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Kevin Donovan | March 25, 2013

When someone mentions Canada the first thought may be the great white north full of cold temperatures, snow and wildlife. In this ever expanding residential society we are less concerned about wildlife and more concerned on the size of our houses and the number of toys we have. It’s not a good trend to be in and that’s why we have the department of natural resources and the ministry of natural resources looking out for the well being of wildlife and all creatures living outdoors.  Scientific research and data collection are just part of what these dedicated groups of people do to help preserve a natural state of being. Wildlife identification through various forms is crucial in data collection and pattern prediction to prevent mass extinction of a species. Identification of an animal can be permanent or temporary depending on the study being conducted.

Here at Ketchum Manufacturing Inc. we specialize in animal and wildlife identification for both permanent and temporary forms of marking. Ketchum is celebrating its’ 100th anniversary in 2013 and the company all started with a simple and effective metal ear tag called the Kurl lock in 1913. The Kurl lock tag is a small metal tag that is a cost effective and a permanent form of identification for all animal sizes. The Kurl lock tag is available in many different sizes and several different colours, to provide the greatest range of wildlife identification. A tamperproof version is available to ensure the tag cannot be reused in any circumstances. There are several sizes of the Kurl lock tags available;

KL#2 and tamperproof a 35mm x 8mm (1 3/8” x 5/16”) tag available in plain steel, yellow and orange. These tags can have up to 6 characters on the front with 1 row of 10 or 2 rows of 8 characters on the back of the tag. The KL#2 is ideal for larger animals such as bear, deer, moose and elk.
The KL#3 a 29mm x 6mm (1 1/8” x 1/4) tag available in plain steel, aluminum, yellow and orange. These tags can have up to 6 characters on the front and up to 7 characters of 1 line on the back. The KL#3 is ideal for medium sized animals such as cougars, wolves and coyotes.
Wing tags or #1 a 5mm x 17mm (3/16” x 11/16”) tag available in plain aluminum, red, green or gold. These tags can have 4 letters or 6 consecutive numbers. The wing tags are perfect for tagging birds, water fowl and the dorsal fins of fish.

Aluminum leg bands 79mm x 10mm (3 1/8” x 3/8”) are made from a solid piece of metal with a button and three holes for different sizing. Applied with the K12 pliers the bands are a perfect solution for birds or small legged animals. The button on the band forms a positive seal that cannot be removed from the animal chewing or rubbing it.


Tattooing is another form of wildlife identification for permanent marking of an animal. Tattooing can be done on the ear for easy reading on animals such as wolves and coyotes, or on the inside of the lip for animals that have longer hair such as bear. Tattooing is effective and permanent form of identification for zoo animals. The benefit of a tattoo is that it is the most cost effective form of permanent identification. When applied properly the characters will be legible for the lifespan of the animal. Tattoos grow with the animal, when the wildlife are tattooed at birth or a young age using a small applicator the marking will grow and be comparable to a larger tattoo that is applied to an adult. Tattoo application can be done in 5 easy steps:  1. Clean the area that is to be tattooed from excess hair and dirt and rub with alcohol to reduce possible infection.  2. Apply the proper characters to the tattoo forceps.  3. Apply Ketchum ink or paste to the area to be tattooed.  4. Close the forceps onto the skin where the ink has been placed, piercing the skin and quickly release.  5. Rub the excess ink or paste in the holes where the tattoo characters left into subcutaneous layer of skin. Ketchum inks and pastes have a coagulant in them, to quickly stop any possible bleeding, and an antiseptic, to reduce possible infection.

Ketchum offers three different sizes of tattoo pliers to ensure animal s of all sizes are tattooed;

50D 4mm x 6mm (3/16” x 1/4") characters perfect for small animal tattoos or tattooing medium sized at birth such as coyotes.  The 50D pliers is available in 1 or 2 rows of 7 characters and in 1 row of 8 characters.

101 6mm x 9mm (1/4” x 3/8”) characters perfect for tattooing small animals with larger ears such as rabbits or tattooing medium sized animals at birth such as wolves.  The 101 pliers is available in 1 or 2 rows of 7.

201 9mm x 13mm (3/8” x 1/2") characters perfect for tattooing adult large animals such as deer and bear.  3 styles of pliers are available in the 201 series: 201B a single row of 6 characters, 201A a double row of 4 characters and the 201R a revolving head of 4 characters on 2 faces.

All of Ketchum tattoo forceps use a specially designed locking bar to allow for fast and easy change of characters. All pliers have a strong spring to allow for quick release of the applicator from the skin.

Ketchum inks and pastes

Ketchum provides a variety of inks and pastes to suit each application. There are three main colours available; White paste, great for dark skinned and dark haired animals. Black ink and paste, great for lighter skinned and lighter haired animals.  Green ink and paste, great for animals that have darker skin and lighter hair.

Dalton plastic ear tags

Plastic ear tags offer wildlife identification that is easy to read from a distance.  Ketchum offers the Dalton tags that have been popular in Europe for over 60 years.  The Suretag is a tamperproof plastic ear tag that is an accepted form of identification for large animals such as bear, deer, elk and moose. The tags are tamperproof because they are considered a onetime use tag. Once the male stem connects to the female panel neither portion can be reused in an animal. Ketchum offers in house printing on all Dalton tags to provide custom tags to suit each application, for example:  “drugged animal call before eating” or “natural resources call before eating”. The Dalton Suretags are a plastic panel tag with a button back combination that is small enough not to get snagged on brush or fences yet large enough to be clearly read from a distance. The Suretag printable area is 35mm wide by 20mm high with the total tag height being 40mm. The tags come in several colours; yellow, white, blue and pink. On special requests the suretag is available in a front and back panel tag to allow easy reading from either side of the ear.

Dalton Rototags are an excellent form of temporary or permanent plastic ear tag identification. The Rototag is a two piece dangle tag that is small yet easy to read and is cost effective compared to other versions of plastic ear tags. Each tag is 35mm x 10mm (1 3/8” x 3/8”) and comes in strips of 10 for easy handling. Custom printing can be done on these tags with both the front and back having the same or different print.  The colours available are yellow, green, white, blue, orange and pink.

Dalton Supertags are great plastic ear tags for larger wildlife and zoo animals such as rhinos, giraffes and zebras. The Supertags have a solid male stem the resists breaking thus reducing the number of lost tags.  The applicator is pinless that helps prevent ripped ears during tag application. The Supertag is available in three sizes: Maxi 75mm x 115mm (3” x 4.5”), Large 60mm x 75mm (2.36” x  2.95”) and Hog 55mm x 50mm (2.16” x 1.96”) and four convenient colours: yellow, white, blue and pink.

For more information or to place an order please contact us at 613-342-8455 or email at ketchum@ketchum.ca

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