Despite precautions to protect cranes, a 3-year-old endangered Mississippi sandhill crane (Grus canadensis pulla) was found caught in a leghold trap in Gautier, Mississippi, on 11 November 1987. The bird could have been in the trap for up to 16 hr and was standing and struggling to escape when it was discovered. Serum chemistries of the crane on 12 November revealed elevated lactic dehydrogenase (2,880 IU/L), alanine aminotransferase (ALT) (152 IU/L), and aspartate aminotransferase (AST) (>1,000 IU/L) values. Following surgical amputation of a fractured toe, the bird never attempted to stand and was unable to stand even when manually supported. Radiographic and physical examination of both legs did not reveal any anatomical abnormalities. Despite medical care, including supportive therapy, no improvement was observed in the bird's ability to stand and to support itself, and the bird died on 19 November. Serum chemistries and the postmortem and histopathologic findings were compatible with capture myopathy described in other species. Because of the possible susceptibility of long-legged birds such as the Mississippi sandhill crane to capture myopathy, special care must be taken when trapping, handling, chemically immobilizing, and transporting these species. In addition, precautions must be taken when conducting a predator-control program to ensure that nontarget wildlife are unlikely to encounter traps. Capture myopathy has only rarely been observed in wild birds, and this case represents the first report in a Mississippi sandhill crane.
Additional Publication Details
Capture myopathy in an endangered sandhill crane (Grus canadensis pulla)