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Morris Animal Foundation Announces 2016 Wildlife Research Grants

Newly funded studies address serious health threats to wildlife species around the world

DENVER/September 14 – Morris Animal Foundation, committed to solving critical health problems of animals around the world, announces 15 new wildlife health research grants totaling nearly $1 million. The grants will fund investigators at 14 prominent research institutions, and include three fellowship training grants for new scientists.

The scope of the studies funded covers a diverse set of health challenges across a wide range of species, from a lethal genetic disorder in California condors to deadly fungal diseases threatening the world’s amphibian populations. The Foundation’s Wildlife Scientific Advisory Board reviewed all submitted grant applications and selected, based on scientific merit and impact, the studies with the greatest potential to save lives, preserve health, and advance veterinary care.

Studies funded include:

  • Researchers at the Imperial College of Science, Technology and Medicine in the United Kingdom will conduct a three-year disease surveillance program to help wildlife managers develop a response plan to manage the threat of fungal diseases in Madagascar’s amphibians.
  • Zoological Society of San Diego scientists will study the genetic basis for chondrodystrophy, a lethal form of dwarfism in California condors, to help guide decisions about birds released into the wild or paired in captivity. The California condor remains a critically endangered species, and this genetic disease is threatening recovery efforts.
  • Researchers with the University of Adelaide in Australia hope to identify populations of retrovirus- and chlamydia-free koalas to increase understanding of the pathogens affecting these animals and assist in conservation efforts. A rapid decline in koala populations in Australia, due to these two major diseases, is threatening the survival of this iconic species.

“We often think of wildlife populations as under threat solely from habitat loss or poaching, but emerging and endemic diseases are increasingly a source of concern for these populations. For endangered species with critically low population sizes, extinction could be one outbreak away,” said Barbara Wolfe, DVM, PhD, Chief Scientific Officer at Morris Animal Foundation. “The studies included in this round of funding demonstrate the wide range of health challenges wildlife populations experience, but also give us hope that today’s researchers can find ways to protect at-risk populations and ensure they exist for generations to come.”

About Morris Animal Foundation
Morris Animal Foundation is a global leader in funding scientific studies that advance the health of companion animals, horses and wildlife. Since its founding in 1948, the Foundation has invested more than $103 million toward 2,500 studies that have led to significant breakthroughs in diagnostics, treatments and preventions to benefit animals worldwide. Learn more at Morris Animal Foundation.