The makers of Taser stun guns, used by police on individuals who are resisting arrest or fleeing, are now making a Taser weapon for stunning large wild animals. “Just as our Taser technology is a safer and more effective option to stop dangerous individuals, the Taser Wildlife ECD [Electronic Control Device] is an extension of Taser’s technology to save animal lives. It is designed to incapacitate larger animals more effectively and safer than current animal control tools,” said says Rick Smith, Taser CEO. (Source: The Register)
The wildlife Taser shoots metal darts up to 35 feet, which are supposed to hit the animal and then send a 20,000 volt pulse of electricity. Such a massive jolt causes the loss of muscle control rendering the animal helpless for a short period.
There have been a few examples of Tasers being used on wildlife in recent years. In Oregon, an elk caught in a barbed wire fence was tased to subdue it during a successful rescue. The animal reportedly was not harmed and ran away after being freed.
The Alaska Department of Fish and Game is studying the use of Tasers for stunning troublesome wild animals. They were prompted to do so when one of their wildlife technicians was with a state trooper attempting to help rescue two trapped moose calves. The mother would not let them get anywhere near the calves to help them. The trooper decided to try his Taser on the mother moose. The tasing caused the moose to lose control of its body and fall to the ground briefly. It then ran into the woods long enough for the two men to free the calves. Since then, the wildlife technician has worked with the department to study the effects of Tasers on moose and bears. He has also worked with Taser to help improve the design of the device.
The argument for stunning wild animals with electricity, rather than using tranquilizer darts, is that the side effects of the drugs used in tranquilizing can be serious when used repeatedly. For example, a tranquilizer called Telazol may cause damage to large wild cats. The argument against using an electroshock weapon on wild animals would have to include the possibility of overuse to the point of abuse.
One would hope the requirements for purchasing a wildlife Taser would be very strict, as the potential to use it to torment animals by immature or mentally unwell individuals is very high. Additionally, being within a range of 35 feet or less would appear to be in such a dangerous position that if one missed the animal target or the weapon did not stun the animal, the shooter might simply enrage the animal further.
Image Credit: Dickbauch
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