Establish populations isolated from disease
Overall effectiveness category Unknown effectiveness (limited evidence)
Number of studies: 1
Background information and definitions
When mammal populations are threatened by disease, a short- to medium-term management option may be to establish wild-living or captive populations that are isolated from sources of the disease, such as on islands or in large fenced enclosures (e.g. Jones et al. 2007). These could aid persistence of the species and provide stock for reintroductions, should the disease be eliminated or sufficiently controlled in the originally affected areas.
Jones M.E., Jarman P.J., Lees C.M., Hesterman H., Hamede R.K., Mooney N.J., Mann D., Pukk C,.E., Bergfeld J. & McCallum H. (2007) Conservation management of Tasmanian devils in the context of an emerging, extinction-threatening disease: devil facial tumor disease. EcoHealth, 4, 326–337.
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.Study and other actions tested
Referenced paperPrager K.C., Mazet J.A.K., Munson L., Cleaveland S., Donnelly C.A., Dubovi E.J., Szykman Gunther M., Lines R., Mills G., Davies-Mostert H.T., Weldon McNutt J., Rasmussen G., Terio K. & Woodroffe R. (2012) The effect of protected areas on pathogen exposure in endangered African wild dog (Lycaon pictus) populations. Biological Conservation, 150, 15-22.