As part of ongoing culling operations, European badgers (Meles meles) were captured using stopped restraints in winter (October to December 2005) and summer (May to June 2006) in the Republic of Ireland. A subset of these badgers, those caught during four consecutive nights, was examined postmortem to determine the frequency and severity of physical injuries resulting from capture in the restraints. The skin and the tissues underlying the restraint of 343 badgers were assessed for injury by visual examination. There was an absence of skin damage or only minor skin abrasions in 88% of badgers; an absence of subcutaneous tissue injury or only localized subcutaneous tissue injury in 69%; and an absence of muscle injury or only slight muscle bruising in 99% of badgers. Only 2% of badgers had cuts to the skin and 5.5% had extensive subcutaneous edema, whereas 1.2% had areas of hemorrhage and tearing of the underlying muscle. Our results show that the majority of badgers examined sustained minimal injuries attributable to capture in stopped restraints.
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Vol. 45 • No. 2