California Department of Fish and Wildlife

Wildlife Investigations Lab - Wildlife Captures

Through WIL, CDFW is a nationally recognized leader in the development and use of safe wildlife capture techniques. WIL provides technical and field support on projects involving game and non-game species. Personnel from WIL have conducted wildlife capture and handling classes for 40 years in California, primarily to train and certify CDFW personnel to safely capture and handle native and exotic wildlife species. Wildlife law enforcement personnel and biologists from other state and federal wildlife agencies, university students, wildlife researchers, and city and county animal control officers have also attended the wildlife restraint classes.

For all CDFW field capture projects, WIL provides on-site veterinary medical expertise, directs the necessary protocols for the collection of biological samples for health monitoring, and oversees animal handling, welfare and safety. WIL provides capture expertise, planning and coordination, personnel and equipment for wildlife captures statewide; acquires and maintains specialized capture equipment, supplies and vehicles; continually researches and develops new, safer and more efficient wildlife capture and handling techniques and equipment; provides ear tags to field personnel to mark and identify each animal captured and disease tested, and maintains databases of disease testing results.

WIL's wildlife captures has resulted in the establishment of new and viable populations of elk, bighorn sheep, fisher, deer, and antelope. Thousands of large mammals have been captured, marked, radio-collared, and disease-tested by WIL personnel as part of applied research projects statewide. Data generated from this endeavor have provided CDFW biologists with information for management decisions and archived biological samples and capture records remain housed at WIL for future research.