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Trypanosomes are haemoflagellate protozoa transmitted by blood-feeding arthropods causing infections in a wide range of mammals, including humans. Adult badgers (Meles meles, n = 2), displaying severe paralysis, ataxia and severe ectoparasite infestation, were rescued from a peri-urban area of Bari (southern Italy). Blood samples and ectoparasites were screened for Trypanosoma spp. by the combined PCR/sequencing approach, targeting a fragment of 18S rRNA gene. Smears of haemolymph, guts and salivary glands of the alive ticks were microscopically observed. No haematological alterations, except thrombocytopenia, were found. Trypomastigotes and epimastigotes were observed in the blood smears of both badgers and Trypanosoma pestanai was molecularly identified. Out of 33 ticks (i.e. n = 31 Ixodes canisuga, n = 2 Ixodes ricinus) and two fleas (Ctenocephalides felis), 11 specimens (n = 5 I. canisuga engorged nymphs, n = 4 engorged females and n = 2 I. ricinus engorged females) tested positive only for T. pestanai DNA. All smears from ticks were negative. The present study firstly revealed T. pestanai in Ixodidae and badgers from Italy, demonstrating the occurrence of the protozoan on the peninsula. Further studies are needed to clarify the occurrence of the only known vector of this parasite, Paraceras melis flea, as well as other putative arthropods involved in the transmission of T. pestanai.
Investing in stricter biodiversity conservation and wildlife protection to reduce the number of emerging diseases and, consequently, the risk of pandemics such as coronavirus disease-19 (COVID-19), must integrate a social-ecological perspective. Biodiversity conservation, in order to be effective as disease prevention, requires consideration of people's needs, knowledge and institutions within their locally specific contexts. To meet this goal, future biodiversity research and conservation policy should apply six social-ecological principles for shaping future practices of co-existence of societies and nature.
The COVID-19 pandemic, presumably originating in a spillover event from natural wildlife reservoirs into the human population, sets a new benchmark for the indirect cost of biodiversity exploitation. To reverse the trend of increasing pandemic risk, biodiversity conservation and wildlife protection must be strengthened globally. In this paper, we argue that such preventive measures explicitly need to employ a social-ecological approach. In particular, attention must be paid to the societal relations to nature to avoid falling for simplistic solutions that neglect regional and local particularities of both, biodiversity and local communities. We emphasize the importance of avoiding a Western-biased view and acknowledging the factors and causations of infectious disease emergence in industrialized countries. To reduce the emergence of zoonotic and vector-borne diseases in their specific contexts, we propose applying a social-ecological systems approach by integrating plural local knowledge and values, established practices, formal and informal institutions, as well as technology. We further introduce six social-ecological principles for shaping transformations in the Anthropocene to maintain and build more resilient and sustainable communities. By operationalizing these inter- and transdisciplinary principles, biodiversity conservation can be effectively implemented as infectious disease prevention.
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A social-ecological approach to biodiversity conservation can pave the way for an effective and socially just reduction of future pandemic risks.
This paper reviews current knowledge on the geography, climate, flora, and fauna of Shaanxi's Guanzhong 關中 Basin, a region that has been particularly well studied because it was a capital region of the Zhou, Qin, Han, and Tang dynasties. Humans have so thoroughly transformed the region that it is hard to imagine that it was ever full of wild plants and animals. And since much of the English-language scholarship on the Zhou period focuses on the texts and ideas of urban elites, it is easy to forget that most people were rural farmers living in environments full of wild plants and animals, and that many places had no humans at all. Scholars in various fields have produced abundant new information on the environments of ancient China, making it possible to reconstruct climate and ecology far more accurately than was possible before. This research shows that, contra older claims that ancient North China had a subtropical climate, the climate of the Neolithic and Bronze Age periods was only slightly warmer and wetter than the present. The most important factor in the transformation of the region's ecosystems has been humans, not climate. We will focus on the pre-imperial period because various lines of evidence suggest that the first millennium b.c.e. was a period of population growth in which agricultural societies wiped out many of the natural ecosystems of lowland North China. Only by reconstructing what North China looked like thousands of years ago will we be able to understand how humans came to be the dominant force in the region's ecology.
Wild birds have been the focus of a great deal of research investigating the epidemiology of zoonotic bacteria and antimicrobial resistance in the environment. While enteric pathogens (e.g. Campylobacter, Salmonella, and E. coli O157:H7) and antimicrobial resistant bacteria of public health importance have been isolated from a wide variety of wild bird species, there is a considerable variation in the measured prevalence of a given microorganism from different studies. This variation may often reflect differences in certain ecological and biological factors such as feeding habits and immune status. Variation in prevalence estimates may also reflect differences in sample collection and processing methods, along with a host of epidemiological inputs related to overall study design. Because the generalizability and comparability of prevalence estimates in the wild bird literature are constrained by their methodological and epidemiological underpinnings, understanding them is crucial to the accurate interpretation of prevalence estimates. The main purpose of this review is to examine methodological and epidemiological inputs to prevalence estimates in the wild bird literature that have a major bearing on their generalizability and comparability. The inputs examined here include sample type, microbiological methods, study design, bias, sample size, definitions of prevalence outcomes and parameters, and control of clustering. The issues raised in this review suggest, among other things, that future prevalence studies of wild birds should avoid opportunistic sampling when possible, as this places significant limitations on the generalizability of prevalence data.
Larval stages of pentastomids were collected from different organs of small mammals from the Peruvian Amazon. These parasitized mammals included: a western Amazonian oryzomys (Hylaeamys perenensis), an elegant oryzomys (Euryoryzomys nitidus), a lowland paca (Cuniculus paca), two kinkajous (Potos flavus), two silvery woolly monkeys (Lagothrix poeppigii) and a brown-mantled tamarin (Leontocebus fuscicollis). Pentastomids were found in the mesentery and parenchyma of the liver and lungs of these animals. All pentastomids were morphologically identified as nymphs of Porocephalus spp. Only the nymphs collected from select animals (the western Amazonian oryzomys, the elegant oryzomys and the brown-mantled tamarin) were analysed molecularly. Molecular analysis was performed amplifying the mitochondrial cytochrome c oxidase subunit I gene from select nymphs collected from the western Amazonian oryzomys, the elegant oryzomys and the brown-mantled tamarin. The nucleotide sequences exhibited 95.8–97.7% similarity between them. Also, these sequences showed an identity of 95.8–97.9% to Porocephalus crotali (GenBank accession numbers MG559647–MG559655). Molecular analysis indicated the presence of at least two Porocephalus species. These findings represent the first record of Porocephalus in these mammals, thus adding new intermediate hosts for this pentastomid genus. This work represents the first molecular data of Porocephalus in a Neotropical climate.
Tularaemia is a zoonotic disease, in Europe caused by Francisella tularensis subsp. holarctica. Many lagomorphs and a variety of small rodents are wildlife species prone to develop clinical disease, while predators and scavengers are relatively resistant and may serve as sentinels. Blood samples from 656 Swedish wild predators and scavengers were serologically investigated using slide agglutination and microagglutination. In the slide agglutination test, 34 seropositive animals were detected, and they were found among all species investigated: brown bear (Ursus arctos), Eurasian lynx (Lynx lynx), raccoon dog (Nyctereutes procyonoides), red fox (Vulpes vulpes), wild boar (Sus scrofa), wolf (Canis lupus) and wolverine (Gulo gulo). Due to haemolysis the microagglutination test was more difficult to read at low titres, and only 12 animals were classified as seropositive. F. tularensis subsp. holarctica was detected by a polymerase chain reaction in lymphatic tissues of the head in one brown bear, one red fox and one wolf. The significance of this finding regarding possible latency of infection is not clear. In conclusion, the results of this study indicate that all predator and scavenger species included in this study may serve as sentinels for tularaemia in Sweden. Their role as reservoirs is unclear.
This chapter explored the idea of leveraging property rights to enable either better decision making by stakeholders, usually by changing the ex ante information and incentives, or by re-allocating rights as originally suggested by Coase. We explored Hardin’s (in)famous ‘Tragedy of the Commons,’ from the economic perspectives of rivalry (aka subtractability) and excludability. We explored the impacts of observing the three states of rivalrous, non-rivalrous, and anti-rivalrous against both excludable and non-excludable, yielding six types of goods or services. Traditional property concepts, such as rules of first capture or first mover, could lead to inefficient use of resources. Demsetz's theory is that property rights could emerge, sua sponte, internalising externalities that follow from open access; that property rights enable communities to re-balance the impacts of Pigou’s externalities. Demsetz’s theory does not necessarily imply the establishment of private property rights. Again, the issues of rivalry and excludability came into view. Cooter and Ulen advocated that if property rights could be granted for various natural resources, including wildlife, it would benefit the efforts to protect and conserve those resources.
Wildlife is an essential component of all ecosystems. Most places in the globe do not have local, timely information on which species are present or how their populations are changing. With the arrival of new technologies, camera traps have become a popular way to collect wildlife data. However, data collection has increased at a much faster rate than the development of tools to manage, process and analyse these data. Without these tools, wildlife managers and other stakeholders have little information to effectively manage, understand and monitor wildlife populations. We identify four barriers that are hindering the widespread use of camera trap data for conservation. We propose specific solutions to remove these barriers integrated in a modern technology platform called Wildlife Insights. We present an architecture for this platform and describe its main components. We recognize and discuss the potential risks of publishing shared biodiversity data and a framework to mitigate those risks. Finally, we discuss a strategy to ensure platforms like Wildlife Insights are sustainable and have an enduring impact on the conservation of wildlife.
This paper combines the property rights approach of Barzel with models from renewable resource and evolutionary economics to examine the domestication of wild animals. Wild animals are governed by weak property rights to stocks and individuals while domesticated animals are governed by private ownership of stocks and individuals. The complex evolutionary process of domestication can be viewed as a conversion of wild populations into private property, as well as a transition from natural selection to economic selection controlled by owners of populations and individuals. In our framework domestication is not the explicit goal of any economic agent, but it emerges as a long-run outcome of an innovation in hunting strategies in a hunter–gatherer society. Our formal model also suggests that the domestication process moves slowly at first but then proceeds rapidly, and is aligned with the archeological evidence on domestication events.
Tropical forest regions in equatorial Africa are threatened with degradation, deforestation and biodiversity loss as a result of land-cover change. We investigated historical land-cover dynamics in unprotected forested areas of the Littoral Region in south-western Cameroon during 1975–2017, to detect changes that may influence this important biodiversity and wildlife area. Processed Landsat imagery was used to map and monitor changes in land use and land cover. From 1975 to 2017 the area of high-value forest landscapes decreased by c. 420,000 ha, and increasing forest fragmentation caused a decline of c. 12% in the largest patch index. Conversely, disturbed vegetation, cleared areas and urban areas all expanded in extent, by 32% (c. 400,000 ha), 5.6% (c. 26,800 ha) and 6.6% (c. 78,631 ha), respectively. The greatest increase was in the area converted to oil palm plantations (c. 26,893 ha), followed by logging and land clearing (c. 34,838 ha), all of which were the major factors driving deforestation in the study area. Our findings highlight the increasing threats facing the wider Littoral Region, which includes Mount Nlonako and Ebo Forest, both of which are critical areas for regional conservation and the latter a proposed National Park and the only sizable area of intact forest in the region. Intact forest in the Littoral Region, and in particular at Ebo, merits urgent protection.
We compare the efficiency of mechanical or enzymatic methods, and their combination, for the isolation of ovarian preantral follicles (PFs) from collared peccaries. The ovaries from six females were subjected to the different methods investigated here. For the enzymatic method, ovary fragments were exposed to collagenase type IV in TCM-HEPES medium; the mechanical procedure was based on ovarian cortex dissociation by using a scalpel blade. The residual solution obtained after the mechanical isolation was subjected to the enzymatic procedure. The number of isolated PFs was quantified and classified as primordial, primary, or secondary; their viability was assessed using trypan blue dye assay. To confirm the results, PFs derived from the most efficient method were evaluated for integrity using scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and subjected to a 24 h in vitro culture for subsequent evaluation of viability by using fluorescent probes. A higher number of PFs (P < 0.05) was obtained from the enzymatic method (961.7 ± 132.9) in comparison with the mechanical method (434.3 ± 88.9), but no difference was observed between the two methods and their combination (743.2 ± 92.8). The trypan blue assay showed that the enzymatic method (98.7 ± 0.6%) provided the highest percentage of viable follicles (P < 0.05). Furthermore, SEM confirmed the ultrastructural integrity of the surface architecture of peccary PFs isolated by the enzymatic procedure; epifluorescence microscopy was used to confirm their viability (86.0%). In conclusion, we suggest that the enzymatic method investigated here is useful for the isolation of viable ovarian PFs from collared peccaries.
The burden of anthrax in wildlife is demonstrated through high numbers of sudden mortalities among herbivore species, including endangered animal species. East Africa is home of multiple species of faunal wildlife numbering in the millions but there are limited disease surveillance programmes, resulting in a paucity of information on the role of anthrax and other infectious diseases on declining wildlife populations in the region. We reviewed historical data on anthrax outbreaks from Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) spanning from 1999 to 2017 in Kenya to determine the burden, characteristics and spatial distribution of anthrax outbreaks. A total of 51 anthrax outbreaks associated with 1014 animal deaths were reported across 20 of 60 wildlife conservation areas located in six of the seven agro-ecological zones. Overall, 67% of the outbreaks were reported during the dry seasons, affecting 24 different wildlife species. Over 90% (22 of 24) of the affected species were herbivore, including 12 grazers, five browsers and five mixed grazers and browsers. Buffaloes (23.5%), black rhinos (21.6%) and elephants (17.6%) were the most frequently affected species. Our findings demonstrate the extensive geographic distribution of wildlife anthrax in the country, making it one of the important infectious diseases that threaten wildlife conservation.
Effective wildlife monitoring is a prerequisite for effective wildlife conservation since, without time-series data on species populations and threats, evidence-based adaptive management will be difficult to achieve. Technological advances in remote sensing offer more opportunities for data collection than ever before. However, if we are to enhance data sharing and the use of data by decision-makers, methods must be relevant to local user needs and be integrated into monitoring schemes with appropriate goals and indicators.
Disease surveillance in wildlife populations presents a logistical challenge, yet is critical in gaining a deeper understanding of the presence and impact of wildlife pathogens. Erinaceus coronavirus (EriCoV), a clade C Betacoronavirus, was first described in Western European hedgehogs (Erinaceus europaeus) in Germany. Here, our objective was to determine whether EriCoV is present, and if it is associated with disease, in Great Britain (GB). An EriCoV-specific BRYT-Green® real-time reverse transcription PCR assay was used to test 351 samples of faeces or distal large intestinal tract contents collected from casualty or dead hedgehogs from a wide area across GB. Viral RNA was detected in 10.8% (38) samples; however, the virus was not detected in any of the 61 samples tested from Scotland. The full genome sequence of the British EriCoV strain was determined using next generation sequencing; it shared 94% identity with a German EriCoV sequence. Multivariate statistical models using hedgehog case history data, faecal specimen descriptions and post-mortem examination findings found no significant associations indicative of disease associated with EriCoV in hedgehogs. These findings indicate that the Western European hedgehog is a reservoir host of EriCoV in the absence of apparent disease.
There is a paucity of information on hookworm species in humans, domestic animals and wildlife in southern Africa. Our study aimed to identify hookworm species from stray dogs, humans, and selected wildlife from South Africa. A total of 356 faecal samples were screened for the presence of hookworm-like eggs and subsequently coproculture from the positive samples was carried out to obtain larvae. Hookworm-like eggs were detected in 23.03% (82/356) of samples. Of these samples, 78/296 were from dogs, 3/50 from humans and 1/10 from wildlife. DNA was then isolated from the larvae of 55 positive samples, which were subjected to polymerase chain reaction (PCR), polymerase chain reaction-restriction fragment length polymorphism (PCR-RFLP) and sequencing of the nuclear ribosomal internal transcribed spacer (ITS1) and 5.8S rRNA region. Presence of Ancylostoma caninum, A. braziliense and A. ceylanicum-like species was recorded in stray dogs and A. caninum was recorded in wildlife and humans, using PCR-RFLP. Although PCR-RFLP results pointed to the presence of A. ceylanicum, we did not get a sequence that matched with A. ceylanicum from GenBank. This may have been due to the low proportion of A. ceylanicum larvae in our samples. Twenty-two of the 27 positive amplicons from stray dogs matched with A. caninum, three with A. braziliense and two had mixed infections of A. braziliense and A. caninum. Sequences from a lion and three humans matched with A. caninum. This is the first confirmation of a patent A. caninum infection in humans as evidenced by the presence of eggs in faeces, with the subsequent larvae from coproculture being identified as A. caninum.
Coronaviruses (CoVs) produce a wide spectrum of disease syndromes in different mammalian and avian host species. These viruses are well-recognized for their ability to change tissue tropism, to hurdle the interspecies barriers and to adapt ecological variations. It is predicted that the inherent genetic diversity of CoVs caused by accumulation of point mutations and high frequency of homologous recombination is the principal determinant of these competences. Several CoVs (e.g. Severe acute respiratory syndrome-CoV, Middle East respiratory syndrome-CoV) have been recorded to cross the interspecies barrier, inducing different disease conditions in variable animal hosts. Bovine CoV (BCoV) is a primary cause of gastroenteritis and respiratory disease in cattle calves, winter dysentery in lactating cows and shipping fever pneumonia in feedlot cattle. Although it has long been known as a restrictive cattle pathogen, CoVs that are closely related to BCoV have been recognized in dogs, humans and in other ruminant species. Biologic, antigenic and genetic analyses of the so-called ‘bovine-like CoVs’ proposed classification of these viruses as host-range variants rather than distinct virus species. In this review, the different bovine-like CoVs that have been identified in domesticated ruminants (water buffalo, sheep, goat, dromedary camel, llama and alpaca) and wild ruminants (deer, wild cattle, antelopes, giraffes and wild goats) are discussed in terms of epidemiology, transmission and virus characteristics. The presented data denote the importance of these viruses in the persistence of BCoV in nature, spread to new geographical zones, and continuous emergence of disease epidemics in cattle farms.
This paper examines the petroleum industry's willingness to participate in conservation agreements for the lesser prairie chicken, a candidate for listing under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). Voluntary conservation agreements with assurances (VCAAs) can incentivize habitat conservation and sustain economic development. Using data on oil and natural gas wells in Kansas and Oklahoma, I develop a discrete choice model to examine company preferences for locating wells and participating in VCAAs for the lesser prairie chicken. Participation in VCAAs is low, but I find participating wells are concentrated in areas with the most crucial habitat.
Hydatigera (Cestoda: Taeniidae) is a recently resurrected genus including species seldom investigated in sub-Saharan Africa. We surveyed wild small mammal populations in the areas of Richard Toll and Lake Guiers, Senegal, with the objective to evaluate their potential role as intermediate hosts of larval taeniid stages (i.e. metacestodes). Based on genetic sequences of a segment of the mitochondrial DNA gene cytochrome c oxidase subunit 1 (COI), we identified Hydatigera parva metacestodes in 19 out of 172 (11.0%) Hubert's multimammate mice (Mastomys huberti) and one out of six (16.7%) gerbils (Taterillus sp.) and Hydatigera taeniaeformis sensu stricto metacestodes in one out of 215 (0.5%) Nile rats (Arvicanthis niloticus). This study reports epidemiological and molecular information on H. parva and H. taeniaeformis in West African rodents, further supporting the phylogeographic hypothesis on the African origin of H. parva. Our findings may indicate significant trophic interactions contributing to the local transmission of Hydatigera spp. and other parasites with similar life-cycle mechanisms. We therefore propose that further field investigations of rodent population dynamics and rodent-borne infectious organisms are necessary to improve our understanding of host–parasite associations driving the transmission risks of rodent parasites in West Africa.
With the growing human population, and their improving wealth, it is predicted that there will be significant increases in demand for livestock products (mainly meat and milk). Recent years have demonstrated that the growth in livestock production has generally had significant impacts on wildlife worldwide; and these are, usually, negative. Here I review the interactions between livestock and wildlife and assess the mechanisms through which these interactions occur. The review is framed within the context of the socio-ecological system whereby people are as much a part of the interaction between livestock and wildlife as the animal species themselves. I highlight areas of interaction that are mediated through effects on the forage supply (vegetation) – neutral, positive and negative – however, the review broadly analyses the impacts of livestock production activities. The evidence suggests that it is not the interaction between the species themselves but the ancillary activities associated with livestock production (e.g. land use change, removal of predators, provision of water points) that are the major factors affecting the outcome for wildlife. So in future, there are two key issues that need to be addressed – first, we need to intensify livestock production in areas of ‘intensive’ livestock production in order to reduce the pressure for land use change to meet the demand for meat (land sparing). And second, if wildlife is to survive in areas where livestock production dominates, it will have to be the people part of the socio-ecological system that sees the benefits of having wildlife co-exist with livestock on farming lands (land sharing and win-win).