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Possible relationships between trichinellosis and abnormal behavior in bears

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Abstract

Data compiled from parasite studies of grizzly bears (Ursus arctos) and black bears (U. americanus) in the Yellowstone and Glacier National Park populations and surrounding areas of Montana and Wyoming during 1969-79 are reviewed with reference to the possible influence of infection with the muscleworm Trichinella sp. on bear behavior. In grizzly bears, the high prevalence of this parasite (61% of 254 bears infected), the elevated larval concentrations in sensitive anatomical sites such as the tongue (average, 51 larvae per gram of tissue), and the chronic nature of bear infections as indicated by the tendency for highest infection rates to occur in older age classes (> 16 yrs.), suggest a potential behavior-modifying effect might exist. However, retrospective analysis of recent human attacks by 4 grizzlies and 2 black bears in the northern Rocky Mountain region failed to demonstrate a consistent connection between erratic conduct and levels of Trichinella larvae (trichinae) in bear tissues. Clinical similarities of trichinellosis in bears and humans are hypothesized, and possible behavioral effects of ursine trichinellosis are discussed.

Additional publication details

Publication type Book chapter
Publication Subtype Book Chapter
Title Possible relationships between trichinellosis and abnormal behavior in bears
Volume 5
Year Published 1983
Language English
Publisher International Association for Bear Research and Management.
Publisher location Morges, Switzerland
Contributing office(s) Northern Rocky Mountain Science Center
Description 4 p.
Larger Work Type Book
Larger Work Subtype Conference publication
Larger Work Title International Conference on Bear Research and Management
First page 280
Last page 283
Conference Title International Conference on Bear Research and Management.
Online Only (Y/N) N
Additional Online Files (Y/N) N