28 Nov 2009, 8:33pm
by admin

Of wolves and worms

by DeLene, Wild Muse, 11/27/2009 [here]

If a Northern Rocky Mountain gray wolf has a daily to-do list, it may look like this:1.) Avoid hunters, 2.) Maintain territory, 3.) Find prey, 4.) Get de-wormed.

Yes, de-wormed.

According to a new study out in the October issue of the Journal of Wildlife Diseases, three-millimeter-long tapeworms known as Echinococcus granulosus, are documented for the first time in gray wolves in Idaho and Montana. And the authors didn’t just find a few tapeworms here and there… turns out that of 123 wolf intestines sampled, 62 percent of the Idaho gray wolves and 63 percent of the Montana gray wolves were positive. (Ew!) The researchers wrote: “The detection of thousands of tapeworms per wolf was a common finding.” (Again… Ew!!) This leads to the interpretation that the E. granulosus parasite rate is fairly widespread and established in the Northern Rocky Mountain wolves.

The tapeworms themselves are not new. Gray wolves in Canada and Alaska are known to be infected with them. In fact, previous studies indicate that a 14 to 72 percent infection rate is normal. But the study authors report that this is the first time that a specific biotype of E. granulosus has been detected in not only wolves of Idaho and Montana, but also wild herbivores. The parasite needs both types of animals to complete its life cycle. … [more]


Comments by Will Graves, the author of “Wolves in Russia” [here]

In the first paragraph in my letter to Mr. Bangs dated 3 October 1993 on the DEIS (Draft Environmental Impact Statement) which was titled “The Reintroduction of Gray Wolves to Yellowstone National Park and Central Idaho,” I warned about the damages and problems wolves would cause to Yellowstone and other areas by carrying and spreading parasites and diseases over larger areas. Some of these parasites are damaging not only to wild and domestic animals, but can also be dangerous to humans. One of these parasites is Echinococcous granulosus and Echinococcus m.

Since 1993 I have been working to tell people what I have learned from about 50 years of research on the characteristics, habits and behavior of Russian wolves. From that research I came to the conclusion that one of the most serious consequences of bring wolves into the US would be the wolves carrying and spreading around damaging/dangerous parasites and diseases. I did my best to explain this in my book titled, “Wolves in Russia – Anxiety Through the Ages” edited by Dr. Valerius Geist. Details about my book are at my web site: wolvesinrussia.com.

After several years effort, I finally recently obtained help from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Parasitic Research Center in Beltsville, MD. This research center will try to conduct research on the blood taken from wolves in our western states. One parasite they will be researching is Neospora Caninum. They hope to determine if wolves carry and spread the parasite around. It is established that coyotes and dogs carry this damaging parasite.

I remember that about two years ago there was a report about one wolf carrying Echinococcus granulosus in Montana.

Much more research is needed about the danger wolves bring to our environment. Some of the parasites carried by wolves are dangerous to humans.

30 Nov 2009, 12:44am
by YPmule

Starting on page 202 of the book “Wolves Behavior, Ecology, and Conservation” Edited by L. David Mech and Luigi Boitani, Chapter 7 The Internal Wolf: Physiology, Pathology, and Pharmacology:

There is quite a list of parasites and diseases that wolves carry, up to and including rabies.

(The book is an interesting read as well, unfortunately several pages are missing.)

30 Nov 2009, 11:19am
by Mike

Excellent source of information. Thank you, YP.

1 Dec 2009, 7:31pm
by Val G.

What else is new? What did we warn about? We were censored as alarmists, and now are being reassured that Echinococcus granulosus is “harmless” to humans — which relative to E. multiloccularis it is indeed. How about a granulosus cyst in your brain? Or a bunch of cysts in your lungs? Or on your liver? Yes, we can wall off those cysts, more or less, which we cannot do with the multiloccularis cysts. And yes, a colleague assured us that all that is not a problem for us, although it is for some native types. Nothing to worry about, really.

Remember how, early on, we put out a warning — do not kick dry wolf feces or poke about in such looking for evidence of food habits. Do not handle wolf feces as it will disturb the tiny Echinococcus eggs that float up like a little dust cloud to envelop you, and you are very likely to ingest some of that “dust”.

This know-how, which we older Canadian types carried away from our parasitology lessons was pooh-poohed by some American colleagues. Wolves are after all, harmless! Remember the question we posed: is it really such a great idea “completing” ecosystems when the progression is herbivores, carnivores and finally diseases and parasites? Remember?

Are our eager beavers on the way to making wildlife into a curse? The long ignored historical prognosis is not good! Will it slowly dawn on the enthusiasts that wolves are not compatible with settled human landscapes, a conclusion based on history in many places and many countries?

Have fun with that endangered species!

Cheers, Val Geist



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