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A Second Chance For The Mexican Wolf

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Monitor on Psychology -- Now, conditioned taste aversion is getting a second chance, thanks to Nicolaus and Dan Moriarty, PhD, a psychology professor at the University of San Diego. Last September, Nicolaus and Moriarty conducted an experiment where they mixed tiabendazole, a tasteless, nausea-inducing chemical, into ground mutton wrapped in sheepskin. They then gave the mutton parcels to captive wolves that often dragged the meat around and urinated on it before eating it. Despite the smell contamination, every animal that ate the bait refused to eat sheep meat in following trials, according to findings Moriarty presented in April at the Western Psychological Association annual convention.

In June, Moriarty and Nicolaus described how to use conditioned taste aversion to prevent wolves from attacking livestock in a report to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Mexican Wolf Recovery Program. It’s now being reviewed by the program’s scientific committee and state wildlife management agencies. This is a major step because it’s the first time in more than three decades that wildlife authorities have considered trying the technique, says Moriarty. (Full Story)

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