Read more at: http://phys.org/news/2012-09-wolf-mange-nature.html#jCpWolf mange part of nature's cycle
September 10, 2012
Mange and viral diseases have a substantial, recurring impact on the health and size of reintroduced wolf packs living in Yellowstone National Park, according to ecologists.
Following the restoration of gray wolves to Yellowstone in 1996, researchers collected blood from the animals to monitor parasite-induced disease and death. They also tracked the wolves in each pack to follow their survival and allow additional data-gathering.
"Many invasive species flourish because they lack their native predators and pathogens, but in Yellowstone we restored a native predator to an ecosystem that had other canids present that were capable of sustaining a lot of infections in their absence," said Emily S. Almberg, graduate student in ecology, Penn State. "It's not terribly surprising that we were able to witness and confirm that there was a relatively short window in which the reintroduced wolves stayed disease-free."
The researchers found that within a year after the wolves were reintroduced to Yellowstone, 100 percent of the wolves tested had at least one infection, but mange did not infect wolves living in the park until 2007.
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