December 9, 2023

Canine Lice Infesting Alaska's Wolves

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In the early 1980s, lice were found on wolves in the Kenai region of Alaska. Today nearly every wolf in that area is infested with the lice. The lice, believed to have been contracted from sled dogs, gets into the fur and skin of the animal and causes irritation. The wolves dig, itch, scratch and rub, sometimes causing the fur to be rubbed off to the bare skin, making the pelts useless to trappers.

Officials didn’t believe the lice would be present on wolves living further inland beyond the Alaska range because of the severe cold – not true. The problem now facing wildlife management personnel is can they manage this problem? Many feel it is a waste of time as what efforts they have expended since its discovery in the 80s has proven to be negligible.

Tom Remington