or in mid-summer after spawning.
- Use nets with soft mesh (for example, cotton or nylon) to reduce damage to the fish.
- Use appropriately sized and weighted traps to reduce the risk of non-target animals being caught.
- Fyke nets should have an air space by being set partially out of the water to prevent drowning of trapped mammals (such as platypus and water rats) or waterfowl. Otherwise they should have a means of escape.
- If possible, avoid using gill nets because fish caught in these often die (or are so damaged during removal that they are unlikely to survive) and because they have the potential to trap many non target species.
- Check and empty traps regularly.
- Handle the fish as little as possible.
- Minimise the removal of the fish’s protective mucous covering and reduce temperature shock by wetting hands first in the water from which the fish was caught.
- If electro fishing is being used for sampling, operators should have appropriate training and follow guidelines set out in NSW Fisheries (1997).
Any live non-human vertebrate, that is fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals, and encompassing domestic animals, purpose bred animals, livestock and wildlife.
Animal Ethics Committee
A committee constituted in accordance with the terms of reference and membership laid down by the Australian Code for Practice for the Use of Animals for Scientific Purposes (NHMRC 2004).
Anabat ™ detector
An electronic device designed to record the echolocation calls of bats (which are usually beyond human hearing) and analyse the characteristic calls of specific species. There are some limitations to this equipment such as inability to distinguish all species. For example it will not detect fruit bats which do not use echolocation. Direct observation can be used for these species.
A box made from sheet metal with an open door that is released and closes when an animal interferes with the bait in the trap. Sizes vary from quite small (for catching mice) to traps large enough to bandicoots. Because the most commonly used brand is Elliot, these are often referred to as Elliot traps.
Similar to a box trap except that the trap is made from steel mesh. Sizes vary from quite small (for catching mice) to traps large enough to trap dogs. The most commonly used size is 60 x 30 x 30 cm.
Standing and watching or walking in a particular direction for certain lengths of time using binoculars or a spotting scope to detect the range and number of birds or large mammals.
An acute or chronic response of an animal caused by stimuli that produce biological stress, which manifests as observable, abnormal physiological or behavioural responses.
The process of producing a painless death.
See box trap.
A net constructed of hoops decreasing in size with webbing between to form a cone shape and one or more funnels inside which prevent trapped fish from swimming out, (ie a 'hoop net') and which also has wings of one or two pieces of netting at the first hoop which are anchored into position with poles. These wings guide the fish into the net. Also known as wing, frame, trap or hoop nets.
A net of diamond shaped mesh which is set vertically. The fish is unable to back out because its gill covers get caught in the mesh.
Small PVC tubes lined with double sided sticky tape with an internal compartment where bait is placed. They may be more efficient and cost effective than the other methods for some rare or trap shy mammals.
An array of thin nylon fishing lines tensioned between two horizontal poles with an escape-proof hessian pocket located below. Bats fly into the lines, fall down undamaged into the pocket and crawl up to roost under a hessian flap.
See fyke net.
Large very fine nylon nets which are strung across potential flyways close to the ground between the vegetation in order to catch birds or bats which fly into them. It is very easy for both birds and bats to injure themselves or become distressed whilst being disentangled from these nets.
Pre-recordings of the calls of nocturnal birds (such as owls), frogs and arboreal mammals (such as the koala) which are then played back at night in order to elicit a response from any member of the target species present which may be a reply (or call back) or an approach. They are usually broadcast at various locations over a specified duration (eg 10 minutes initial listening, 15 minutes playing of the recording and 10 minutes listening for a response).
A glass, metal or plastic container sunk into the ground so that the mouth is level with the soil surface. Ground dwelling animals fall into the trap and are unable to escape.
A written outline of a project put forward for consideration by an AEC.
All those activities performed to acquire, develop or demonstrate knowledge or techniques in any scientific discipline, including activities for the purposes of teaching, field trials, environmental studies, research, diagnosis, product testing, and the production of biological products.
Small PVC tubes installed into the ground, covered by a metal or canvas roof. Tubes are checked for sheltering individuals which can be captured by hand for identification.
A single nylon line stretched 1.5-3cm above the surface of a body of water where bats are likely to fly, causing bats in flight to fall into the water and swim out where they are captured. These have much greater potential for damage to the animal than harp traps.
Any specimen, usually, but not always, a dead animal, which serves as a basis of study and is retained as a reference. A “type” specimen is a particular voucher specimen that serves as a basis for taxonomic description of that subspecies.
Free-living vertebrates of native, non-indigenous and feral species including captive bred animals and those captured from free-living populations.
American Society of Mammalogists Animal Care and Use Committee (1998)
Guidelines for the capture, handling and care of mammals as approved by the American Society of Mammalogists.
American Veterinary Medical Association (2000)
2000 Report of the AVMA Panel on Euthanasia. Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 218:669-696.
Anstis M. (2002) Tadpoles of South-east Australia. New Holland Publishers, Frenchs Forest, NSW
Bali R., Delaney R. (1996) Assessment of Koala Radiocollaring Studies in South eastern Australia. NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service, Hurstville.
Barker D., Allan GL., Rowland SJ., Pickles JM. (2002) A Guide to Acceptable Procedures and Practices for Aquaculture and Fisheries Research. NSW Fisheries Animal Care and Ethics Committee, Nelson Bay NSW
Barrett G., Barry S., Cunningham R., Poulter R., Silcocks A. (2004) The New Atlas of Australian Birds CSIRO, Melbourne.
Blomberg S., Shine R. in Sutherland, J (ed.) (1996) Ecological Census Techniques: a handbook. Cambridge University Press pp.218 - 226.
Catling PC., Burt RJ., Kooyman R. (1997) A comparison of techniques used in survey of the ground-dwelling and arboreal mammals in forests in north-eastern New South Wales. Wildlife Research 24: 217-432
Helman P., Churchill S. (1986) Bat capture techniques and their use in surveys. Macroderma 2:32-53.
Kavanagh R., Peake P. (1993) Survey procedures for nocturnal forest birds: an evaluation of the variability in census results due to temporal factors, weather and technique in P. Olsen (editor) Australian Raptor Studies. Australian Raptor Association, RAOU, Melbourne, pp 86-100.
Lindenmayer DB., Incoll RD., Cunningham RB., Pope ML., Donnelly CF., MacGregor CI., Tribolet C., Triggs BE. (1999) Comparison of hairtube types for the detection of mammals. Wildlife Research 26:745-753
Lowe KW. (1989) The Australian Bird and Bat Banders Manual. Australian National Parks and Wildlife Service, Canberra.
Merrick JR. in Hand S. (ed) (1990) Care and Handling of Australian Native Animals: Emergency Care and Capture Management. Surrey Beatty and Sons, pp.7 - 15.
Mills DJ., Harris B., Claridge AW., Barry SC. (2002) Efficacy of hair-sampling techniques for the detection of medium-sized terrestrial mammals. I. A comparison between hair-funnels, hair tubes and indirect signs. Wildlife Research 29:379-387
NHMRC (2004) The Australian Code of Practice for the Care and Use of Animals for Scientific Purposes. Australian Government Publishing Service, PO Box 84, Canberra ACT 2601.
NHMRC (1990) Guide to the use of Australian native mammals in biomedical research. Section One to Three and Section Four (1995), Australian Government Publishing Service, Canberra.
NSW Fisheries (1997) Australian Code of Electrofishing Practice. NSW Fisheries Management Publication No. 1
NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service (2001) NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service, Hurstville.
Hygiene protocol for the control of disease in frogs. Threatened Species Management Circular No. 6.
Parnaby H. (1992) Summary of the ultrasonic survey of the microbats of north east New South Wales, 1991/1992. Report to the NSW NPWS, August 1992.
Reilly J. (ed) (2001) Euthanasia of animals used for scientific purposes. ANZCCART, Glen Osmond, South Australia
Scotts DJ., Craig SA. (1988) Improved hair sampling tube for detection of rare mammals. Australian Wildlife Research 15: 469-72.
Strahan R. (1983) The Australian Museum Complete Book of Australian Mammals. Angus and Robertson, Sydney.
Tidemann CR., Woodside DP. (1978) A collapsible bat trap and a comparison of results obtained with the trap and mist nets. Australian Wildlife Research 5:355-362.
Triggs B. (1996) Tracks scats and other traces, A field guide to Australian mammals. Oxford University Press, Melbourne
Universities Federation for Animal Welfare (1996) Recommendations for euthanasia of experimental animals: Part 1. Laboratory Animals 30:293-316
Universities Federation for Animal Welfare (1997) Recommendations for euthanasia of experimental animals: Part 2. Laboratory Animals 31:1-32
Universities Federation for Animal Welfare /World Society for the Protection of Animals (1989) Euthanasia of Amphibians and Reptiles: Report of a Joint UFAW/WSPA Working Party. UFAW, South Mimms, Potters Bar, Herts, UK. And WSPA, London, UK.
Walraven E. (1990) Taronga Zoo’s Guide to the Care of Urban Wildlife Allen and Unwin, Sydney.
White A. in Hand S. (ed) (1990) Care and Handling of Australian Native Animals: Emergency Care and Capture Management. Surrey Beatty and Sons pp.17-40.
13.0 Relevant Animal Research Review Panel Policies and Guidelines
14.0 Overseas guidelines
American Society of Mammalogists Animal Care and Use Committee (1998)
Guidelines for the capture, handling and care of mammals as approved by the American Society of Mammalogists.
American Ornithologists Union (1988) Report of committee on use of wild birds in research. Auk 105 (1 Supplement) 1A-41A.
American Society of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists, the Herpetologists League and the Society for the Study of Amphibians and Reptiles (2001) Guidelines for the use of live amphibians and reptiles in field research. Available only online.
DeTolla LJ., Srinivas S., Whitaker BR., Andrews C., Hecker B., Kane AS., Reimschuessel R. (1995) Guidelines for the Care and Use of Fish in Research. ILAR Journal 37: 159-173.
Fisheries Society of the British Isles.
Fish Welfare Briefing Paper 2. Available online.
Orlans FB. (1988) Field research guidelines. Impact on animal care and use committees. Scientist’s Centre for Animal Welfare, Bethesda, Maryland.
Thanks to M. Murray, P. Burcher, A. Adair, K. Kendall, L. Lim, ERM Mitchell McCotter, B. Harden, the Australian Platypus Conservancy, the Victorian Department of Natural Resources and Environment, members of the Wildlife Advisory Group and the ethics committees they represent.
Revised in 2004 by Mr Bob Harden, Manager Vertebrate Pests Unit, NPWS and Mrs Amanda Paul, Veterinary Officer, Animal Welfare Branch, NSW Department of Primary Industries. Thanks to Dr G Körtner and Prof F Geiser for their contribution to the 2004 revision.
Animal Research Review Panel Guideline 10