In 1986, 213 polar bears (Ursus maritimus) were immobilized with Telazol® on the sea ice of the eastern Beaufort Sea during April and May, and 106 along the western coast of Hudson Bay near Churchill, Manitoba (Canada) in September. No animals died from handling. The efficacy of this drug at different seasons and the physiological responses of the immobilized bears were compared. A single injection of 8 to 9 mg of Telazol per kg of body weight gave a rapid full immobilization with satisfactory analgesia, and faster recovery than other drugs for which there is no antagonist. The reactions of the bears could be reliably and easily interpreted from a safe distance before the animal was approached. There was a wide range of tolerance to high dosages and bears appeared able to thermoregulate while immobilized. The mortality rate due to handling was lower than with any other drug used to date.
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Vol. 25 • No. 2