Monday, March 10, 2014

Visit from RWSSP Advisors/PDZA and disease project update

Last year, the Red Wolf Recovery Program and Red Wolf Species Survival Plan (RWSSP) partners from Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium (PDZA; Tacoma, WA) received multiple grants from for projects that will further the conservation of the endangered red wolf.   The Conservation Committee (ConCom) 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.  

One of the funded proposals aims to develop a canid disease monitoring plan.  This winter, Louisiana State University graduate student, Kristin, has been collecting ectoparasites from wild red wolves and coyotes captured in northeastern North Carolina.  These samples are part of a larger study examining red wolf immunocompetence, but she has also taken this opportunity to expand assess our knowledge of disease occurrence and frequency in red wolves, and the efficacy of current red wolf vaccination programs.  The next step is to perform 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 assist this process, Will, the RWSSP Coordinator, and Dr. Karen, the Veterinarian Advisor (both at PDZA) visited the Red Wolf Recovery Area last month to help with the review.

Art and Cameron restrain wolf while Dr. Karen and Will examine her.
Dr. Karen examines restrained wolf
While they were in town, Dr. Karen was able to examine several captive animals as well as recently captured wild red wolves for body condition.  She is using this information for another project funded by ConCom to determine the prevalence of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) in the red wolves. IBD appears to be an emerging concern for red wolves in the PDZA zoo-based population.  PDZA personnel are currently evaluating 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.

Dr. Karen was also able to examine 11964F, a wild red wolf that was recently trapped and sustained a toe injury.  Dr. Jay at the Outer Banks Veterinary Hospital treated her locally in January.  Fortunately, with time, the foot healed properly and we were able to release her back into her natal territory.   

Released 11964F. Photo: B. Bartel/USFWS.


It was a terrific visit. A big thanks to Kristin for all her winter sampling and hard work and to all of the vets that help treat and care for the red wolves!

No comments:

Post a Comment