A recent article in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel discusses a study about how the decline of the fox population and the increase of coyote population may have lead to the increase in Lyme disease cases in Wisconsin. From the article:
“Foxes have hunting habits that are different from those of coyotes: They will kill many small mammals at once, stashing the kill for later. Coyotes, on the other hand, especially those that have crossbred with wolves, will eat deer, rabbits, or even foxes, and are not efficient predators of small mammals the way foxes are. As coyotes have expanded in numbers and range, the new study suggests, they interfere with the important role served by foxes: to suppress Lyme disease rodent hosts, especially around human habitation.”
Of course Wisconsin hunters and trappers kill in excess of 11,000 gray and red foxes each year. Those are just the ones that they report. Maybe it is time for these people to lay off of foxes because they help prevent Lyme disease. Of course I doubt the greed and selfishness of the “sportsmen” in this state will never allow that. These people will cut of their noses to spite their face.
Also in the article DNR biologist, Adrian Wydeven, commented on how wolves help to contain Cronic Wasting Disease (CWD):
“Based on their research, Levi and colleagues suggest a deer reduction strategy be combined with efforts to rehabilitate the red fox, to reduce tick abundance and ultimately stall the spread of Lyme disease. In fact, this may be already happening organically, as wolves recover, and cougars move eastward. These top predators may control the coyote population, thus helping foxes recover.”
“Adrian Wydeven, an ecologist with the DNR, said that wolf predation can also contain the spread of chronic wasting disease in deer, but he believes implementing the new study’s strategy of predator manipulation on a large scale would be very difficult.”
In my conversations with Dr. Wydeven I found him to be very honest and understanding about the concerns that wildlife advocates have for the future of wolves in Wisconsin. He was also excluded from testifying before the Wisconsin Legislature when they were ramming through the wolf kill bill. Why would you exclude the state’s leading wolf expert from testifying on a bill that will impact the entire wolf population in Wisconsin? Of course the testimony of the sadists from the Wisconsin Bear Hunters Association, who also wrote the bill, and other anti-wolf groups were prominently featured. Again here is another example of how many hunters and trappers will again cut off their nose to spite their face. If wolves help keep coyote and deer populations in check that means the prevalence of CWD and Lyme disease will be decreased. Of course we can’t let common sense get in the way of revenge and “hunter opportunity” for those who want to slaughter wolves.
Here is the article: