October 22, 2018

Echinococcus in wild canids in Québec (Canada) and Maine (USA)

Abstract

Zoonotic Echinococcus spp. cestodes (E. canadensis and E. multilocularis) infect domestic animals, wildlife, and people in regions of Canada and the USA. We recovered and quantified Echinococcus spp. cestodes from 22 of 307 intestinal tracts of wild canids (23 wolves, 100 coyotes, 184 red and arctic foxes) in the state of Maine and the province of Québec. We identified the species and genotypes of three Echinococcus spp. cestodes per infected animal by sequencing mitochondrial DNA at two loci. We further confirmed the absence of E. multilocularis by extracting DNA from pools of all cestodes from each animal and running a duplex PCR capable of distinguishing the two species. We detected E. canadensis (G8 and G10), but not E. multilocularis, which is emerging as an important human and animal health concern in adjacent regions. Prevalence and median intensity of E. canadensis was higher in wolves (35%, 460) than coyotes (14%, 358). This parasite has historically been absent in Atlantic regions of North America, where suitable intermediate hosts, but not wolves, are present. Our study suggests that coyotes are serving as sylvatic definitive hosts for E. canadensis in Atlantic regions, and this may facilitate eastward range expansion of E. canadensis in the USA and Canada. As well, compared to wolves, coyotes are more likely to contaminate urban green spaces and peri-urban environments with zoonotic parasites.<<<Read More>>>

 

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Hunting: Biological or Political?

A Maine outdoor writer and associate asks whether caribou hunting in Canada is political or biological. “Given the fact that the native communities in Quebec and Labrador apparently have not had their caribou harvest quotas decreased by government closures, some are questioning whether the sport hunting ban is as much political as it is biological.”

I could ask why V. Paul Reynolds might not think any sport hunting isn’t political. But I see things just a tad differently than Mr. Reynolds.

It is a shame that we have now reached a point in North America where this question of whether hunting is still considered part of the North American Model for Wildlife Management, where allotments or management plans are a scientific approach to manipulating and sustaining a healthy and productive population of any species or politics and social demands rue the day – a bitter regret perhaps not realized yet but eventually will be.

Caribou hunting in Quebec and Labrador Provinces has been suspended until further notice. According to Quebec’s Minister of Forests, the reason is “sustainability of the species.” Does this announcement come without warning? If so, what has happened in these provinces that so abruptly demolished a caribou herd that hunting goes from “normal” to zero in no time flat?

Sounds to me like either politics and social demands by the usual suspects or extremely poor caribou management. Take your pick.

One thing is for sure. The plan to “change the way wildlife management is discussed and carried out” appears to be working just swell.

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