On August 30, two wild-born pups from the recaptured Pipestem pack were found dead at the Sevilleta facility and are believed to have died from canine parvovirus (CPV), an infectious disease that affects both domestic and wild canines and is often fatal in young animals. The Service is awaiting final confirmation of their cause of death from the National Wildlife Health Center in Madison, Wisconsin.
The two pups found dead on Tuesday are being sent to the center for necropsy and diagnosis of their cause of death. Analyses leading to a final diagnosis may take up to 2 weeks to complete. These latest two pups were offspring of female wolf #511, a former member of the Campbell Blue pack that was released into the wild on March 30, 1998, and returned to captivity on May 18, 1998, because it dispersed out of the designated wolf recovery area.
A total of five Mexican wolf pups have died since August 24; the three other pups were members of the Pipestem pack, which is being removed from the wild because of past livestock depredations. Pending final confirmation, CPV is strongly suspected as the cause of death for the Pipestem pups. The Service is continuing to closely monitor all wolves at the Sevilleta facility as well as wolves in the wild. All eight pups born this year at Sevilleta were vaccinated on September 1, but the vaccine takes 2 to 3 weeks to reach maximum effectiveness; the remaining pups all tested negative for CPV, but the disease takes 4 to 7 days to develop after exposure.
Eleven adult Mexican wolves and eight pups -- comprising four family groups and three individual wolves -- remain at the Sevilleta facility. The Service is taking extreme precautions to prevent the spread of CPV at the facility.