To recapture trap-shy Eurasian lynx (Lynx lynx) in Switzerland, we developed a selective and minimally invasive capture system (MICS). The device consists of a blowgun remotely controlled by means of 2 built-in cameras and a swiveling 2-way pan-tilt head. The blowgun is monitored and triggered from a distance of up to 400 m and is capable of shooting darts with high accuracy at distances of about 12 m. We darted lynx at kill sites, but the system generally can be used in any situation where a medium to large mammal stands still for a moment at a predictable distance. The MICS allows selection of specific individuals, thereby avoiding capture of nontarget animals. As there is no holding device, risk of injuries due to capture is minimized. Preliminary data on hematology and serum cortisol levels furthermore indicated that captures with the MICS induced less stress than captures with either box traps or foot-snares. We believe this new system opens new possibilities to capture cautious animals and provides considerable progress regarding animal welfare considerations.
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