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Vet Microbiol. 2006 Feb 25;112(2-4):325-38. Epub 2005 Dec 15.

Wildlife reservoirs for bovine tuberculosis (Mycobacterium bovis) in Canada: strategies for management and research.

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  • 1Department of Environment and Natural Resources, Box 900, Government of the Northwest Territories, Fort Smith, NT X0E 0P0, Canada.


In Canada, there are two known regional foci where wildlife populations are infected with bovine tuberculosis (Mycobacterium bovis) and considered to be disease reservoirs. Free-ranging populations of wood bison (Bison bison athabascae) in and around Wood Buffalo National Park (WBNP) and wapiti (Cervus elaphus manitobensis) in and around Riding Mountain National Park (RMNP) are infected with bovine tuberculosis. In this paper, we provide an overview of these diseased wild ungulate populations and the complexities of attempting to manage issues relating to bovine tuberculosis in and around protected areas. We do not describe the quantitative science and epidemiological data in detail from these case histories, but instead compare and contrast these two cases from a broader perspective. This is achieved by reviewing the context and process by which a diverse group of stakeholders engage and develop strategies to address the controversial problems that diseased wildlife populations often present. We suggest that understanding the factors that drive the strategic-level management processes is equally important for addressing a wildlife disease problem as the tactical-level issues, such as design and implementation of technically sound field research and management programs. Understanding the experiences within the WBNP and RMNP areas, particularly the strategies that have failed or succeeded, may prove useful to understanding and improving management approaches when wildlife are infected with M. bovis. Applying this understanding is consistent with the principles of adaptive management in which we learn from previous experiences to develop better strategies for the future.

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