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Providing evidence to improve practice

Action: Establish populations isolated from disease Terrestrial Mammal Conservation

Key messages

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  • One study evaluated the effects on mammals of establishing populations isolated from disease. The study was in sub-Saharan Africa.



  • Condition (1 study): A site comparison study throughout sub-Saharan Africa found that fencing reduced prevalence of canine distemper but not of rabies, coronavirus or canine parvovirus in African wild dogs.


Supporting evidence from individual studies


A site comparison study in 1988–2010 of 16 sites throughout sub-Saharan Africa (Prager et al. 2012) found that fencing reduced prevalence of canine distemper but not of rabies, coronavirus or canine parvovirus in African wild dogs Lycaon pictus. Prevalence of canine distemper was lower in fenced protected sites (0.04 seroprevalence) than in unfenced protected sites (0.28) or unfenced and unprotected sites (0.20). However, the prevalence of rabies, coronavirus or parvovirus did not change significantly between fenced protected sites (rabies: 0.02; coronavirus: 0.03; parvovirus: 0.22 seroprevalence), unfenced protected sites (rabies: 0.06; coronavirus: 0.11; parvovirus: 0.19) and unfenced and unprotected sites (rabies: 0.12; coronavirus: 0.18; parvovirus: 0.21). Blood samples were collected from 268 African wild dogs in 1988–2009 across 16 sites representing five unconnected wild dog populations: South Africa (2 unconnected populations; 7 protected-fenced sites, 3 unprotected-unfenced), Zimbabwe, Botswana (1 population; 2 protected-unfenced site, 2 unprotected-unfenced), Tanzania (1 protected-unfenced site) and Kenya (1 unprotected-unfenced site). Protected-fenced sites had game fencing likely to exclude domestic dogs. Seroprevalence (proportion of animals with detectable antibodies against a disease) was determined from blood samples.

Referenced papers

Please cite as:

Littlewood, N.A., Rocha, R., Smith, R.K., Martin, P.A., Lockhart, S.L., Schoonover, R.F., Wilman, E., Bladon, A.J., Sainsbury, K.A., Pimm S. and Sutherland, W.J. (2020) Terrestrial Mammal Conservation: Global Evidence for the Effects of Interventions for terrestrial mammals excluding bats and primates. Synopses of Conservation Evidence Series. University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK.