Animal Research: Helping Preserve and Protect America’s Wildlife

Following in the footsteps of two very informative postings about the critical role of animal research in preserving endangered species and improving the lives of our pets, the Foundation for Biomedical Research (FBR) has released another, this time focusing on the important task of preserving America’s wildlife population.

Disease or pollution can easily disrupt the delicate balance of the ecosystem which can then upset our wildlife population. Prairie dogs, for example, are susceptible to sylvatic plaque, a highly infectious disease spread by bacteria in flea bites. This is the same bacteria bubonic and pneumonic plague in humans and has the capability of killing 90% of a prairie dog colony. Thankfully research with mice has developed an effective vaccine that has been administered in the wild in blocks of food. Deer and people are also vulnerable to Lyme disease. The pathogen causing the disease can be found in white-footed mice, small rodents, and birds. Yet, deer ticks prefer their eponymous host when possible, so areas with large deer populations are at a higher risk for the spread of Lyme disease. Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have developed a novel way to genetically engineer mice to become immune to the disease and hopefully this could bring an end to the disease.

Animal research is essential in safeguarding America’s wildlife for generations to come. Please click here to read FBR’s latest release and if you haven’t already, don’t forget to check out their coverage of animal research helping endangered species and pets.