COMBELEN© AS A POSSIBLE CHEMICAL AGENT FOR THE IMMOBILIZATION OF PRIMATES IN CONSERVATION AND OTHER PROJECTS Clara B. Jones Community Conservation, Inc. Livingstone College The worldwide biodiversity crisis, induced by anthropogenic factors (e.g., habitat destruction, hunting: Myers et al., 2000; Cowlishaw and Dunbar, 2000; Jones, 1997), has generated a new discipline ("conservation biology") with its own set of descriptive and hypothetico-deductive programs. Translocation ("artificial dispersal," the movement of one or more organisms from one location to another: Jones, 1999 and references therein) and other procedures (e.g., restocking and reintroduction: Cowlishaw and Dunbar, 2000, Chapter 11) requiring immobilization of animals (e.g., to evaluate health status) are often required for the implementation and/or completion of these projects. Malik and Johnson (1991), for example, translocated Rhesus monkeys (Macaca mulatta) in India from a crowded to a low-density region, enhancing opportunities for successful growth and/or reproduction. Horwich et al. (1993) reported their classic translocation of Belizean black howler monkeys (Alouatta pigra) from fragmented to less disturbed habitats. Rodriguez-Luna & Cortés-Ortiz (1994) described translocation of mantled howlers (A. palliata) from fragmented forests in Mexico to a secure island environment. In each of these cases, immobilization was effected with chemical agents administered by capture rifle. The most common method of immobilization in primate projects involves the use of chemical agents, particularly Ketamine hydrochloride (KH) or Tiletamine hydrochloride (see Ancrenaz et al., 2003; Glander et al., 1991; Scott et al., 1976). The relative advantages and disadvantages of these drugs are discussed in these reports in addition to modes of administration and other methods and procedures. Here, I report that, in addition to KH, I have used Propionyl promazine (COMBELEN©, Bayer Chemical, http://www.sanidadanimal.com/productos/combelen) to immobilize primates in Costa Rican tropical dry forest (Frankie et al., 1974). This chemical agent appears to have several advantages in comparison with KH. During eight years of intermittent research (1973-1980) in Guanacaste, Costa Rica (e.g., Jones, 1980, 1982, 1994), mantled howler monkeys (A. palliata) were immobilized with a capture rifle to obtain morphometric data, to mark animals or to replace marks, to assess animals' physical condition (e.g., ectoparasites), and to conduct experiments. When not using KH in association with the research efforts of Dr. Norman J. Scott, Jr (Fish and Wildlife Service, USA) at Hacienda La Pacífica, Cañas, Guanacaste, Costa Rica, I purchased COMBELEN©, after consultation with a veterinarian, without permit or prescription from an agricultural supply house. Following specifications indicated in the instructions accompanying the drug and using a capture rifle provided by Scott, I proceeded to immobilize animals when necessary for my ongoing projects. COMBELEN© had three clear advantages over KH: (1) it was easily available in Costa Rica; (2) it was inexpensive; and, (3) it relaxed the prehensile tail of mantled howlers more effectively than KH, with direct benefits for the safe and rapid retrieval of these arboreal monkeys. In my opinion, fewer accidents and consequent injuries as well as fewer deleterious side effects were associated with the use of COMBELEN© compared with KH; however, these speculations require documentation. Of course, as pointed out by Ancrenaz et al. (2003), numerous factors determine the successful use of chemical agents in the field with primates. In conclusion, it is suggested that COMBELEN© may be a robust alternative chemical agent to KH and other drugs commonly used for the immobilization of primates in conservation and other projects. Research is required to document the apparent advantages of COMBELEN©, particularly for studies with arboreal primates and with prehensile-tailed monkeys. It is especially noted that COMBELEN© is readily available in habitat countries. References: Ancrenaz, M., Setchell, J.M., & Curtis, D.J. (2003). Handling, anesthesia, health evaluation and biological sampling. In J.M. Setchell & D.J. Curtis (Eds.), Field and laboratory methods in primatology (pp. 122-139). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Cowlishaw, G., & Dunbar, R. (2000). Primate conservation biology. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press. Frankie, G.W., Baker, H.G., & Opler, P.A. (1974). Comparative phenological studies of trees in tropical wet and dry forests in the lowlands of Costa Rica. J. Ecol., 62, 881-919. Glander, K.E., Fedigan, L.M., Fedigan, L., & Chapman, C.A. (1991). Field methods for capturing and measurement of three monkey species in Costa Rica. Folia Primatol., 57, 70-82. Horwich, R.H., Koontz, F., Saqui, E., Saqui, H., & Glander, K. (1993). A reintroduction program for the conservation of the black howler monkey in Belize. Endangered Species Update, 10, 1-6. Jones, C.B. (1980). The functions of status in the mantled howler monkey, Alouatta palliata Gray: Intraspecific competition for group membership in a folivorous Neotropical primate. Primates, 21, 389-405. Jones, C.B. (1982). A field manipulation of spatial relations among male mantled howler monkeys. Primates, 23, 130-134. Jones, C.B. (1994). Injury and disease of the mantled howler monkey in fragmented habitats. Neotropical Primates, 2, 4-5. Jones, C.B. (1997). Rarity in primates: Implications for conservation. Mastozoologia Neotropical, 4, 35-47. Jones, C.B. (1999). A method to determine when active translocation of nonhuman primates is justified. Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science, 2, 229-238. Malik, I., & Johnson, R.L. (1991). Trapping and conservation: Development of a translocation in India. In A. Ehara, T. Kimura, & M. Iwamoto (Eds.), Primatology today (pp. 63-64). Amsterdam: Elsevier. Myers, N., Mittermeier, R.A., Mittermeier, C.G., da Fonseca, G.A.B., & Kent, J. (2000). Biodiversity hotspots for conservation priorities. Nature, 403, 853-858. Rodriguez-Luna, E., & Cortés-Ortiz, L. (1994). Translocacion y seguimiento de un grupo de monos Alouatta palliata liberado en una isla (1988-1994). Neotropical Primates, 2, 1-5. Scott, Jr., N.J., Scott, A.F., & Malmgren, L.A. (1976). Capturing and marking howler monkeys for field behavioral studies. Primates, 17, 527-534. Correspondence to: Clara B. Jones, Ph.D., Department of Psychology, Livingstone College, School of Liberal Arts, 701 W. Monroe Street, Salisbury, NC 28144, U.S.A.; Office Phone:(704)216-6059; E-mail: email@example.com(O); firstname.lastname@example.org(H).
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