West Pleasant View, CO, United States
West Pleasant View, CO, United States

Time filter

Source Type

News Article | May 5, 2017
Site: www.businesswire.com

DENVER--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Morris Animal Foundation is working to save the critically endangered saiga antelope, with a $50,000 grant to international researchers studying the deadly “goat plague” virus that is pushing the species closer to the brink of extinction. Morris Animal Foundation’s Betty White Wildlife Rapid Response Fund will support life-saving animal health research that the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) is conducting with its partners to understand the rapidly progressing disease, in hopes of saving the Mongolian saiga before it’s too late. “Morris Animal Foundation’s support will be critical to the global effort to save this species,” said Dr. Amanda Fine, a veterinarian and Associate Director of the WCS Wildlife Health Program in Asia. “The Mongolian saiga population is now experiencing a die-off that continues to escalate in scope and scale, and we feel that we may be facing the potential extinction of this subspecies of the saiga antelope, if immediate and comprehensive actions are not taken.” The research team includes Dr. Richard Kock, a Professor with the University of London’s Royal Veterinary College. Dr. Kock is a global expert on investigating factors contributing to the epidemic of goat plague, a highly contagious virus known to scientists as peste des petits ruminants (PPR). Typically associated with sheep and goats, the disease recently emerged in Mongolian livestock and has now spread to the saiga population. The first Mongolian saiga casualties of the goat plague outbreak were discovered in late December 2016, following the first outbreak of the disease in sheep and goats in the country in September 2016. Despite Mongolian government efforts to halt the spread of PPR through vaccination of sheep and goats, the current outbreak has caused the deaths of more than 5,000 of the remaining 10,000 Mongolian saiga. If left unchecked, the disease could cause a further devastating reduction in the Mongolian saiga population, and potentially lead to extinction. This is the second time Morris Animal Foundation has come to support the saiga antelope with funding through the Betty White Wildlife Rapid Response Fund. In May 2011, the Foundation supported Dr. Kock’s research, which helped to identify the cause of the near decimation of the population of 200,000 saiga in Kazakhstan, due to episodic outbreaks of bacterial hemorrhagic septicemia. “We must gain a better understanding of the ecology of these disease outbreaks so that we can protect this ancient and critically endangered species from extinction,” said Barbara Wolfe, DVM, PhD, DACZM, Chief Scientific Officer for Morris Animal Foundation. “These efforts directly support our mission to ensure the health of animals worldwide. I’m so pleased that Morris Animal Foundation is able to support, in real time, the important efforts of the scientists in the field.” The unusual-looking saiga antelope (Saiga tatarica), with its remarkable elongated snout, once was prolific in the Eurasian steppes. Its population was estimated to be near one million, extending from the foothills of the Carpathian Mountains and Caucasus into Dzungaria and Mongolia. The Mongolian subspecies (Saiga tatarica ssp. mongolica) is found only in western Mongolia. Historically believed to have once roamed the earth at the same time as woolly mammoths, this unique antelope now faces extinction without intervention. “The Mongolian government, NGOs, and multi-lateral stakeholders are currently doing all they can to respond to the ongoing outbreak in Mongolian saiga,” said Dr. Fine. ”But additional resources to study the epidemiology of the disease, and to fully understand the triggers of these die-off events, are critical to the survival of the species.” Beyond saiga, noted Dr. Fine, other members of Mongolia’s unique and diverse wild fauna may be highly susceptible to PPR, including the Siberian ibex, goitered gazelle, Argali sheep, Mongolian gazelle, and the last-remaining critically endangered wild Bactrian camels. Since 1967, Morris Animal Foundation-funded research has advanced the health of animals and, in some cases, has ensured the very survival of a species. The Betty White Wildlife Rapid Response Fund, established in October 2010, gives wildlife researchers timely monetary aid to respond to unexpected events, such as natural disasters and emerging diseases, which result in the need for emergency animal health research funding. Morris Animal Foundation is a global leader in funding scientific studies that advance the health of companion animals, horses and wildlife. Since its founding in 1948, the Foundation has invested over $113 million in more than 2,500 studies that have led to significant breakthroughs in the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of diseases to benefit animals worldwide. To learn more, or to make a donation in support of life-saving research, visit Morris Animal Foundation.


PubMed | University of Minnesota, Wildlife Health Program and 3 Metropolitan Mosquito Control District
Type: Journal Article | Journal: Journal of the American Mosquito Control Association | Year: 2016

An adult mosquito survey was conducted at 12 sites using carbon dioxide traps in northern Minnesota throughout the summer of 2012. Specimens were counted, identified to species, sorted into pools, and tested for eastern equine encephalitis (EEEV) and West Nile virus (WNV). Our findings extend the known range of Culiseta melanura, Anopheles barberi, and An. quadrimaculatus and document the presence and abundance of 27 other mosquito taxa in the region. None of the pools tested positive for EEEV or WNV.


Walsh D.P.,Colorado State University | Walsh D.P.,Wildlife Health Program | Stiver J.R.,University of Lincoln | Stiver J.R.,Southeast Region Service Center | And 3 more authors.
Journal of Wildlife Management | Year: 2010

With the decline of many lekking species, the need to develop a rigorous population estimation technique is critical for successful conservation and management. We employed markresight methods to estimate population size for 2 lekking species: greater sage-grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus) and Gunnison sage-grouse (Centrocercus minimus). We evaluated 2 different estimators: Bowden's estimator and the mixed logit-normal markresight model. We captured and marked 75 greater sage-grouse. We counted marked and unmarked birds as they attended 15 known leks. We used 36 and 37 marked Gunnison sage-grouse to estimate population size in 2003 and 2004, respectively. We observed marked and unmarked Gunnison sage-grouse daily as they attended 6 leks in 2003 and 3 leks in 2004. Based on our examination of the assumptions of each markresight estimator, relative to behavior and biology of these species, we concluded the mixed logit-normal markresight model is preferred. We recommend wildlife managers employ markresight approaches when statistically rigorous population estimates are required for management and conservation of lekking species. © 2010 The Wildlife Society.


Williams T.M.,University of California at Santa Cruz | Wolfe L.,Wildlife Health Program | Davis T.,Wildlife Health Program | Kendall T.,University of California at Santa Cruz | And 5 more authors.
Science | Year: 2014

Pumas (Puma concolor) live in diverse, often rugged, complex habitats. The energy they expend for hunting must account for this complexity but is difficult to measure for this and other large, cryptic carnivores. We developed and deployed a physiological SMART (species movement, acceleration, and radio tracking) collar that used accelerometry to continuously monitor energetics, movements, and behavior of free-ranging pumas. This felid species displayed marked individuality in predatory activities, ranging from low-cost sit-and-wait behaviors to constant movements with energetic costs averaging 2.3 times those predicted for running mammals. Pumas reduce these costs by remaining cryptic and precisely matching maximum pouncing force (overall dynamic body acceleration = 5.3 to 16.1g) to prey size. Such instantaneous energetics help to explain why most felids stalk and pounce, and their analysis represents a powerful approach for accurately forecasting resource demands required for survival by large, mobile predators.


PubMed | University of Minnesota, Minnesota Board of Animal Health, Wildlife Health Program, National Veterinary Services Laboratories and 2 more.
Type: Journal Article | Journal: PloS one | Year: 2016

Bovine tuberculosis (bTB) was discovered in a Minnesota cow through routine slaughter surveillance in 2005 and the resulting epidemiological investigation led to the discovery of infection in both cattle and white-tailed deer in the state. From 2005 through 2009, a total of 12 beef cattle herds and 27 free-ranging white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) were found infected in a small geographic region of northwestern Minnesota. Genotyping of isolates determined both cattle and deer shared the same strain of bTB, and it was similar to types found in cattle in the southwestern United States and Mexico. Whole genomic sequencing confirmed the introduction of this infection into Minnesota was recent, with little genetic divergence. Aggressive surveillance and management efforts in both cattle and deer continued from 2010-2012; no additional infections were discovered. Over 10,000 deer were tested and 705 whole herd cattle tests performed in the investigation of this outbreak.


PubMed | Wildlife Health Laboratory, Thorne Williams Wildlife Research Center, 28 S Adams and Wildlife Health Program
Type: Journal Article | Journal: Journal of wildlife diseases | Year: 2016

We evaluated bighorn sheep ( Ovis canadensis ) ewes and their lambs in captivity to examine the sources and roles of respiratory pathogens causing lamb mortality in a poorly performing herd. After seven consecutive years of observed December recruitments of <10%, 13 adult female bighorn sheep from the remnant Gribbles Park herd in Colorado, US were captured and transported to the Thorne-Williams Wildlife Research Center in Wyoming in March 2013. Ewes were sampled repeatedly over 16 mo. In April 2014, ewes were separated into individual pens prior to lambing. Upon death, lambs were necropsied and tested for respiratory pathogens. Six lambs developed clinical respiratory disease and one lamb was abandoned. Pathology from an additional six lambs born in 2013 was also evaluated. Mycoplasma ovipneumoniae , leukotoxigenic Mannheimia spp., leukotoxigenic Bibersteinia trehalosi , and Pasteurella multocida all contributed to lamb pneumonia. Histopathology suggested a continuum of disease, with lesions typical of pasteurellosis predominating in younger lambs and lesions typical of mycoplasmosis predominating in older lambs. Mixed pathology was observed in lambs dying between these timeframes. We suspected that all the ewes in our study were persistently infected and chronically shedding the bacteria that contributed to summer lamb mortality.


PubMed | Wildlife Health Program and Colorado State University
Type: Journal Article | Journal: PloS one | Year: 2015

Epidemics of chronic wasting disease (CWD) of North American Cervidae have potential to harm ecosystems and economies. We studied a migratory population of mule deer (Odocoileus hemionus) affected by CWD for at least three decades using a Bayesian framework to integrate matrix population and disease models with long-term monitoring data and detailed process-level studies. We hypothesized CWD prevalence would be stable or increase between two observation periods during the late 1990s and after 2010, with higher CWD prevalence making deer population decline more likely. The weight of evidence suggested a reduction in the CWD outbreak over time, perhaps in response to intervening harvest-mediated population reductions. Disease effects on deer population growth under current conditions were subtle with a 72% chance that CWD depressed population growth. With CWD, we forecasted a growth rate near one and largely stable deer population. Disease effects appear to be moderated by timing of infection, prolonged disease course, and locally variable infection. Long-term outcomes will depend heavily on whether current conditions hold and high prevalence remains a localized phenomenon.


PubMed | Wildlife Health Program
Type: Journal Article | Journal: Journal of wildlife diseases | Year: 2016

Capture and translocation are important tools for managing and studying large ungulates. Although widely used, many established field practices cause fear and stress in subject animals that can hamper overall effectiveness and safety. Over the last 10 years we have been exploring uses of tranquilizer combinations as adjuncts to wild ungulate capture and translocation work in Colorado, USA. Our approaches have been tailored to various field applications to reduce fear and stress, facilitate handling, and improve the overall success of capture and translocation for research or management purposes. For physical capture (drop net or helicopter-net gunning) with local release, combinations of midazolam and azaperone administered immediately upon capture provide transient tranquilization and muscle relaxation during manual restraint and handling to prevent hyperthermia and capture myopathy. For extended tranquilization (during transport and overnight holding), adding a sustained-release haloperidol formulation provides calming effects for at least 24-48 h. In our assessment, appropriate and adaptive use of these tranquilizer combinations benefits captured animals without impeding management or research goals.


News Article | February 15, 2017
Site: news.yahoo.com

A critically endangered species of antelope is dying by the thousands from a deadly infectious disease outbreak in Mongolia, and scientists fear there could be "catastrophic consequences" for the threatened animals and their ecosystem. Since December 2016, about 2,500 Mongolian saiga (Saiga tatarica mongolica) — a unique subspecies of saiga antelope — have died from a livestock virus. Scientists estimate the Mongolian saiga population to be about 10,000, meaning the deadly outbreak has killed about 25 percent of the endangered steppe-dwelling antelope. The virus, known as PPR or peste des petits ruminants, was introduced to the Mongolian saiga population in September, from infected goats and sheep, scientists said. Though the die-off rate has slowed, it could have repercussions throughout the local environment, said Amanda Fine, a veterinarian and associate director of the Wildlife Conservation Society's (WCS) Wildlife Health Program in Asia. [Photos: A 2015 Mass Die-Off of the Endangered Saiga Antelope] "The situation is tragic and widespread," Fine said in a statement. "Along with the impact to the saiga population, this event has the potential to produce cascading catastrophic consequences on the ecosystem. For example, ibex and argali may be affected, and rare snow leopards may suffer the effects of a diminished prey base." PPR, which is also known as sheep and goat plague, is highly contagious and can infect up to 90 percent of an animal herd once introduced, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations. The disease is spread via body fluids, feces and close proximity, and symptoms include fever, anorexia, diffuclty breathing and more. After just a few days affected animals become depressed, very weak, and severely dehydrated, according to the FAO. The FAO and the World Organization for Animal Health are working to eradicate PPR by 2030, but the disease is known to have infected animal populations in more than 70 countries. In Mongolia, a rapid-response team has begun collecting samples from the dead and diseased saiga in an effort to stop the spread of infection and determine how to support the species' recovery. "The best way to prevent PPR is through further immunization of livestock in not only saiga range areas, but [also] other affected-species range areas," Fine said. "Stress-free conditions for recovering saiga and access to food and water resources should be provided in order to save the last population of Mongolian saiga from extinction." The saiga face other threats aside from illness. People use the antelope's horns in traditional medicine, making the animals vulnerable to poaching. More than 90 percent of the saiga population has been lost in recent decades, according to WCS officials.


News Article | February 16, 2017
Site: news.yahoo.com

A critically endangered species of antelope is dying by the thousands from a deadly infectious disease outbreak in Mongolia, and scientists fear there could be "catastrophic consequences" for the threatened animals and their ecosystem. Since December 2016, about 2,500 Mongolian saiga (Saiga tatarica mongolica) — a unique subspecies of saiga antelope — have died from a livestock virus. Scientists estimate the Mongolian saiga population to be about 10,000, meaning the deadly outbreak has killed about 25 percent of the endangered steppe-dwelling antelope. The virus, known as PPR or peste des petits ruminants, was introduced to the Mongolian saiga population in September, from infected goats and sheep, scientists said. Though the die-off rate has slowed, it could have repercussions throughout the local environment, said Amanda Fine, a veterinarian and associate director of the Wildlife Conservation Society's (WCS) Wildlife Health Program in Asia. [Photos: A 2015 Mass Die-Off of the Endangered Saiga Antelope] "The situation is tragic and widespread," Fine said in a statement. "Along with the impact to the saiga population, this event has the potential to produce cascading catastrophic consequences on the ecosystem. For example, ibex and argali may be affected, and rare snow leopards may suffer the effects of a diminished prey base." PPR, which is also known as sheep and goat plague, is highly contagious and can infect up to 90 percent of an animal herd once introduced, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations. The disease is spread via body fluids, feces and close proximity, and symptoms include fever, anorexia, diffuclty breathing and more. After just a few days affected animals become depressed, very weak, and severely dehydrated, according to the FAO. The FAO and the World Organization for Animal Health are working to eradicate PPR by 2030, but the disease is known to have infected animal populations in more than 70 countries. In Mongolia, a rapid-response team has begun collecting samples from the dead and diseased saiga in an effort to stop the spread of infection and determine how to support the species' recovery. "The best way to prevent PPR is through further immunization of livestock in not only saiga range areas, but [also] other affected-species range areas," Fine said. "Stress-free conditions for recovering saiga and access to food and water resources should be provided in order to save the last population of Mongolian saiga from extinction." The saiga face other threats aside from illness. People use the antelope's horns in traditional medicine, making the animals vulnerable to poaching. More than 90 percent of the saiga population has been lost in recent decades, according to WCS officials.

Loading Wildlife Health Program collaborators
Loading Wildlife Health Program collaborators