The long-term objective of the Fur Institute of Canada's trap research program has always been to provide efficient, humane and safe tools to the trapper. Equally important is the development of advanced testing methods.
Developments in infrared photography, movement sensors and video cameras provide the technology needed to record activity at the actual trap location. This technology allows researchers to observe the behaviour of target animals as they approach the trap set and provides information on how to avoid the capture of non-target animals.
In addition, the Institute, in partnership with the Alberta Innovates Technology Futures, now uses computer programs that replicate the interaction of a specific species with a computer-drawn trap. This is called Computer Simulation Modeling, or CSM. By loading all of the data acquired in past research into a specially designed program, CSM enables researchers to "test" a computer-generated trap on a computer-generated animal, which minimizes the number of live animals required for the research.
All research by the Fur Institute of Canada and the Alberta Innovates Technology Futures is conducted in accordance with the Canadian Council on Animal Care laboratory standards. In addition to governing the care and treatment of animals used in research, these standards are designed to reduce and replace the use of animals in research where possible.
The Fur Institute and Alberta Innovates Technology Futures have sought to develop ways to reduce, and eventually eliminate, the need for using live animals to evaluate trap performance. With advancements in computer technology and, more significantly, the accumulation of data through live animal/trap tests in the compound, the research team has developed species-specific computer models that simulate trap tests.
In addition, the Institute has developed an unparalleled database and expertise on trapping and furbearing animals. The result has been a reduction in the use of test animals over the years. As of 2009, over 450 types of traps had been evaluated including 110 using computer simulation models.
In 1997, Canada, Russia and the European Union committed to an Agreement on International Humane Trapping Standards (AIHTS ), which sets out trap performance requirements for 19 wild animal species that are trapped for various reasons in those countries. Twelve of these species are found in Canada. The trap research program is currently focused on evaluating trapping devices, using ISO (International Organization for Standardization) testing procedures to determine whether they meet the requirements of the AIHTS.
The Institute's trap research program has provided expertise and access to technological information to numerous countries, including the United Kingdom, the United States, France, Sweden, Germany, Holland, Belgium, Argentina, New Zealand, Norway, Finland, Chile and Russia.
The Government of Canada, the International Fur Trade Federation, other fur industry sectors, and the provincial and territorial governments support the Institute's trap research and testing activities.
The Institute regularly publishes and updates a list of the traps that have been certified by the provincial and territorial governments as fulfilling the terms of the AIHTS. The most recent list is on the website, and also available on request.
The Fur Institute of Canada will continue to explore the potential for developing an international network for the coordination of research and testing of trapping systems.
Also visit the FIC Library for downloadable literature and scientific reports.
Click here for the current Certified Traps List.
Over the years trappers have sought to improve their traps so they would be both humane and capture-efficient. Trap performance can only be verified through a comprehensive scientific process to evaluate all components of a trapping system.
In 1985, the Fur Institute of Canada initiated a comprehensive research and development program to ensure that Canadian trapping methods are as humane as current technology allows while still being efficient and safe for the trapper.
Through its research efforts in partnership with the Alberta Innovates Technology Futures, the Institute has also addressed concerns for improvements to animal welfare, the efficiency of animal capture devices and the conservation of wildlife populations.
The Institute's program has brought together traditional knowledge, science and new technologies in a comprehensive approach to trap improvement. The Institute's research partner, the Alberta Innovates Technology Futures has a team of specialists providing the knowledge and infrastructure needed to meet the requirements of the research program and ensure scientific credibility.
As a result of this partnership, it is possible to measure progress and continue to innovate as new technologies are developed. The Institute's program places Canada as the world leader in trap research.