[MARMAM] Large whale euthanasia

Michael Moore mmoore at whoi.edu
Fri Feb 7 18:51:56 PST 2014


On behalf of Craig Harms and co-authors the following paper is available 
Open Access by clicking on this link
http://www.jwildlifedis.org/doi/full/10.7589/2013-03-074

or the pdf is at http://www.jwildlifedis.org/doi/pdf/10.7589/2013-03-074


  LOW-RESIDUE EUTHANASIA OF STRANDED MYSTICETES

*Craig A.Harms^1, 
<http://www.jwildlifedis.org/doi/abs/10.7589/2013-03-074#aff1>^9 
<http://www.jwildlifedis.org/doi/abs/10.7589/2013-03-074#cor1>,William 
A.McLellan^2 
<http://www.jwildlifedis.org/doi/abs/10.7589/2013-03-074#aff2>,Michael 
J.Moore^3 
<http://www.jwildlifedis.org/doi/abs/10.7589/2013-03-074#aff3>,Susan 
G.Barco^4 
<http://www.jwildlifedis.org/doi/abs/10.7589/2013-03-074#aff4>,Elsburgh 
O. Clarke,III^5, 
<http://www.jwildlifedis.org/doi/abs/10.7589/2013-03-074#aff5>^8 
<http://www.jwildlifedis.org/doi/abs/10.7589/2013-03-074#aff8>,Victoria 
G.Thayer^6 
<http://www.jwildlifedis.org/doi/abs/10.7589/2013-03-074#aff6>, 
andTeresa K.Rowles^7 
<http://www.jwildlifedis.org/doi/abs/10.7589/2013-03-074#aff7>*

^1 Department of Clinical Sciences and Center for Marine Sciences and 
Technology, College of Veterinary Medicine, North Carolina State 
University, 303 College Circle, Morehead City, North Carolina 28557, USA

^2 Biology and Marine Biology, University of North Carolina Wilmington, 
601 South College Road, Wilmington, North Carolina 28403, USA

^3 Biology Department, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, 266 Woods 
Hole Road, Woods Hole, Massachusetts 02543, USA

^4 Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center, 717 General Booth 
Boulevard, Virginia Beach, Virginia 23451, USA

^5 Department of Clinical Sciences and Center for Marine Sciences and 
Technology, College of Veterinary Medicine, North Carolina State 
University, 303 College Circle, Morehead City, North Carolina 28557, USA

^6 North Carolina Division of Marine Fisheries and Center for Marine 
Sciences and Technology, 303 College Circle, Morehead City, North 
Carolina 28557, USA

^7 Office of Protected Resources, National Marine Fisheries Service, 
1315 East-West Highway, 13th Floor, Silver Spring, Maryland 20910, USA

^8 Current address: Audubon Aquarium of the Americas, 1 Canal Street, 
New Orleans, Louisiana 70130, USA

Abstract

Euthanasia of stranded large whales poses logistic, safety, 
pharmaceutical, delivery, public relations, and disposal challenges. 
Reasonable arguments may be made for allowing a stranded whale to expire 
naturally. However, slow cardiovascular collapse from gravitational 
effects outside of neutral buoyancy, often combined with severely 
debilitating conditions, motivate humane efforts to end the animal's 
suffering. The size of the animal and prevailing environmental 
conditions often pose safety concerns for stranding personnel, which 
take priority over other considerations. When considering chemical 
euthanasia, the size of the animal also necessitates large quantities of 
euthanasia agents. Drug residues are a concern for relay toxicity to 
scavengers, particularly for pentobarbital-containing euthanasia 
solutions. Pentobarbital is also an environmental concern because of its 
stability and long persistence in aquatic environments. We describe a 
euthanasia technique for stranded mysticetes using readily available, 
relatively inexpensive, preanesthetic and anesthetic drugs (midazolam, 
acepromazine, xylazine) followed by saturated KCl delivered via 
custom-made needles and a low-cost, basic, pressurized canister. This 
method provides effective euthanasia while moderating personnel exposure 
to hazardous situations and minimizing drug residues of concern for 
relay toxicity.


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