In March 2013, the first fatal cases of sarcoptic mange were detected in an endangered population of San Joaquin kit foxes in Bakersfield, California. Prior to 2013, sarcoptic mange had never before been reported in any kit fox species. With fewer than 5,000 individuals remaining in the wild, sarcoptic mange poses a serious threat to the survival of this once plentiful species. Building on results from a previous study funded by Morris Animal Foundation, the research team plans to use genetic techniques to understand the relationship between mange transmission and fox population density. This new information will help researchers develop a disease strategy model, including how many San Joaquin kit foxes must be treated with longlasting tick prevention collars to reduce disease transmission in this species. Automated cameras will be used to monitor kit fox health and the effectiveness of the collars as an intervention strategy to eliminate the disease from the area.
Grant amount awarded
California State University-Stanislaus
Brian L. Cypher, PhD