Last year, Penn State researchers announced a focus study on the growing problem of sarcoptic mange among the state’s black bear populations. The study has been led by immunologists and entomologists within Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences, which has focused on bear ecology, bear movement, and the animal’s immune response amid an increasing mange presence.
Pathologists with the New Hampshire Veterinary Diagnostic Lab at the University of New Hampshire have been working on study of CDV in multiple wildlife species for a few years. The disease may already be having an impact on populations of wild mesocarnivores in New Hampshire and New England, including fox and fisher.
Just as the acorn mast abundance of two years ago drove a rodent explosion last year, I’m confident the expansion in rodent presence will drive a “cyclical boom” in New England’s predatory species this year.
Is New Hampshire finding its way out of a cyclical “boom and bust” fisher trend? Current data is great for checking trends, but does it give you the root cause of a perceived decline? Biologists have stated fisher appear to be adapting (and thriving) in more urban areas; have these creatures forgone the dense hemlock groves where trappers roam for the dumpsters and back decks of suburban sprawl?
Take a look at recent headlines across the country. In the wake of a reported “decline” in hunting and trapping activities, one need not wait long to catch a report of nuisance wildlife issues, disease outbreaks, or worse yet - attacks on people. Hey, maybe it’s all just a conspiracy put out by the “fur industry”. Or maybe it’s time critics of trapping start reformulating their arguments.