Now I'd like to talk a little bit about the diseases here.
There's about 30, 36 or so diseases that wolves carry. Now, I'm going to ask you folks at this point in time whether you'd like to take a quick break or just plow on through because I'm willing to plow on through. Anybody need a booze break?
What we're going to do is we're going to take a look at these diseases. Normally my presentation only includes a couple of these diseases, four of them. But because of what's going on right now in the West, it is migrating to other parts, towards the central part of the USA and so forth that you would see. I want to try to talk about a couple of more in here.
Now, let's talk about the area that I mentioned before, the sylvatic area, which is the wilderness area, and the pastoral area which is domestic around a residence or urban area. The reason I put this up there is the government agents who are bringing in the wolves said, Ed Bangs said that, "Oh, by the way, these diseases are sylvatic diseases and therefore you don't have to worry about them because you're only out there in the wilderness a couple of people a few times." He was defining the infectious nature of a disease, a parasitic disease, by a geographical location. I don't know any doctor in his right mind that would tell you that's correct. But that's what they told you to try to get the wolves in and keep the people from confronting the issue on diseases. Now, we studied these diseases because we find that the law says that if you have a health emergency and some of the zoonotic diseases can produce worldwide a health emergency. Then no other law except your safety laws, as your police department and that type of thing, take precedence until the health emergency is cured or gone away. If you wind up with the diseases in your wolf population, your hybrid population, and your coyotes and so forth, because they bring the wolves in with the disease out of Canada and they swore to us the wolves they were bringing in from Canada didn't have any disease. They, again, didn't tell the truth.
Then you've got a situation where you can actually, whatever the lawyers will tell you and I won't tell you because I'm not a lawyer. Maybe we can get Jeremy [Hopkins] to tell you.
Let's talk about the Echinococcus. This is what it looks like worldwide as you see, Echinococcus granulosus is a two-hemisphere, worldwide problem. It's all over the place out there. Echinococcus multilocularis, which is a little different species, is mainly in the Northern Hemisphere. The darker areas are where it's really concentrated. China has a really, really bad problem with this disease and it's serious.
Now, we talk about the other areas of the world. Nepal, China, and India are the three countries right now with the most of the population infected. Nepal, and this was research done some years ago, and they researched and took samples from the whole country, across the country there's some areas that the population of the country 14% of them have Echinococcus granulosus up to 25%. Now, they've done nothing because they have no sanitation and no health departments to help them out so I'm suspecting that if we went back there we'd find it would be worse. Bulgaria had a good program going on. What they did was they had a very good political structure going on and they recognized this disease. About 1979 they went through a political upheaval where the new politicians, so to speak, went in there and said, "Oh, we're not going to worry about it." They wound up in a short period of time recognizing in their hospitals 8,557 cases of which 516 died because they stopped looking at the disease. In our country right now, this disease is not reportable.
When they brought the wolves out of Canada into Idaho, the Idaho Department of Health decided to de-list this disease from the reportable diseases. Now, in Utah they still have it on the list. Why? Because they were trying to mitigate the public's idea that this was or could develop into a real problem.
In Queensland cattle business, in 1981 overall this effected about 33,000 cattle in this period of time from 1981 to 2004. At the slaughterhouses they recognize that they had hydatid cysts and we'll show you what that is in a moment. Hydatid cysts get in your vital organs, like the kidneys. They had to dispose of these which didn't go to dog food or cat food or whatever else they might go to. Then by 2004 it had increased in the same type from the same area to six million dollars of loss adjusted for inflation. So, the numbers are equal.
There is a way to cure it but basically to get rid of it you have to isolate it and islands are perfect. Tasmania got rid of it. They have what they call a Tasmanian sheep strain down there and it got into their domestic sheep because of where they were and they could quarantine everything off and nobody could get in with new canines. They were able to take care of it.
Canada and Northwest Territories and so forth, we have had that up there and this is the same time this guy is talking about no wolves, no problems, and so forth. We have a situation whereby the worst of the case was two-and-a-half-year-old girl with the disease.
Here we now have Alaska since the 1950's it's slowed down a little bit since about 1980 or say 1985. They had 300 cases of the disease and we had four cases not too long ago where reported in Idaho and we had three cases that Utah recognized.
They brought in the wolves. When they brought in the wolves in our area according to them we had zero. They brought in 66, 33 pair of wolves. They distributed them about equal number between the wilderness in Idaho and the Yellowstone National Park, which you can see is in the center of the screen. By 2009, and this is my calculation and you'll not find it anywhere else, but I can justify it, we had 4,000 wolves running around. You can imagine 250 packs of wolves running around in an area where there was none.
Wolves travel, as we mentioned. What happens when you talk about infectious zoonotic diseases, is the wolves travel through the area where it is and the ungulates, what we call elk and deer, and ruminants we call cattle and so forth are prey for them and they will eat these animals that have the part of the disease and then carry it with them. In addition to that, we had two cases of rabies in skunks. One was seventeen miles from my house. It sounds very unusual but bats carry rabies and they're all over the place out there. We also have now, the plague. If you remember your history in the 1400's the bubonic plague, "The Black Death." It's the same plague.
From a standpoint of species and strains, this is what it looks like. There are actually eleven different strains of Echinococcus granulosus. What has happened is, that if you look at paragraph two, those strains used to be five, six, seven, and so forth, and weren't categorized on a subset of a category. Canadensis simply means it's associated with Canada. It has nothing to do with the disease. So, they classified these. The disease in Canada is the G8 and G10 strain. We had none of that in Montana. You've got none of it here. They swore to us that they treated the wolves that they brought in and they quarantined them except they didn't quarantine the ones in Idaho. That's what we call a rough release. They just let them go when they basically brought them in.
The ones in Yellowstone they said that they penned them up and they treated them so that they would get rid of the diseases. What they treated them for was the diseases that would have killed the animal not the diseases that wouldn't kill the animal they would carry as zoonotic and man could get.
A few years ago there were 123 wolves that were taken to the lab in Washington State University and they evaluated those 123 carcasses. Sixty-three percent of them had the disease. Now, they didn't evaluate the strains and I happen to know the vet, an Idaho Fish and Game vet, Mark Drew, and I said, "Mark, why did you do that?" He said, "Oh, it costs too much money." No, that's not what he wanted. There's a law against bringing diseased animals into this country particularly if you can show where the disease they brought in originated. If they had checked for the strains and found the G8 and G10 strains, which is straight out of Canada, we could have proven that they brought in wolves that were diseased. So, they avoided that by just saying, "We won't test for it." Well, we fooled them.
In this 123 wolves there were young wolves, older wolves, male and female wolves, and so forth in there. The wolves have this parasite manifest itself as a tapeworm in the intestines of the wolf. This tape worm is anywhere from two to six millimeters in length. This is how many, of those 63% of those wolves, how many in their intestines there were, individual worms. Thirty-seven percent 100 worms all the way to almost 50%, over a thousand worms.
In 2014, WPCA, I was mentioning Dr. Evans and Tim Kemery, we grab some samples in Challis right around the populated area in Challis and we sent them off to the lab in Denver. They came back and they told us, "Oh, by the way, 100% of the samples that you sent us have the disease." Not 63, 100%. You have to keep in mind this is sampling and there's all kinds of statistical ways that you can show whether it applies to the whole of the population or just part of it. What we found out was in this the G8 and G10 strain were dominant in these samples. Where did it come from? It came from Canada. What happened was is that over the generations of the pups the original ones brought it in. During the process of each generation of pups growing from a pup to an adult the adult parents and the rest of the pack infected the offspring and so every one of the wolves that we tested was a new generation so it had to pick up the disease in our country area Montana. There's no other place they could have got it.
The life cycle of disease is a two-host life cycle. What it basically says, really quickly, is there's an egg that turns into an oncosphere, that turns into a hydatid cyst, which turns into a scolex, and reproduces a tapeworm. How this works is the hydatid cyst grows in the ruminant or ungulate. The tapeworm grows in the wolf. The wolf kills the ungulate. The scolices get into the wolf's digestive system, go back into its intestines and produce worms.
These are the carriers. [Scavengers, raptors, domestic dogs, predators, coprophagic flies, wasps, and ungulates.] What's interesting here is that two of the things that the Fish and Game Department said never happened. First of all they said you had to ingest the eggs in order to get the disease as humans. We've disputes that. I've had arguments with these folks and so forth. It's like beating your head against the wall.
As we go down, this is what the hydatid cysts look in the abdominal cavity of a human being after a cyst that got into a vital organ grows to the extent that it bursts into the abdominal cavity. It produces more cysts. This was actually what they took out during an operation.
Dr. Shauna O'Meara is always and I don't know Dr. O'Meara but I read her stuff all the time. The question is, "Can human beings get cysts from cysts?" And the answer is "yes." Obviously if you've got a cyst that bursts, you get more cysts. But the question is then if you're a hunter, for example, and you're going out dressing out your game you become a surgeon, knife in hand, dressing it out. Can you, if you burst a cyst that's in your animal, then get a cyst from that liquid that you would have gotten on you, if you ingest it? Dr. O'Meara said that it's not exactly a hundred percent but she says, "Veterinarians and doctors better beware if they're dealing with animals that have cysts." Because "yes," it's her professional experience that it can happen.
Echinococcus multilocularis is a similar type of two-host disease. The only difference is rather than a ruminant or an ungulate as the secondary host it's a rat or a rodent or a prairie dog. And it's still your dog but mainly it's foxes and coyotes that wind up with it because that's their main prey.
This is what it looks like, multilocularis, you can see the cysts inside a cotton rat. Whereas the granulosus gets it impacted internal to the organ and then works its way out, this particular grows in groups on the outside of the organ. China's got a bad, bad problem with this right now worldwide, as other places do. The fatality rate if you get this disease that goes untreated in the very beginning is 98% or thereabouts.
That's population control. I made a presentation a long time ago and I said that if you get hydatid cyst you're going to lose weight. That's not a diet recommendation, it's just what happens.
This is what the egg looks like. One of the things that they will tell you is that these eggs from these diseases only last hours. This egg is excreted in the fecal matter. Remember I talked about feces a little earlier. We're back to that subject again. We got into this situation where the fecal matter comes out of the intestines through the anal cavity, drops on the ground. Basically, you have scat. Dr. Drew and the head of the health department, and I won't mention her name, of the State of Idaho at a presentation I was at and I was making a presentation said that these eggs die within hours of hitting the ground. Just think about that. That meant that every elk that had it, every sheep that got it had to be sitting right next to or within a hundred yards of that wolf when it decided to defecate, run right over and eat it for this lifecycle to continue. Absurd? I think so. But that's the kind of crap that they were putting out. Excuse the expression.
What we found out in our studies is that we projected that there were about 4.07 billion infected eggs in a five-year period that were dropped on the ground by the wolves. The 63% figure we used for calculation of this and we determined that the number of worms that generally they had, the size of them, and we projected how many each worm would produce and defecate on a daily basis. That's a lot of infected eggs. In our area, this is spread over a wide, wide region. If this happens in your area it's a little more concentrated.
I'm going to skip some of these here. That's what the worm looks like in the intestine.
The hydatid cyst is structured to the extent that there's three types of cysts by life stage: type I, type II, and type III. What happens is as the cyst grows in a human being from type I it starts going to type II and it begins to have its exterior membrane, the laminate membrane, thicken which means it not getting the nourishment from your vital organs that it would get so what happens inside is that Nature has told that this particular disease, "Oh, produce more daughter cysts just like you. So, if you die they're still there." And a wolf comes by and your cyst is no more viable but inside you will have these viable cysts. By the time it gets to type III that particular cyst is pretty well dead but it still has viable daughter cysts inside that perpetuates the cycle.
Here's the situation worldwide as far as the impact on humans. Worldwide we looked at it. 2.2% of the people, worldwide, and this is in areas like Pakistan, Afghanistan, India and so forth where they have excellent medical facilities and diagnostic processes. They've got 2.2% of the people die from it even in the best situations. This just gives you an idea of percentagewise the 2 to 5% brain damage is a significant figure because it deals primarily with kids. It takes ten years for symptoms in this disease to show up in people and here's the situation. All the disease that we'll talk about just think about the worst day medically you've ever had in your life where you had a fever, a headache, your nose was running, your eyes were running. You had pains in your abdomen, you feel achy all over and so forth. Every one of these diseases when it manifests itself to the point of causing a problem makes you feel like that. Well, that's like getting the flu. So, when it goes to being diagnosed if you don't go in and tell your doctor I want you to look to see if I picked up granulosus or one of the other diseases, they have no reason to look for it because they treat you based on the symptoms they recognize that are most common to what they treat. Prizaquental is what they used. They should have used properly to deworm the wolves they brought on. Prizaquental is what they use to deworm your dog when you take him in, among other things. The medical treatments here the most for granulosus it is and some of the other diseases that are zoonotic. Surgery is the most used procedure but right now they finally got a couple of medical pharmaceutical drugs Albendazole, Mebendazole which they now give. And they give it not only for treatment in the early stages but they give it pre-operations and they found that it has some good results.
This is what the cysts look like in an elk, type I and type III. This is what it looks like again in an elk. Case in fact. Clayton, Idaho. I kind of like that place. In any event, this woman had a disease that she contracted in 2002. She went to her doctor and said, "Listen, I think I've got this. I've been exposed to areas where this disease is." He looked at her and said, "No, no. Don't worry about it." Five years later she was operated on for the disease. They took one-third of her liver out and this is what it looked like when they opened it up and after they'd taken the liver out. Now, here's the problem with that situation. When she notified the people in authority, in the health department in Idaho, that she had this they said, "Well, you don't know if you got it here." That wasn't the answer. The woman had it.
We have had our military for ten or more years coming back from Afghanistan and so forth. They go through a military transfer point in Kurdistan. Kurdistan is one of the areas that has the most problem with these diseases in the world and we're sending our troops through there. They stay there for several days and transition. If we're going to ignore the fact, because we've got this political idea that we've got to protect wolves, when these guys start coming back and in ten to twelve years or so and start showing up with the symptoms, we're going to ignore it. Back to Donald Trump. He's says he's going to take care of that.
Another thing they talked about. They said you can only get it by ingestion. This wasp stung this guy and injected him with the eggs in his leg. That is a hydatid cyst. This is what it looked like to take care of it. He had six operations to try to remove this from a wasp sting. They still didn't get it all because it was so infused in the muscle tissue. He will live with it for the rest of his life on medication and/or other operations depending on what happens. So, again, they're not telling you the true story.
Here's one that's an orbital cyst. How this got there, I don't know but you've got to figure that if it went through the circulation system it went down some mighty small capillaries to get to that point.
This is a picture of a cyst being taken out of a three-year-old girl in an operation. Three-year-old. Think about that. Ten years to develop? When did this girl contract this?
Audience member: In the womb?
Mr. Dethlefson: You bet. You bet. That's our position but to get the medical profession and even the Fish and Wildlife part folks to even entertain the possibility is impossible.
This one was taken out of a girl in Pakistan hospital. A six-year-old girl. This cyst is ten centimeters in diameter. It was taken out. The doctors had a great time with the operation. They were very, very good doctors. They knew exactly what they were doing. The child recovered. Unfortunately, the cyst, because it was in the cranial cavity would up giving her paralysis and some other things that hindered development that she'll never recover from because the brain would not develop properly and allow her to grow properly. Speech problems, for example.
The golden rule for any of the diseases: Seek treatment immediately because, as we get into some of the other diseases, it doesn't pay to say, "Oh, it's just a cold." That doesn't mean every time you run around in Albany and you wind up with the weather's changing and you get running nose that means that you're out in areas where you have suspected there might be some of these diseases be vigilant. And you're going to find out when you go in there your doctor says, "Oh, don't worry about it." Well, 2002, Jolene went in and he said, "Don't worry about it," and you saw the result.
Now, I don't mean to scare the pants off you, but close. What I'm saying is that if you do not know these things, you do not know the questions I'm submitting this to you, I don't know this for a fact that you don't probably know the questions that you need to ask your people in this state who are going to bring the wolves in here nor do you know how to defend off those advocates out there that will bring them in and say, "Oh, Don't worry about it." They'll try to sell you a bill of goods. I don't mind talking with them. I talk with our group with Dr. Drew and people who said we need to fire that guy you know more than he does and he's supposed to be the pro. Well, it wasn't a matter that I knew more, I just know how to debate better.
These are twelve normal medical impacts. We just touched on a few of them. Slurring of the speech. Bone marrow problems. Bone marrow is one of the areas, a low-percentage area, where these eggs will get to. If you get them in the bone marrow you've got a serious situation.
Now I'm going to talk really quickly. Lyme Disease is back and is in your area. This is what the black legged tick looks like. It's what causes and carries Lyme disease. It's a bacterial disease. In 2002, they used to give a vaccination, well, the demand for the vaccine was very minimal at the time so the manufacturer said, "We're not going to manufacture it any more. It's not profitable." Those that were vaccinated in 2000, right now your vaccination is no good yet you can't get another one. So, you don't have any immunity to it. Ninety percent of this disease occurs in fourteen states in the United States. However, because it's carried by ticks more and more canines that are brought into the areas particularly if the folks are travelling on vacation and they just let their dogs out running where this is, the higher the likelihood, and that's for all the next diseases, that will move to other areas in the country whether it goes east or west, north or the south or west back this way it's going to eventually show up a little bit.
I'm just going to run through these slides. Basically, for Lyme disease, you folks may know there's fourteen symptoms. That bull's-eye rash is the most common. What happens there is you get bit and you've got a red spot and after a few days part of the ring around the center turns a light color so it looks like a bull's eye. It looks like a target. It doesn't happen in every case but it does happen. The rash sows up in seven days. Lyme Disease can be treated but you've got to get the treatment right away so if you get bit and see a rash, particularly if you're running around in Connecticut or some of those other areas that are part of this situation, just go and say, "Doc, what is this?" Let him take a look at it and diagnose it for you. Again, all these diseases have those flu-like symptoms. That's the problem. Symptoms also include joint aches, muscle aches, and fatigue. Those are symptoms that show up after you've had it for a little bit. I don't want anybody to think I'm an M.D., I'm not. They have better things to do than talk about it. They have to treat it.
Rock Mountain Spotted Fever is a very similar disease to Lyme Disease. People say. "Rocky Mountain! That's not here. That's not where you live." In fact, it's quite the reverse. We have it out there but you've got more of it here. I'm talking about east of us. I don't necessarily mean right here in New York right now.
That's the tick. There's actually three ticks that carry this disease. This is the most common. That's the Rocky Mountain wood tick. A cute little fellow except until he buries himself in you with a disease. Then he's not so cute anymore. We've got the American dog tick and we've also got the brown tick. I would pronounce those Latin names but it would take me another half an hour.
Here's what the distribution looks like. New York is in pink. The more canines you bring into the wild, the more apt that's going to turn to red.
These states are where sixty percent of the diseases are found. [North Carolina, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Tennessee, Missouri] And, of course, the carriers. [Man, coyotes and foxes, domestic dogs, feral dogs, deer, elk, moose, cattle] We're talking about canines. If it's a canine, it's a carrier.
Audience member: What about cats?
Mr. Dethlefson: Yeah. I'm not talking about cats at this point in time but there are other diseases that the cats carry in addition to being a transporter.
When you're talking about a vector like a tick or a flea effecting something like a dog it is first that the animal is first a transporter of the disease. In the case of fleas, for example, the flea may be on your dog but it's really looking for a better meal. You and I are better meals. So, if our dog picks up these fleas and brings them into our backyard and we don't know he picked it up and we pet him the flea will transfer right to us. Of course, unless you taste like me they won't bother.
The diagnostic is and this is just one of the ways but there's a specialized lab test to confirm it. The treatment is Doxycycline, most effective in five days. If you don't have it done in five days, it's an uphill battle for you.
The total number of cases are here. You can see in 1993 in those areas they had 345 cases reported. In 2008, 2553 cases reported. Something was going on. The fatality rate was 28 percent in 1994. It's down to less than one percent now because people are aware of it in the areas where this disease is and they get help. I don't want to see that go any higher. That's too high as far as I'm concerned anyway.
Rabies. Everybody knows about rabies. So, we're probably not going to get to spend too much time on this. It's a viral disease spread by animal bite. What happens with the animals that get this is their behavior changes drastically because their spinal cord and their brain are infected. In fact, Dr. Ward, Jack Ward who is my colleague out here in the East, he wanted to know why I was coming and not him and I said, "You're just too old to do that. How old is that?" He says, "Eighty-five." He's been practicing as the veterinary doctor in our area for fifty-five years.
He saw a fox with rabies attack a tractor tire, biting it. The reason he was biting it was because in the brain he was going nuts and he just wanted to see what he could do to get rid of it. Well, he died shortly thereafter. That's the kind of behavior you will see in an animal with rabies. Whether it's a skunk, a rat, whatever it is that's got rabies you'll see that kind of behavior. If you think you were exposed to it you need to go right then and there to get your treatment because the symptoms don't show up until often times it's too late for you, that they can't cure you. Here you go, cats carry it.
When we talk about the pastorals [Domestic: cats, dogs, cattle, etc.] and sylvatic animals [Wild: bats, cats, raccoons, skunks, woodchucks, cattle, foxes, coyotes, wolves, domestic and feral dogs] these are the primary carriers, the vectors, of the disease. Even cattle get it. Bats in Idaho, right around our area where we have our lodge, have it. We had a situation where we had bats in our belfry and we were hoping we could get rid of them. Hopefully, they're gone. Not all bats have it but some do.
General symptoms are these. [flu-like, appear in one to three months] The additive symptoms are sixteen. I just wanted to point them out. We talked about the anxiety, confusion, and the behavior in this particular animal, a fox that had it. That's what happens in the later stages as it develops. Neurological impacts, degradation. The virus multiplies in the brain and spinal cord exponentially once it gets started. It goes two to four to fifty to twenty-five hundred. A critical point: Always seek treatment. It must be started prior to the symptoms. That's why the treatment of the immunoglobulin and then the vaccine. When you go they'll lay you on the table and say, "We're starting it now." Because the pain you go through, and I've understood some people say it's a painful treatment, fortunately, I've not experienced it, but if you don't start it then by the time the symptoms show up for you to be treated for rabies, it's a day late and a dollar short.
Brucellosis: Doctor Ward, and I know two other people who have brucellosis. Brucellosis is basically a disease that causes abortions in ruminants, cattle, for example. Elk, and as I mentioned in Yellowstone Park, elk and the bison there have it. What happened to us in Montana is that these bison, for example, get out of the park and get in with the cattle. We lost out accreditation for shipping cattle out of the state because of this problem. The economic impact on the cattle business was tremendous.
It's a bacterium, zoonotic, highly contagious, and spreads very easily. There's no preventive vaccine for it for animals or people. What they do with a herd is they quarantine it and they protect by testing the uninfected animals separate them out and so forth. There is a vaccine to treat animals with the disease but it's not guaranteed more we put it out there maybe it will help. It's better than nothing and they're still working on it.
Here's the vectors, again, the carriers. They carry it. The ungulates, cow bison, elk, all canines, sheep and goat, both sylvatic and domestic. We have wild goats out there and big game. The impact is abortions, stillborn calves, weak calves, cow's retention of fetal membranes, and for those bulls out there, swollen testicles.
There's four types. B. canis is the one primarily carried by dogs. Again, you can get this from a dog bite if the dog has picked it up and is carrying it, you can get it. You can also get it by being exposed to the transmission of fluids from the infected animal.
This is how they diagnose it in the labs. [Blood samples, vaginal discharge, cow's milk, cultures of aborted placenta] Your laboratory will take a sample and that's the way they do it. Now, we're talking about animals now, although I've known a few guys in football that we called animals but I don't think we're talking about the same thing. And, here again, you get the flu-like symptoms but the doctor will examine people for these particular situations and do a blood test just to strain identify what it is. Each one of those strains has a little bit different effect on people. If you've got a swollen liver, lymph nodes, spleen, unexplained fever. General complications and so forth here: fatigue, fever, joint pain. Vaccine? No human preventive effective. Death, fortunately, is uncommon. But if you get it like Dr. Ward has had it for almost forty-two years, it does change your quality of life.
Neospora Caninum is a disease that causes abortions in cattle. This is a very unique disease. It actually can be transmitted between the cow having a calf to the calf. The calf can be born normal or the calf can be aborted. The other side of that is where you find an aborted calf lying out there and a wolf comes by and eats the calf. It picks it up and retransmits it so there's two types of ways of doing this.
The question is, is this a zoonotic disease for people? People have been tested and found to have antibodies in their system. I don't know if you know what that means. Basically if means this: If you're exposed to a disease your immune will say, "Hey, we don't want you here." And it will attack it and as it attacks it, it produces antibodies against it. So, we know people have been exposed to it. We just don't know whether or not they've come down with it.
This is the diagram I just explained to you about the life cycle. Ninety-five percent of the calves in cattle that are effected seem to be normal. They could be normal as breeding stock when they grow in two or three years but then and you may have bred them and their calves do not come down with it the next time because it's a latent disease the calf may come down with it. If you're in the dairy business and you depend on breeding your dairy cattle and you have that in your herd, you may not see it and all of a sudden it will devastate your cows. The same thing for beef cattle.
Plague. This little fellow [the Montana prairie dog], I'm bringing this out to you because right now 3,600 acres of prairie dog village in Ft. Belknap, Montana, perished because of this disease. I just happen to hunt out there in that particular area. My wife and I were there last year. The effect of that, from a standpoint of what goes on with the black footed ferret which is endangered and feeds on these guys, is they don't have any food in that particular area. So, they die off. If you believe in the honest use of the Endangered Species Act the ferrets should not have to suffer from this. But the attitude of the Fish and Game Department is, and even the Bureau of Land Management is, based on my conversations with a couple of them, is that this is a self-correcting disease. And what that basically means is the prairie dogs get it and they die off. So you've no longer got a vector except that if you happen to have a fox chasing after these guys that are dying, he's going to pick up the flea. And the flea is then going to go on him and if you're bird hunting out there in this same area this flea may have dropped off and you pick it up on your birddog he gets in your car and you say, "We had a great day hunting, good buddy." And you're petting him and rewarding him, you're going to be the carrier bringing it back to the house.
Now, I'm not trying to say that this happens all the time. But it happens sufficient enough to where recently in Denver, Colorado, hospital, a sixteen-year-old athlete boy was bit on his ranch and he died within hours from the disease. This is a young man that's physically fit, a football player, baseball player, and so forth.
They will tell you, the CDC, the Center for Disease Control, will tell you, "Oh, it's a rare disease and it's less than 200,000 cases a year in the United States. We don't worry about it. It's a rare disease. It happens occasionally." Try to tell that to the parents of this sixteen-year-old.
This is what the rat flea looks like. A nasty little fellow. The life cycle is very simple. The deer is basically the host for the life cycle. And it starts out with eggs, then larva, and so forth, and then the flea. Now, the flea is on the deer. There's a whole lot of fleas on deer. It has got to go somewhere. They all can't stay there. So, if you have it in this area and you're hunting for white-tailed deer and somebody says, "We've got it in here," and you knock a deer down you best be careful when you're dressing it out.
It's a bacterial disease. There's three types; pneumonic, septicemic, and bubonic. Bubonic is the historical name. The Bubonic plague The Black Death. All that means is that these are three types that effect different parts of the body. When it gets systemic and gets into your bloodstream it becomes very, very dangerous. But more is the pneumonic because it gets into your lungs. From your lung it effects your respiratory system and your circulation system. That's the most serious form of it. A sixteen-year-old died, two other people in Denver recently had it and I say last couple of years they recovered because they got proper treatment. Four cases in New Mexico. A seventy-three-year-old woman, two middle age people and one middle aged died from it, a gentleman died from it. We now know of two deaths in recent history. What we're talking about here is something that's now showing itself back up and it's beginning to show in California which also had a case. I believe that the cases in California were because people were visiting the area out where this disease was and they just brought it back with them.
Hybrids. Last of the things. One of the things that we talk about when we talk about hybrids is this. We mentioned it before. You take 100% domestic dog this is a very simplistic explanation and you take 100% wolf and put them together, you get a 50%-50%. Out there right now people are breeding like this in kennels and they'll advertise, "We've got 50%-50% domestic dog-wolf hybrids." And then they'll say, "Oh, by the way, we rebred to another 100% wolf so now we've got 75%-25% wolf and dog." And then they'll say, "Well, we rebred that particular animal to another 100% wolf and we've got 87.5%-12.5% wolf." They're selling you the wolf, saying that because it has domestic dog in it, it's more tame. They're lying to you because that's not how you determine percentage of wolf versus percentage of whatever it's bred with. It's DNA analysis. I'm going to touch on this really quickly for you.
This is a DNA chain. It's a double helix chain and it looks like this in a schematic. What happens is that when DNA, which is actually a library of genetic information in the cell, what happens there is when you are a child growing in the first stages your DNA is packed into by certain types of acids within the body. RNA is one of them. Ribonucleic acid. It ties in. But it ties in as random. That's why when you have just twins, as opposed to identical twins, there's a little difference because the DNA and the RNA and other things that go on in the cells give you a different characteristic. The only possibility of getting some twins that are almost 100% is that identical twins and they come from the same egg. The same thing goes, regardless of whether we're talking about human evolution or we're talking about animal evolution. So, when they say that arithmetically they've got a 75-25% wolf, they're full of it!
This is how the problem with that is. When you get out there and you start looking at these people who buy these things and they start bringing them into the classroom saying, "Oh, by the way, this is such a nice wolf." It may well be as we just talked about earlier but it is not necessarily an arithmetic calculation. Now, you may wind up 50-50 just because of what happens but it's not going to be a routine. And so, what you're dealing with here is the potential for disaster because one, we're talking about young kids and they're trying to influence them to say wolves are good. I'm not saying wolves are bad. They have their purpose. They don't belong in the classroom and you don't belong bringing them in thinking the kids can run up to any wolf out there and somebody has and it's like running up to somebody's Chihuahua. It's not the same thing.
Audience member: What's the difference between DNA and RNA?
Mr. Dethlefsen: Okay. DNA comes from the nucleus of the zygote the fertilized egg. RNA is that method by which the DNA is activated without actually extracting the DNA from the center of the egg. It's a method of giving a signal or a communication to the gene that says, "Now you're going to produce a foot or, by the way, I like that nose. Put it on this person." That's what it is. And it's a random selection. When you're talking about wolves, there are eleven characteristics in those six million cells that we talked about earlier. They dictate whether or not you're going to have a certain size leg, a certain size head, a certain size nose, a color of eye, and so forth. And so, that's why when we talk about the DNA we say it's a library of static information until some way it gets activated and RNA is one way to where combines with the DNA to activate certain parts, certain physical characteristics.
You look out and say, "Boy, that guy's a stud. And I'm sorry about that guy over there. He didn't quite make it." Well, that's his DNA. It doesn't mean that person's any less, unless he wants to play center. He's only 125 pounds then it may make a difference, but other than that, that's just the way it works. In the animal community it is random to the extent of selection of the type of category of physical characteristic. For example: leg length, pelt, color of pelt, tail, eyes, skull shape.
Audience member: In seventh grade they're saying that the RNA is physical, a thing you can see.
Mr. Dethlefsen: Right. It would take me four hours to go over the whole thing with you.
Here's the eleven characteristics. The differences that are most common and visual.
Ms. LaGrasse: I look at it in a really simple common sense way. You see a family and they have four children and they don't have all the characteristics of the parents divided into one gets one quarter of this and another gets another quarter of it. It's all random. You see in children there might be one that looks exactly like the mother. I've had people walk up to me in a strange city and say, "Hello Caroline." But they couldn't realize the age. It didn't realize the age. It didn't make any sense.
Mr. Dethlefsen: Well, that's because you always look so young.
Ms. LaGrasse: Well, the thing is that I have three brothers that have various combinations of my mother's and my father's traits. I look like my mother and when I met with second cousin, he said I look like his grandmother. It is just so complicated.
Mr. Dethlefsen: I didn't mean to oversimplify it but I just wanted to give you an idea.
Ms. LaGrasse: It's truly analogous
Mr. Dethlefsen: True story. My son and I visited my aunt in Whitefish, Montana. She hadn't seen Mark since he was a baby and, of course, now he's six-foot-three walking in her back door and as he walked in the door it stayed open and the light silhouetted his shadow and his shape. He came down through there and my aunt, who was not well at the time, looked and said, "Oh my God, that's my brother." My father. And I looked at her and said, "What do you mean?" She said, "He looks exactly like your dad looked." And I said, "How come I missed that?" She said, "Tough luck."
But anyway, these are the characteristics that we're talking about and how the DNA makes a difference. Not only does it make difference in the physical, it also makes a difference in emotional and in capability and so forth. Generally, we don't find wolves with DNA problems in the wild. When you start interbreeding them or you start breeding them too close together, you're going to find out the same thing we find with other breeds. You're going to have hip problems and so forth. A friend of mine just bought two new Labradors. He's a great outdoor hunter and he loves the Labradors. One of them is two years old and has hip dysplasia. I said to his wife, "Let me see the pedigree." Well, I looked at it and I said, "You know, what I can see here is they didn't give you a true pedigree. Because this pedigree should have never had that." Then he bought another pup and the pup just loves the older dog but the older dog doesn't give a damn about the little one. Not yet, anyway. So that's the kind of way it is with your kids. I guess it is, sometimes.
Okay. So, this is the rest of it and you can see these eleven are basically physical characteristics. Now, those physical characteristics refer back to the Latin chart that I showed you the flow of the size. These physical characteristics are proportioned properly to the size of the wolf. A smaller wolf will have the same basic structure but it's smaller. They have weight but they weigh less. What happened to the wolves that they brought in from Canada and stuck with us, as I mentioned to you, is that they had so much food and satiated themselves so often that they just grew big. The same things you do when the guys want to play professional football and they want to be a center or a guard something like that, they bulk up. Their diet changes.
Hybrid or not? I'm going to ask you to just take a look at this and I know I've got you at a disadvantage because I know the answer. But so does the teacher. There's one key factor that I mentioned that ought to tell you the answer.
Audience members: The eyes.
Mr. Dethelefsen: The eyes. Now, this wolf was actually bred in captivity and it's really a hybrid. And you're welcomed to these books. You probably had some handed out to you. I appreciate your attention and your willingness to go through this with me and stay with me on this. It's been a little longer than I'd hoped we had but I had a captive audience because we closed the doors. Thank you very much.
Audience member: We appreciate you!
Ms. LaGrasse: You know, the situation in New York is that the wolves constantly migrate out of Canada into the state. And as I understand it from the numerous hunters I meet, they see one in a clearing when they're out there waiting for the deer, and that's the end of the wolf. And so the problem with the DEC is that the laws aren't enforceable because nobody's afraid of DEC. Who cares about the New York State Protected Species but they were trying to get the feds to protect them and so with the feds protecting this constant stream coming across the Saint Lawrence valley they don't have to put any wolves in.
Mr. Dethlefsen: And that does raise a problem because it's a natural migration but the disease can migrate naturally just like it can by artificial emplacement.
Ms. LaGrasse: And the hybridization issue comes in the same.
Mr. Dethlefsen: That's right. And what you have here is, as I probably mentioned, is you have a situation whereby you are more ripe for hybridization than any other area particularly than when we talk about out West just because of the nature of the wolf we have. When you're bringing them in, we already know that the timber wolf is already cross bred with the western coyote. That's what we call the eastern coyote.
Ms. LaGrasse: Well, thank you this was extremely worthwhile. Your last chance for a question.
Audience member: I'm wondering if one these government official's family got chewed up by a wolf that was brought in, maybe they would change the law and reconsider.
Mr. Dethlefsen: Well, if you complain, you'd probably find another job.
Audience member: Right. Exactly.
Ms. LaGrasse: This is pretty hardball thinking on the part of the enviros.
Audience member: Well, unfortunately it's true.
Ms. LaGrasse: Yeah. They're not really merciful.
Mr. Dethlefsen: Well, thank you all and I appreciate your time.