Sixteen captive and five free-ranging black bears (Ursus americanus) were immobilized with a combination of butorphanol, azaperone, and medetomidine (BAM). The BAM drug combination was premixed using 0.5 ml butorphanol (30 mg/ml), 0.25 ml aza-perone (50 mg/ml), and 0.25 ml medetomidine (20 mg/ml) per milliliter to yield a final mix of (15 mg butorphanol 12.5 mg azaperone 5 mg medetomidine)/ml. This combination, dosed at 0.4 ml BAM/∼23 kg estimated body weight, provided a mean induction time of 10 min (95% confidence interval [CI] = 2 min), consistent anesthesia without apparent adverse effects, and smooth recovery (mean = 15 min, 95% CI = 4 min) after antagonism with atipamezole (5 mg/mg medetomidine) alone or in combination with naltrexone (5 mg/mg butorphanol). Based on our initial observations, BAM appears to be a reversible and accessible drug combination for immobilizing black bears that merits further evaluation for field use.
Atipamezole, azaperone, black bear, butorphanol, chemical immobilization, medetomidine, naltrexone, Ursus americanus.