This year has been “good news-bad news” for the wolves of Yellowstone. First we get Kathy’s upbeat report on the new packs and then we get this terrible news. Does this distemper come from domestic dogs or is it just a factor of the life of a wolf? I am ignorant about this disease in the wild.
I don’t necessarily see this as bad news, it undermines the arguement by some that wolves breed and expand exponentially. Wolf numbers will fluxuate, but the overall levels in Yellowstone will vary within this range. Predators tend to natually regulate their populations and more so when denseties of populations are high. Also, six breeding pairs in Yellowstone will make the USFWS and the WY Game and Fish rethink their assumption on how many breeding pairs Yellowstone can be counted on having for the total Wyoming requirement.
Distemper, once almost forgotten, has reared it’s ugly head again in both wild and domestic populations. It has been years since I’ve seen a raccoon with Distemper, and this year I saw one at Turkey Run State Park. He was so sick. I’ve seen an increase on message boards of people asking for help because their newly adopted puppy has a cough and is sick…a few weeks later they post that it was Distemper.
I think part of the reason it’s seized the domestic animals so heavily this year is because of the economy. So many are skipping their dog’s vaccinations in favor of food and gas, but it’s such a mistake to do so as Distemper is an awful disease, and apparently is on the rise in wild populations.