City officials in the Riverside neighborhood of Chicago have announced warnings of distemper outbreak in the area’s raccoon population - and the hazards posed to residents, as well as non-vaccinated pets.
I’ve always been personally fascinated with the adaptability of fur bearers such as skunks and raccoons. In the aftermath of the raccoon’s “great migration” to man’s urban meccas, it’s almost hard to believe they ever inhabited the wildernesses of rural America at all - man was once a rural beast as well.
Word on the street says that hunting is on a national downward trend. That “word” clearly hasn’t reached the hillside haunts of New Hampshire, as thousands of Granite State hunters and trappers still take to the woods each spring and fall to take part in the outdoor pastimes that have been integral to rural New England life.
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.