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Wolves II

Mexican wolf pup born in wild dies of parvo

Mexican gray wolves, being reintroduced in the
wild, are in danger of coming
in contact with parvovirus, a contagious and
deadly disease.

Federal wildlife officials scrambled Wednesday to
prevent the spread of a
fatal virus that killed one endangered Mexican
gray wolf pup last week and
might have killed two more pups on Monday.

Officials considered the situation critical since
there are only about 210
of this wolf subspecies in existance, including 22
in the wild.

All three dead pups were part of the Pipestem
pack, a group of eight wolves
that are being recaptured after the July 11
killing of a calf in the Apache
National Forest. That was the first killing of
domestic cattle since wolves
were reintroduced to the wilds of the Southwest in
January 1998, nearly
three decades after they were exterminated.

The first of the 4-month-old pubs died Aug. 24
while in a holding pen south
of Alpine. Analysis at a federal animal laboratory
in Wisconsin showed
Wednesday that it died of parvovirus, a highly
contagious and deadly disease
that can infect domestic and wild canines.

Adult wolves released into the 5-million-acre
Mexican gray wolf recovery
area during the past two years have all been
vaccinated against parvo.

But the five pups born to the Pipestem pack were
born in the wild and never
inoculated, said Vickie Fox, spokeswoman for the
U.S. Fish and Wildlife

"They contracted it somewhere in the wild," Fox

The two other pups were found dead on Monday at
the Sevilleta National
Wildlife Refuge in central New Mexico, which
currently holds about 20
wolves. Officials there immediately began
inoculating other pups, isolating
the pack and disposing of food, feces and any
other material that could
harbor the disease, Fox said.

"It's a tough virus," she said, adding that it can
survive dormant under
snow for up to six months and still be infectious.

Wildlife officials captured the Pipestem pack's
lead male, a yearling and
five pups, including the three who died. They
still are trying to capture
the pack's lead female.

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