Little information is available on chemical capture of the vulnerable subspecies within the genus Rupicapra. Low-dosage combinations of xylazine and ketamine were tested for immobilization of captive and free-ranging Apennine chamois, Rupicapra pyrenaica ornata (85 and 66 immobilizations, respectively) in a retrospective analysis. Of the six dosage groups, all of them providing an acceptable level of immobilization, the optimal trade-off between safety and efficacy was found following administration of a mean dosage of 0.24 ± 0.03 mg/kg xylazine and 1.07 ± 0.15 mg/kg ketamine, resulting in 7.50 ± 3.31 min induction time, deep sedation with no or limited reaction to handling in 96% of the chamois, minimal deviation of physiologic parameters from previously reported physiologic values for anesthetized or physically restrained chamois, and no mortality. Intravenous injection of idazoxan (0.05 ± 0.01 mg/kg) or atipamezole (0.38 ± 0.37 mg/kg) resulted in faster reversal than intravenous injection of tolazoline (1.05 ± 0.15 mg/kg) in 1.3 vs. 4.1 min. When free-ranging chamois were darted with similar xylazine and ketamine dosages, induction time was 8.49 ± 5.48 min, 88% of the animals were deeply sedated, and a single animal died from respiratory arrest (1.5% mortality). Intramuscular atipamezole provided smoother reversal than intravenous idazoxan. The results of this study suggest that xylazine/ketamine combinations, at remarkably lower dosage than previously published in Caprinae, may be safely and effectively used in chemical capture protocols of Apennine chamois, to facilitate conservation-oriented relocation and research.
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