Wildlife Damage Management, Internet Center for


Date of this Version

January 2003


Veterinary drugs play a valuable role in wildlife management and research. They are used widely for a variety of reasons, in particular, the capture and restraint of wild animals (Table 1). However, the availability and use of veterinary drugs is threatened if government regulations or the public trust are violated. Drug residues in wildlife are an important public health concern, especially for those who consume wild meat. Although the likelihood of consuming meat from a wild animal administered drug shortly before death is small, wildlife personnel (conservation officers, park wardens, biologists, veterinarians, etc.) are still confronted from time to time with the question, “Is the meat of a drugged animal safe to eat?” And, because data regarding the safety of drug residues and their rates of clearance from the tissues of wild animals are few, answers can sometimes seem uncertain. As a consequence, credibility may be weakened and the public left wondering.