Techniques and practices of Australian pest animal trappers.
We conducted a survey of trappers to gather baseline information on the trapping methods and humane practices used in Australia, the types of traps being used, and the attitudes of trappers. Respondents indicated that they mostly trapped wild dogs and foxes with feral cats as by-catch; rabbits were trapped to a lesser degree. Respondents favoured Jake and Victor #3 traps for the capture of wild dogs. Victor #1.5, #3 and Jake traps were also favoured for capturing foxes and feral cats. Although some trappers placed up to four traps together in a set, a single trap per set was the most commonly reported approach. Trap maintenance varied between individuals but most said they checked traps for problems during deployment. Respondents preferred the term 'rubber jawed traps' over the plethora of other synonyms in current use. All respondents were cognisant of animal welfare requirements but their acceptance and adoption of related trapping methods varied. Most did not believe that licensing was required to govern trapping practices in Australia. Euthanasia was most commonly undertaken by shooting the captured animal in the head, although rabbits and some non-target animals were reportedly dispatched by a blow to the head. This is the first survey of Australian trappers and provides a benchmark for understanding trapping culture, practices and practitioner expectations so these can be considered in policy development and implementation.