Journal of wildlife diseases

Immobilization of Wyoming bears using carfentanil and xylazine.

PMID 23778620


Seven grizzly (Ursus arctos; four male, three female) and three black (Ursus americanus; two male, one female) bears caught in culvert traps or leg snares were immobilized in northwestern Wyoming with carfentanil and xylazine at doses, respectively, of 0.011 ± 0.001 and 0.12 ± 0.01 mg/kg for grizzly bears and 0.014 ± 0.002 and 0.15 ± 0.04 mg/kg for black bears. These drugs were antagonized with 1 mg/kg naltrexone and 2 mg/kg tolazoline. Induction and recovery times, respectively, were 4.3 ± 0.5 and 7.1 ± 0.8 min for grizzly bears and 5.2 ± 0.4 and 9.1 ± 2.2 min for black bears. Inductions were smooth and uneventful. Recoveries were characterized initially by increased respiration followed by raising of the head, which quickly led to a full recovery, with the bears recognizing and avoiding humans and moving away, maneuvering around obstacles. All bears experienced respiratory depression, which did not significantly improve with supplemental oxygen on the basis of pulse oximetry (P=0.56). Rectal temperatures were normothermic. Carfentanil-xylazine immobilization of bears provided significant advantages over other drug regimens, including small drug volumes, predictable inductions, quick and complete recoveries, and lower costs. On the basis of these data, both grizzly and black bears can be immobilized effectively with 0.01 mg/kg carfentanil and 0.1 mg/kg xylazine.