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Handling-induced stress and mortalities in African wild dogs (Lycaon pictus)



Handling-induced stress and mortalities in African wild dogs (Lycaon pictus)



Proceedings. Biological Sciences 262(1364): 215-220



Recently it was suggested that the handling of wild dogs (Lycaon pictus) by researchers in the Serengeti ecosystem created stress, resulting in the reactivation of latent rabies viruses in carrier animals. We present data from ongoing studies on free-ranging and captive wild dogs elsewhere in Africa which do not support this hypothesis. Cortisol profiles suggest that immobilization of wild dogs does not cause the chronic stress required for stress-reactivation of latent viruses. Furthermore, there is no evidence of handling-related mortalities in wild dogs: the survivorship of unhandled and handled free-ranging wild dogs did not differ and no captive animals died within a year of handling (immobilization and/or vaccination against rabies). We suggest that the mortalities observed in Tanzania were due to an outbreak of a disease which rabies vaccination was unable to prevent. Intensive monitoring and active management research programs on wild dogs are essential as without these, critically endangered wild dog populations have little hope of survival.

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Accession: 046211550

Download citation: RISBibTeXText

PMID: 8524913

DOI: 10.1098/rspb.1995.0198


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