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Thursday, August 9 • 9:00am - 9:20am
Disease 2 Track: New World Screwworm Impacts on the Endangered Florida Key Deer

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AUTHORS: Jared T. Beaver, Department of Biology, Center for Energy, Environment and Sustainability, Wake Forest University; Israel D. Parker, Brian L. Pierce – Texas A&M Natural Resources Institute, Texas A&M University; Kate Watts, National Key Deer Refuge, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; Nova J. Silvy, Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Sciences, Texas A&M University; Roel R. Lopez, Texas A&M Natural Resources Institute, Texas A&M University

ABSTRACT: In July 2016, Florida Key deer (Odocoileus virginianus clavium), were confirmed to have New World screwworm (Cochliomyia hominivorax). Screwworm is a threat to U.S. agricultural interests and wildlife populations, prompting an immediate response from federal, state, and local agencies to stop further expansion in North America and eradicate the current infestation in the Lower Florida Keys.1 Study objectives were to (1) characterize screwworm-related mortalities and (2) assess infestation impacts on population density, sex-age structure, and viability. Approximately 15% of the Key deer population were euthanized and/or died due to screwworm infections (n=135 deer mortalities) between July 2016–August 2017 (Fig. 1). The majority of these mortalities occurred during October 2016. However, screwworm-related mortality decreased by 95% in November 2016 (n=7 since 1 November 2016) as a result of doramectin treatments and sterile fly release efforts by USDA and USFWS. No additional screwworm-related mortalities were recorded after January 2017. Adult males were disproportionately impacted by screwworm infestations (92%) which is attributed to rut-related injuries. Sex ratios shifted with adult male mortalities and were slightly higher (4.12:1 females:males, current) compared to the historic average (3.76:1). An estimated 925 (CI=698-1353) Key deer occupy Big Pine and No Name keys (core population) post-screwworm incident as of April 2017. Population metrics (i.e., mean encounter rate, monthly deer density, and screwworm mortalities) presented as potential indicators of Key deer population status suggests the Key deer population is stable and above the population viability analysis “trigger points” requiring more active management by USFWS personnel. Successful resolution of the screwworm incident reduced the need for intensive Key deer data collection efforts (i.e., less radiotelemetry and fewer driving surveys) after April 2017. At this time, it is recommended that USFWS continue baseline monitoring efforts for the Key deer population.

458891 pdf
9AM pdf

Thursday August 9, 2018 9:00am - 9:20am MDT
Assembly Hall C
  Disease 2
  • Slides Available Yes

Attendees (2)