Friday, June 21, 2013

2013 Grant awards from Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium

The Red Wolf Recovery Program and Red Wolf Species Survival Plan (RWSSP) partners from Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium (Tacoma, WA) and Lincoln Park Zoo (Chicago, IL) received three grants for projects that will further the conservation of the endangered red wolf.   

The Conservation Committee of from the Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium (PDZA) awarded grants, totaling more than $16,000, for three different red wolf projects:
1) the study of inflammatory bowel disease in the red wolf
2) the initial development of a canid disease monitoring and prevention program
3) the development of a population viability analysis and preliminary demographic models of endangered red wolves 

The Conservation Committee awards grants annually to a variety of conservation and research programs worldwide, and is supported by generous contributions from PDZA, Point Defiance Zoo Society, and the Point Defiance American Association of Zoo Keepers chapter. 

The first project aims to determine the prevalence of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) in the red wolves and to evaluate the clinical, pathological, and demographic characteristics associated with the disease. IBD appears to be an emerging concern for red wolves in the PDZA zoo-based population.  Staff at PDZA, including the RWSSP Coordinator, and Head and Intern Veterinarians, will determine if IBD is a concern for the overall red wolf population and will provide funding to determine if non-invasive diagnostic tests used in domestic dogs can be applied to red wolves.

To begin the process of canid disease monitoring plan development, current knowledge of disease occurrence and frequency in red wolves, and efficacy of current red wolf vaccination programs must first be assessed. Staff from Red Wolf Recovery Program together with the RWSSP Coordinator and Head Veterinarian from PDZA will be performing initial synthesis and evaluation to provide an understanding of recovery needs and identify knowledge gaps related to red wolf disease risks and the utility of preventive care applications.

To develop baseline red wolf population viability models of both wild and zoo-based populations, staff from Red Wolf Recovery Program together with the RWSSP Coordinator from PDZA will be working with collaborators at the Alexander Center for Applied Population Biology and experts at Population Management Center at Lincoln Park Zoo. Determining and understanding red wolf population dynamics and trends in both populations would greatly enhance the ability of the all partners to conserve the species and advance red wolf recovery goals.  

These studies will provide valuable information that will contribute to the management and conservation of zoo-based and wild red wolf populations. These collaborations and partnerships are key to the success of this research. Stay tuned for progress reports!

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