We've seen TASER electroshock weapons designed for law enforcement, personal protection and even riot control, but in all of the above cases, it's a human on the receiving end. Now the company has a different target in sight for its "less lethal" technology ... and it's one that could create as much controversy as its predecessors – the TASER Wildlife Electronic Control Device (ECD).
Introduced at this week's SHOT Show in Las Vegas, the TASER Wildlife ECD has been developed as an alternative tool for less effective methods of animal control used by wildlife professionals like chemical or acoustic repellents. It is designed for use on large animals like bears and elk.
"The TASER Wildlife ECD is an extension of TASER's technology to save animal lives," said Rick Smith, CEO and co-founder of TASER International. "It is designed to incapacitate larger animals more effectively and safer than current animal control tools."
The wildlife specific model is a three-shot, semi-automatic that can deliver a pulse from up to 35 feet (10.6 m) away. It's been ruggedized to stand-up to sea spray, rain, dust and short-term water submersion, and has the same logging and dual range laser targeting systems as the TASER X3 on which it is based. The MSRP has been set at US$2,000.
The company says that while it "believes that the modification of human behavior is the key to the management of human-animal conflicts, it sometimes becomes necessary for wildlife managers to utilize tools to modify animal behavior." Programs are being developed to train wildlife professionals in the safe use of these ECDs, but like any weapon, it's open misuse by humans and controversy is most likely to arise when it falls into the hands of untrained, unprofessional users.
Of course, we can't ask even smarter than average bears what they think.