Pro Save the Human Species
"Wolf Doo-Doo and You"
By C. J. Williams
While outdoors sportsmen and others who trek through the woods and fields of the U. P. are accustomed to stepping on or over deer droppings, care should be taken when coming upon wolf “scat”.
Since our U. P. “landscape” is being re-wilded with lots of wolves by partnering eco-holics, herbivores, such as deer and moose, are being killed and eaten by the predators. Invariably, these species will become infected with parasites that need herbivores and carnivores to complete their life cycle.
Something people need to be concerned about is the lethal Hydatid disease that’s caused by a tiny tapeworm (Echinococcus granulosus), which lives in great multitudes in the gut of wolves, coyotes, and other canids. The tapeworm produces even tinier eggs, which are passed out in great amounts in the feces of the infected animals.
Tapeworm eggs from infected canids normally spread out on forage eaten by deer, moose, elk, etc., and domestic ungulates (hoofed animals), too. Once an animal is infected, the eggs develop into big cysts in the critter’s lungs, liver, and brain. Each of these cysts contains great numbers of itty-bitty tapeworm heads and the critters condition will become such that it will either die outright or become very susceptible to predators looking for din-din.
When wolves, coyotes, or dogs eat the infected critter’s lungs or liver that are teeming with tapeworm filled cysts, the tapeworms are freed to attach themselves to the eater’s gut where they grow, produce eggs, and complete their lifecycle, much to their host’s distress.
Wolf scat can be contaminated with mega-millions of tiny tapeworm eggs. And, like fine dust particles, these eggs can easily become airborne and land on hands and mouth. The disease can also be picked up from the fur of infected wolves, coyotes, and dogs handled by people, or from infected canid feces disturbed while milling around in the bush or yard.
The wolf population at Isle Royale has had some incidence of hydatid tapeworm infection over the years, and the National Park Service issues a warning that water on the island not obtained from Rock Harbor or Windago spigots must be considered infected with intestinal bacteria and hydatid tapeworm.
Just like canids, people’s liver, lungs, and brains can be infected with these tiny tapeworms that will kill them if the parasites aren’t surgically removed.
Therefore, it’s imperative that one has his ducks in a row and watches where he steps while in the vast wolf territory of the Upper Peninsula. This goes for little Johnnie’s tag-along tootsies, too, as he tries to keep up with grown-ups.
Hunters, trappers, stream fishermen, 4-Wheeling Weekend Warriors, spandex clad hikers and bikers, berry-pickers, underage back-woods partiers, and just about everyone living in or visiting the U. P. needs to know that wolf and coyote scat should never, ever be touched or kicked.
Besides not stepping in or kicking wolf, coyote, or other canid doo-doo,
it might be a good idea for trappers and others to wear gloves and masks when handling fur. As for man’s best friend, well, maybe we better know where old Pal and Lady have been when off-leash.
It’s also advisable to never feed offal from deer, moose, and elk to dogs. If the gut of a dog becomes infected, then the house and yard where the dog lives will also become infected with the deadly tapeworm eggs, as most likely will humans who live or visit there.
Information about the prevalence of Hydatid disease in Canada and the United States can be found on the Internet. Historically, the disease has been uncommon in America for quite some time, but then, so were wolves until “re-wilders” took over our government resource management agencies.
The Real Cost Of Living With Wolves
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