Pilot test for treating mange in wild canids and felids in the Santa Monica Mountains, California
October 2022 - December 2023
- Summerlee Foundation
Mange has plagued wildlife populations around the world for decades. Animals infested with such mites lose hair, body weight and can ultimately die. Bobcats and coyotes in the Santa Monica Mountains Recreation Area in southern California suffer from manage. Bobcats in the area appear quite susceptible to mange due in part to weakened immune systems from ingesting rodenticides used by humans to poison rodents. California banned the private use of such highly toxic rodenticides in January 2021 but we do not yet know the potential positive effect on wildlife in the region. Most recently, observations by field personnel and the interested public suggest bobcats may be entering a mange outbreak period where high mortality rates and negative effects on the population can be expected. Outside of capturing and treating every individual in the population – an impossible task - area managers do not have a tool to address the burgeoning mange outbreak.
Treating mange with topical medicines has been effective for animals in captivity or those captured in the wild as part of research and monitoring efforts. There are no examples, however, of attempts to noninvasively treat mange in wild, free-ranging animals. We want to test a novel, noninvasive technique - medicinal rub stations - for treating mange in free-ranging felids and canids by exploiting their propensity to roll and scent-mark in foreign odors. We hypothesize that stations treated with topical medicine and scent will reduce the prevalence of mange in the wild.