Most of the gray wolf pups born in Yellowstone National Park last year have died. But, what are the causes behind this dramatic decline? A federal wolf expert believes a dog disease — parvo virus – as a culprit behind this loss. 47 of the 69 pups born last year are already dead, informs Doug Smith, the park’s wolf project leader. Since wolves were reintroduced to the park 11 years ago, it is the biggest drop in pup numbers. The park’s northern range witnessed this greatest toll.
“It’s cause for concern, a great deal of concern,” Smith said.
Officials, over the next few weeks, plan to catch Yellowstone wolf pups and take blood samples to see if the suspicions about parvo virus are true. The disease may lead to extreme diarrhea and dehydration and kill more vulnerable animals, like young pups. Even knowing vaccination as an option, Smith seems pessimist about the solution.
He said, “It requires two vaccinations to build up an immunity, and we’d have to catch every wolf!… And both those things are impractical.”