Wolves: The ‘Best Natural Defense’ Against Chronic Wasting Disease
The scientific community agrees that this claim is quite wrong, yet it’s surprisingly pervasive belief in rural Western culture. Misconception such as this can unfortunately cause real harm, as they drive political discourse and policy.
FACT: Wolves make prey populations healthier.
The preponderance of scientific evidence supports the view that wolves generally kill prey that are vulnerable, such as weak, sick, old, or young animals. By killing sick prey individuals, wolves remove infectious agents from the environment, reducing transmission to prey.
Scientists and wildlife managers agree that wolves “are the best natural defense” for the spread of Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD), a degenerative neurological illness that is similar to mad cow disease, among wild ungulate populations.
Beyond wolves, perhaps no issue is as controversial in the hunting community right now as CWD. So wolves becoming an unexpected ally in protecting the West’s most popular big game animals could be a hard reality to swallow for some hunters and hunting groups who have long opposed the predators. More…
So the question remains, why are some states spending millions in tax dollars to eliminate predators that help keep wildlife diseases in check?