DISTEMPER IN KIT FOXES

DISTEMPER IN KIT FOXES

The Department of Fish and Game (DFG) is investigating the death of seven desert kit foxes from canine distemper in eastern Riverside County. These deaths, which occurred over the past two months, are the first documented cases of canine distemper in wild desert kit foxes. Wildlife officials want to determine if this is an isolated case or if the disease is more widespread. The kit foxes were found 20 miles outside of Blythe on public lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and leased to Genesis Solar LLC to construct a utility-scale solar project. DFG is coordinating its efforts with the California Energy Commission, who is the state permittee for the solar project, and the U.S. Bureau ofLand Management. Construction in the area has been temporarily halted,in part due to the kit fox distemper discovery. DFG Wildlife Veterinarian Deana Clifford said “Although we do not know if this outbreak was started by an infected domestic animal, it is important for people to vaccinate their petsregularly,” She added, “Vaccination will not only protect your pet but help protect wildlife populations from disease outbreaks.”

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