The Wildlife Society has published an article highlighting our collaborative work to understand and combat the emergence of mange in endangered San Joaquin kit foxes.
A Los Angeles Times article released today highlights three Mojave species vulnerable to increasing drought and the long term impacts of climate change.
The CDFW WIL is part of the inter-agency-academia team helping to recover Amargosa vole populations.
Click here to read the article and watch a video of our UC Davis partner, Professor Janet Foley, explaining the plight of the vole and demonstrating how we work with voles.
Originally posted on CDFW News:
Media Contacts: Janice Mackey, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8908 Deana Clifford, Wildlife Investigations Lab, (916) 358-2378 Researchers Follow Up on 2012 Distemper Outbreak The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) has completed the second year…
The western pond turtle (Emys marmorata), the only native species of freshwater turtle in California, has been a species of special concern since 1994. Possible causes for declining western pond turtle populations include urbanization and habitat destruction (which often reduces or eliminates basking and nesting sites available near pond
habitat), poor water quality, and reduced survival of young turtles causing the population to be skewed towards aged turtles that don’t reproduce well.
Another challenge to the survival California’s native western pond turtles has been the introduction and spread of non-native red-eared sliders (Trachemys scripta elegans). Red-eared sliders were imported for the live food market and are popular in the pet industry, often resulting in illegal pet release. “Sliders” are larger than pond turtles
and outcompete pond turtles for nesting and basking sites.
It is not known if disease is playing a role in the observed declines of western pond turtles. Additionally, introductions of non-native red-eared sliders into pond turtle habitat might also introduce new pathogens (disease causing agents like viruses, bacteria, fungi, and parasites) or strains of pathogens that western pond turtles had not been previously exposed to.
Absolutely nothing was known about the pathogens western pond turtles are exposed to in California, so Janet Foley, Joy Worth and then Master’s student, Connie Silbernagel from UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine, Deana Clifford from the CDFW Wildlife Investigations Lab, and Jamie Bettasco from the US Fish and Wildlife Service teamed up to conduct the first assessment of pathogen presence in western pond turtles across the state. The team also tested non-native red-eared sliders at study sites where both species were living to see whether or not red-eared sliders carried different pathogens and whether or not western pond turtles living in the same sites as nonnative sliders were more likely to carry different pathogens.
The team found that both species of turtles carried Mycoplasma spp. bacteria (a cause of respiratory infections) with prevalence being highest at sites in southern California regions. Furthermore native western pond turtles that were infected with Mycoplasma spp bacteria were more likely to weigh less and live in southern California. All turtles tested negative for two common viruses, Herpesviruses and Ranaviruses, and Salmonella bacteria (which can cause gastroenteritis and is a bacteria that can infect people).
This study is the first of its kind to document pathogen prevalence in both native western pond turtles and non-native red-eared sliders and will provide important baseline data as we strive to conserve western pond turtles in California.
Silbernagel C, Clifford DL, Bettaso J, Worth S, Foley J. Prevalence of selected pathogens in western pond turtles and sympatric introduced red-eared sliders in California, USA. Diseases of Aquatic Organisms 107:37-47
A team from UC Davis–the UC Davis California Animal Health and Food Safety Lab (CAHFS), CDFW veterinarians Pam Swift and Deana Clifford, and CDFW biologist Jeff Villepique–describe the findings from a notoedric mange outbreak that occurred in 2009 and was thought to be responsible for a significant decline in the number of Western Gray Squirrels in the mountain communities of San Bernardino County.
The team found that mange infections were quite severe for the affected squirrels, and confirmed through electron microscopy and molecular methods that the mite making squirrels sick was a species called Notoedres centrifera, a mite known to have caused outbreaks in other western gray squirrel populations.
CDFW and UC Davis are continuing to monitor the western gray squirrels in this area using a citizen science website where people can report sightings of both sick and healthy squirrels.
Pathologic findings in Western gray squirrels (Sciurus griseus) from a notoedric mange epidemic in the San Bernardino Mountains, California
Nicole Stephenson, Pam Swift, Jeffrey T. Villepique, Deana L. Clifford, Akinyi Nyaoke, Alfonso De la Mora, Janet Moore, and Janet Foley. 2013. International Journal for Parasitology. Volume 2, Pages 266–270.