Capturing animals is an essential tool of wildlife management, but the use of capture devices is being affected by public pressures on an international scale. In Europe, and particularly Spain, foxes (Vulpes vulpes) are often captured using traditional methods such as nonlocking Spanish Snares (SS) set in an ad hoc fence line known as an alar, but these traditional European methods are rarely compared to modernly described restraints such as the Wisconsin Cable Restraint (WR). We evaluated rates of efficiency, selectivity, injury, and impacts to foxes and nontarget species when using SS (as traditionally set in an alar) or WR within alars or on trails in Castilla-La Mancha, Spain. During 40,372 trap-nights from summer to winter of 2007, we captured 64 foxes, and 8 of 23 potential nontarget species. Our results indicated that WR set in trails were more efficient (0.28 capture rate) for capturing red foxes than SS set in an alar (0.11 capture rate). Relative to injury, foxes captured with the WR in the alar (95.4%), and WR in trails (90.5%), and the SS (90.9%) showed no indicators of poor welfare, and injury score analysis indicated that injuries were of similar magnitude for all capture devices. Overall, the WR set in trails may have performed the best, but all 3 methods are likely sufficient for capturing foxes with minimal injury, acceptable efficiency, and acceptable impact to foxes and sympatric nontarget species. Thus, wildlife managers in Spain and elsewhere can apply our findings to optimize capture and management of foxes.
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Vol. 74 • No. 1