Morris Foundation funds wildlife studies

Fifteen recipients will receive grants

Morris Animal Foundation, a Denver organization that funds research aimed at furthering animal health, has chosen 15 recipients of grants supporting wildlife.

The study topics include everything from why some bats survive white-nose syndrome to the effects on European vultures of drugs found in carrion.

“We often think of wildlife populations as under threat solely from habitat loss or poaching, but emerging and endemic diseases are increasingly a source of concern for these populations,” said Morris’ chief scientific officer, Barbara Wolfe, DVM, Ph.D.

Established by veterinarian and pet food pioneer Mark L. Morris in 1948, the foundation has contributed more than $103 million toward 2,500 scientific studies worldwide.

“The studies included in this round of funding demonstrate the wide range of health challenges wildlife populations experience but also give us hope that today’s researchers can find ways to protect at-risk populations and ensure they exist for generations to come,” Dr. Wolfe said.

The 15 recipients and their projects are:

  • Washington State University: Curbing plague outbreaks in prairie dog colonies.
  • Imperial College (United Kingdom): Saving Madagascar’s amphibians from a deadly fungus infection.
  • Northern Arizona University: Reducing stress in endangered sea turtles during rehabilitation.
  • Autonomous University of Barcelona (Spain): Assessing risk to European vultures consuming carcasses containing non-steroidal, anti-inflammatory drugs.
  • University of the Sunshine Coast (Australia): Identifying factors leading to severe and fatal infections in koalas.
  • Zoological Society of San Diego: Looking for genes associated with a lethal form of dwarfism in California condors.
  • Colorado State University: Understanding why some bats survive white-nose syndrome.
  • University of Georgia: Examining factors driving hookworm deaths for fur seal pups.
  • University of Illinois: Investigating an emerging disease in freshwater turtles.
  • University of Mississippi: Developing a rapid age-assessment tool for Galapagos giant tortoises.
  • Washington State University: Measuring parvovirus impact on African carnivores.
  • Universidad Andres Bello (Chile): Assessing the impact of blood bacterial infections on the endangered Darwin’s fox.
  • University of Minnesota: Improving diagnostics for raptors exposed to toxic rodent poisons.
  • University of Adelaide (Australia): Identifying populations of disease-free koalas to assist conservation efforts.
  • Utrecht University (Netherlands): Diagnosing and managing tuberculosis in African wildlife.

Originally published in the November 2016 issue of Veterinary Practice News. Did you enjoy this article? Then subscribe today! 

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