During a broader study of canid ecology in South Africa in 2005 and 2006, we evaluated the efficiency and safety of Soft Catch foothold traps for both capturing black-backed jackals (Canis mesomelas) and excluding non-target species. With the pan tension set at 1.75 kg, the capture efficiency was 88% for black-backed jackals (15 captured/17 visits), with no (80%) or very minor (20%) visible injuries to captured jackals. The exclusion efficiency for non-target species was 93% (42 not captured/45 visits). Two aardwolves (Proteles cristatus) and one bat-eared fox (Otocyon megalotis) were captured and released with no injuries, while one other aardwolf, 18 other foxes and 24 individuals from numerous smaller species were excluded. Our results indicate that black-backed jackals can be safely and efficiently captured in Soft Catch traps while excluding most non-target species, if traps are checked regularly and pan tensions are set at the appropriate weight.
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Vol. 38 • No. 2