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Blue Lake, CA, United States

Wengert G.M.,University of California at Davis | Gabriel M.W.,Integral Ecology Research Center | Foley J.E.,University of California at Davis | Kun T.,University of California at Davis | Sacks B.N.,University of California at Davis
Wildlife Society Bulletin | Year: 2013

Identifying predators of threatened and endangered species is important for understanding and reducing the impacts of predation. Visible evidence collected from a carcass alone is often insufficient to accurately identify predator species. The DNA from the predator left on the carcass allows for a definitive identification of predator species associated with the carcass, but DNA can be difficult to isolate independently from the prey. We developed field collection and molecular protocols for amplifying canid and felid predator DNA from saliva on fisher (Martes pennanti) carcasses without amplifying fisher DNA itself. We tested the protocol on fisher carcasses suspected of having been killed by a bobcat (Lynx rufus), mountain lion (Puma concolor), coyote (Canis latrans), and domestic dog. We successfully amplified and sequenced DNA from these 4 predator species, confirming predation by them on fishers. We confirmed that these protocols could also identify other felid and canid predators of several other small NorthAmerican carnivores. © 2013 The Wildlife Society. Source

Keller S.M.,University of California at Davis | Gabriel M.,Integral Ecology Research Center | Gabriel M.,University of California at Davis | Terio K.A.,University of Illinois Zoological Pathology Program | And 7 more authors.
Journal of Wildlife Diseases | Year: 2012

Four fishers (Martes pennanti) from an insular population in the southern Sierra Nevada Mountains, California, USA died as a consequence of an infection with canine distemper virus (CDV) in 2009. Three fishers were found in close temporal and spatial relationship; the fourth fisher died 4 mo later at a 70 km distance from the initial group. Gross lesions were restricted to hyperkeratosis of periocular skin and ulceration of footpads. All animals had necrotizing bronchitis and bronchiolitis with syncytia and intracytoplasmic inclusion bodies. Inclusion bodies were abundant in the epithelia of urinary bladder and epididymis but were infrequent in the renal pelvis and the female genital epithelia. No histopathologic or immunohistochemical evidence for virus spread to the central nervous system was found. One fisher had encephalitis caused by Sarcocystis neurona and another had severe head trauma as a consequence of predation. The H gene nucleotide sequence of the virus isolates from the first three fishers was identical and was 99.6% identical to the isolate from the fourth fisher. Phylogenetically, the isolates clustered with other North American isolates separate from classical European wildlife lineage strains. These data suggest that the European wildlife lineage might consist of two separate subgroups that are genetically distinct and endemic in different geographic regions. The source of infection as well as pertinent transmission routes remained unclear. This is the first report of CDV in fishers and underscores the significance of CDV as a pathogen of management concern. © Wildlife Disease Association 2012. Source

Wengert G.M.,University of California at Davis | Gabriel M.W.,Integral Ecology Research Center | Matthews S.M.,Wildlife Conservation Society | Higley J.M.,Hoopa Tribal Forestry | And 10 more authors.
Journal of Wildlife Management | Year: 2014

Interspecific killing is common among carnivores and can have population-level effects on imperiled species. The fisher (Pekania [Martes] pennanti) is a rare forest carnivore in western North America and a candidate for listing under the United States Endangered Species Act. Interspecific killing and intraguild predation are poorly understood in fishers and potential threats to existing western populations. We studied the prevalence and patterns of interspecific killing of fishers in the southern Sierra Nevada and Coastal Range of California. We collected forensic evidence and samples from the carcasses and predation sites, conducted full necropsies when possible, and used molecular methods to determine species of predators responsible for killing fishers. We recovered 101 (59 female, 42 male) fisher carcasses; for 62 (61%) carcasses, we attributed cause of death to interspecific killing. We found that bobcats (Lynx rufus, n = 25 fisher mortalities), mountain lions (Puma concolor, n = 20), and coyotes (Canis latrans, n = 4) were predators of fishers in our study areas. Bobcats killed only female fishers, whereas mountain lions more frequently killed male than female fishers, confirming our hypothesis that female fishers would suffer lethal attacks by smaller predators than would male fishers. Coyotes rarely killed fishers. We found differences in pathologic characteristics of the predation events among the 3 predator species, which may be helpful in identifying predator species. © 2014 The Wildlife Society. Source

Gabriel M.W.,Integral Ecology Research Center | Gabriel M.W.,University of California at Davis | Woods L.W.,University of California at Davis | Poppenga R.,University of California at Davis | And 10 more authors.
PLoS ONE | Year: 2012

Anticoagulant rodenticide (AR) poisoning has emerged as a significant concern for conservation and management of non-target wildlife. The purpose for these toxicants is to suppress pest populations in agricultural or urban settings. The potential of direct and indirect exposures and illicit use of ARs on public and community forest lands have recently raised concern for fishers (Martes pennanti), a candidate for listing under the federal Endangered Species Act in the Pacific states. In an investigation of threats to fisher population persistence in the two isolated California populations, we investigate the magnitude of this previously undocumented threat to fishers, we tested 58 carcasses for the presence and quantification of ARs, conducted spatial analysis of exposed fishers in an effort to identify potential point sources of AR, and identified fishers that died directly due to AR poisoning. We found 46 of 58 (79%) fishers exposed to an AR with 96% of those individuals having been exposed to one or more second-generation AR compounds. No spatial clustering of AR exposure was detected and the spatial distribution of exposure suggests that AR contamination is widespread within the fisher's range in California, which encompasses mostly public forest and park lands Additionally, we diagnosed four fisher deaths, including a lactating female, that were directly attributed to AR toxicosis and documented the first neonatal or milk transfer of an AR to an altricial fisher kit. These ARs, which some are acutely toxic, pose both a direct mortality or fitness risk to fishers, and a significant indirect risk to these isolated populations. Future research should be directed towards investigating risks to prey populations fishers are dependent on, exposure in other rare forest carnivores, and potential AR point sources such as illegal marijuana cultivation in the range of fishers on California public lands. Source

Gabriel M.W.,Integral Ecology Research Center | Gabriel M.W.,University of California at Davis | Wengert G.M.,Integral Ecology Research Center | Wengert G.M.,University of California at Davis | And 7 more authors.
Journal of Wildlife Diseases | Year: 2010

Wildlife managers often need to assess the current health status of wildlife communities before implementation of management actions involving surveillance, reintroductions, or translocations. We estimated the sensitivity and specificity of a commercially available domestic canine rapid diagnostic antigen test for canine parvovirus and a rapid enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay for the detection of antibodies toward Anaplasma phagocytophilum on populations of fishers (Martes pennanti) and sympatric gray foxes (Urocyon cinereoargenteus). Eighty-two fecal samples from 66 fishers and 16 gray foxes were tested with both SNAP®PARVO rapid diagnostic test (RDT) and a nested polymerase chain reaction (PCR). Whole blood samples from 23 fishers and 53 gray foxes were tested with both SNAP 4Dx® RDT and immunofluorescence assays (IFAs). The SNAP PARVO RDT detected no parvovirus, whereas PCR detected the virus in 17 samples. Eleven samples were positive using the SNAP 4Dx RDT, whereas 46 samples tested by IFA were positive for A. phagocytophilum. Both RDTs had low sensitivity and poor test agreement. These findings clearly demonstrate the importance of validating RDTs developed for domesticated animals before using them for wildlife populations. © Wildlife Disease Association 2010. Source

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