Life on Land

Wolves contribute to disease control in a multi-host system

E. Tanner, A. White, P. Acevedo, A. Balseiro, J. Marcos & C. Gortázar, Sci Rep 9, 7940 (2019).

We combine model results with field data for a system of wolves (Canis lupus) that prey on wild boar (Sus scrofa), a wildlife reservoir of tuberculosis, to examine how predation may contribute to disease control in multi-host systems. Results show that predation can lead to a marked reduction in the prevalence of infection without leading to a reduction in host population density since mortality due to predation can be compensated by a reduction in disease induced mortality. A key finding therefore is that a population that harbours a virulent infection can be regulated at a similar density by disease at high prevalence or by predation at low prevalence. Predators may therefore provide a key ecosystem service which should be recognised when considering human-carnivore conflicts and the conservation and re-establishment of carnivore populations.


Shared under a Creative Commons License

Citation: Tanner, E., White, A., Acevedo, P. et al. Wolves contribute to disease control in a multi-host system. Sci Rep9, 7940 (2019). (origin source)

Posted by Claire Edwards 21 July 2020