LAMAR CANYON GRAY WOLF – PUPDATE …by Leo Leckie

Sarcoptic mange is a highly contagious canine skin disease caused by mites that burrow into the skin causing infections, hair loss, severe irritation and an insatiable desire to scratch. The resulting hair loss and depressed vigor of an infected animal leaves them vulnerable to hypothermia, malnutrition and dehydration, which can eventually lead to death. Mange was introduced into the Northern Rockies in 1909 by state wildlife veterinarians in an attempt to help eradicate local wolf and coyote populations. Scientists believe the troublesome mite that causes the disease persisted among coyotes and foxes after wolves were exterminated. Since their reintroduction into the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem in 1995-96, wolves appeared to be free of mange until 2002. As of March 2014, 2 of 8 known packs in Yellowstone National Park (YNP) have mange, mostly in the Northern Range, and the prevalence within a pack ranges from 25 to 60%.
On a hopeful note, in 2014 the Mollies pack suffered greatly from mange. The following year they had completely recovered, naturally and on their own, and today they are one of the healthiest packs in the Yellowstone. (Source)

This 10-month old wolf pup of the Lamar Canyon pack has been finding a way to survive while suffering from mange during Yellowstone’s winter. Our Wild Side group was able to get a good look at the effects of this disease today and, while heartwrenching to see, the good news is that he looks a bit better than earlier sightings this season.

Photograph by Leo Leckie 
About Leo Leckie

A life-long student of the natural world, I’ve been attending the dynamic classroom that is Yellowstone National Park year-round since 2010. My teachers and mentors are the myriad animate and inanimate species and forms who share their stories and insights daily.  Research areas of specialization include Wolves, Badgers, Bears, Geography and Geology.