Drug shows promise for endangered Catalina Island fox

Dec 27, 2015 11:47 AM by News Staff

TORRANCE, Calif. (AP) - The Catalina Island fox, one of the world's most endangered species, suffered from frequent tumors until scientists discovered a relatively simple solution: treating ear mites.

The Daily Breeze of Torrance reports research at University of California, Davis and Catalina Island Conservancy shows treating ear mites with an anti-parasitic drug helps block cancer. Ear infections that can lead to cancer were reduced from 98 percent to 10 percent among foxes that received the drug.

Efforts to save the foxes began in the late 1990s when residents noticed the population declined - a result of canine distemper brought by visitors. The disease killed roughly 90 percent of the island fox population.

In 1999, roughly 100 foxes remained. Last year, the population was surveyed at more than 1,700.

Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.


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