DENVER/September 27, 2019 – Morris Animal Foundation, a leader in advancing animal health, has awarded more than $1 million in wildlife health research grants, supporting 17 studies. The studies cover a diverse set of critical health challenges, including low fertility in elephants, rabies in bats and amphibian fungal disease.
“Animals around the world face a wide range of threats to their health, and even species’ survival,” said Dr. Janet Patterson-Kane, Morris Animal Foundation Chief Scientific Officer. “These studies, run by some of the most talented scientists in the world, will address many of those challenges and we are honored to support their important work.”
Through this year’s grants, totaling $1,074,239, the Foundation is supporting teams at 16 universities and institutions, including the University of Wisconsin, Indiana University and the University of Colorado, Boulder. The Foundation’s Wildlife Animal 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. Wildlife studies funded for 2019 include:
Assessing Stress and Reproductive Health of African Forest Elephants
Researchers will study how human activity, such as landscape changes, impacts the health and reproduction of African forest elephants. Findings will fill in critical knowledge gaps about this species’ health and inform conservation strategies, weighing factors such as human activity and encroachment on forest elephant reproduction.
Evaluating the Effectiveness of Topically Vaccinating Vampire Bats in the Field
Researchers will evaluate factors affecting the delivery of a topically applied oral rabies vaccine for vampire bats in the wild. Findings will inform the vaccination strategies in the field to help minimize rabies outbreaks and spread by bats, as well as protect bat species from culling.
Using Probiotics to Treat Amphibian Fungal Disease
Researchers will test a probiotic treatment strategy (the use of beneficial, pathogen-inhibiting microbes) in wild boreal toads under threat from an emerging fungal disease, Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd). Identifying a potential treatment strategy against Bd will help inform other life-saving strategies in the race to save wild amphibian species around the world.
Improving the Diets of Conservation Canid Populations
Researchers will study the relationship between gut bacterial communities (microbiomes) and gastrointestinal health in maned wolves. Findings will serve as an important foundation for the development of probiotic diets for maned wolves and other conservation canid species to enhance their care and well-being as part of the Species Survival Plan network.
Morris Animal Foundation, headquartered in Denver, is one of the world’s largest nonprofit organizations that funds scientific studies to advance the health of animals. Since 1965, it has invested $24 million in more than 650 wildlife health studies. Since its founding in 1948, the Foundation has supported more than 2,670 studies and invested more than $126 million. At any given time, the Foundation has more than 200 studies underway in dogs, cats, horses and wildlife.
About Morris Animal Foundation
Morris Animal Foundation’s mission is to bridge science and resources to advance the health of animals. Founded by a veterinarian in 1948, we fund and conduct critical health studies for the benefit of all animals. Learn more at morrisanimalfoundation.org.