Mange in the mountains

Here is the story how mange came to be in the Northern Rockies-

There has been a lot of discussion of mange in this forum lately, including one thread that got out of hand. Fortunately,  Mike Stark of the Billings Gazette wrote a story about it in 2007.

Mange in the mountains. Disease used to help wipe out wolves century ago plagues animals today.

This is truly a sorry story and for more than the wolves.







  1. Talks with Bears Avatar
    Talks with Bears

    This article just about covers all sides of the issue that was debated two days ago – without the foul mouthed tantrum of course.

  2. Ter Avatar

    Excellent article. Informative and well-written. Thanks for posting!

  3. mikepost Avatar

    It is not clear in this article that mange is an “exotic” introduced disease. My understanding was that mange is a historically naturally occurring desease in NA, the 1906 purposeful infection program not withstanding. Anyone able to clarify that?

  4. ProWolf in WY Avatar
    ProWolf in WY

    Very interesting article.

  5. Talks with Bears Avatar
    Talks with Bears

    Mikepost – not easy but, I have found Native American remedies for scabies and I think the human mite is one of the same mites wolves can carry – so, I guess this means the mites were around going way back. Did the wolves have mange way back in the day??? The article did not seem to pin this down. I am about mited out.

  6. timz Avatar

    To anyone I offended the other day on the other thread I’m sorry about that. Perhaps instead of taking offense to the responses to my first post on the subject making me feel I was some sort of kook just making this shit up I should have just posted the link and let it go at that.

  7. Dawn Avatar

    If what is posted is true then we really are a sick race of people

  8. Save Bears Avatar
    Save Bears


    Being a part of that same conversation, I didn’t think you were making stuff up, I was actually backing you up on what you were saying, it is a historical fact that mange was given to wolves and coyotes.

    I guess I need to apologize if I offended anyone as well…

    Ralph thanks for posting this link to the article, anyone interested can also search the legislative records and will find it as well, also there is the bounty program, how much was paid, etc. It is all there in the past records.


    Yes we at times can and are wrong in what we do, but I think imposing our morals of a more informed society of today, has much bearing on our ancestors and what they felt was right and wrong. we have far more facts as well as better science based on what has happened in the past.

  9. Dawn Avatar

    That is true Save Bears but just to read what we “Euorpeans” have done to this part of the country is sick and I am ashamed by it and have we learn ? That is the question, we have had so many chances to redo what we have done , will we learn ? That is the question . I know it is the year 2010 not 1810 but can we learn and adapt to the wildlife here and not have the cattle industry controlling ! Change how people feel about predetors which is the wolf . How do to that is the question . Have a good one, Later

  10. NW Avatar

    It isn’t only a matter of imposing our morals on our ancestors, too many people impose their morals on other segments of society with different values and experiences. I grew up trapping, but I don’t trap. That’s my personal decision and to paraphrase a great cliche’, “Some of my best friends are trappers.” There are some things that are flat out immoral, and most of them have been outlawed. To insist that all trapping, hunting, and predator control are inherently wrong is, um, wrong.

    Giving mange to wolves doesn’t hold a candle to giving smallpox to Indians. Much of what was done in the past seems so patently evil that you wonder how we can be the same species, the same society, but we are. I used to marvel at the fact that wolf control advocates seemed to be by and large a much more thoughtful and human bunch than wolf control opponents (I’m talking only about biologists here, not politicians or yahoos). Still haven’t figured that one out. I think that the point is that we need to listen to opposing viewpoints and be willing to adjust our thinking, ever so slightly, once in a while.

  11. Save Bears Avatar
    Save Bears


    I believe, despite what is often said on blogs and media articles, we have learn a great amount, and we will continue to learn a great amount, this is a long entrenched belief that wolves are bad, and it is not a unique belief to America, we brought it with us from Europe. Most of the myths that surround wolves and other predators come from the old countries that our ancestors migrated from. But again, I believe we learn and change with every generation, but I know, generational change often times takes to much time for some, we as a species are very impatient..

  12. Linda Hunter Avatar

    Save Bears I hope you are right that humans as a whole can learn from their past mistakes . . they don’t seem to pay attention to much when it comes to satisfying a current need, such as getting rid of a perceived pest. I just read a book by a group of biologists written in 1966 about desert ecology. I can’t quote the author as I gave the book back to it’s owner, but they described how ants, squirrels, and other burrowing animals who make dens in the ground make it so ground water can be retained longer in arid lands by breaking up the hard pan and allowing the occasional rain to penetrate deeper where the sun cannot dry it up so fast. Since 1966 have we stopped wiping out these animals? Is this natural water conservation method widely know about? Do people think twice before they remove moles from their land?

  13. JimT Avatar

    Test of my system….acting hinky.

  14. timz Avatar

    hinky? Must be a technical term.

  15. richie, Avatar

    As a society the powerful has a geat deal of influence as we did to the indians we do to the wildlife, .is their any real didfference ? To a lover of animals in general, I really do not think so. To anything being defenseless like wolves, or the indians of the east thinking we were being kind to offer blankets in the harsh winter,it just shows how selfish we as a society can be.

  16. richie, Avatar

    One other thing how cruel can mankind be in order to get it’s own way. As I said before when I hear these things just makes me very sad.

  17. JimT Avatar

    Hinky is about as technical as I get….I am definitely NOT a techno cell phone (I like being hard to reach and my privacy, though my wife may be hatching a plan to get me an iPhone this summer), no in house network, no LCD TV, etc. A Luddite in the making, I think.

    I was listening to an interview with Jeremy Rivkin yesterday ab out his new book on the coming empathy revolution of humans. Turns out, according to new research, that humans are hardwired to be cooperative and empathetic, not selfish and greedy and competitive. What happens, then? Nurture lets the brain down, and voila, secondary traits become primary.

    A bit oversimplistic to me, and daily experiences and stories like these tell me otherwise, but it is an interesting thought. He thinks that the coming death of the fossil fuel energy age, coupled with the increasing presence of the interconnectedness of the Internet, will cause a a third humanistic development similar to the Enlightenment.

    I would settle for cows off public lands, Glen Canyon Dam getting blown up, and Vegas and Phoenix getting a hell of a lot smaller and not steal other people’s water. If you want to read a sad story, read about what the Arizona water powers did to the Pima Indians and their water….

    Mulroy is like a just can’t seem to get rid of them once and for all….;*)

  18. Peter Kiermeir Avatar

    Over on Dan Hartmans site news is, that Druid F #691 was found frozen under a cabin at theBuffalo Ranch, with 3 more Druids in bad shape. Mange victims I guess.

  19. richie, Avatar

    How could vets infect wolves to die a painful long death, I am ashamed to say I live where people use germ warfare on animals. Vets are supposed save animals not torture animals. Now as for the mange now, do we know this occured from nature. It’s funny when their is a wolf hunt the mange appears again. When the Blm goes out to tag wolves how do we know that is all they are doing. We have no clue,does any one follow their every move I think not.This is disgusting these poor animals dying a horrible frozen death, it’s ot enough that they must find food in the wild, dodge hunters, now this wildlife services should be held accountable that’s it and please sb do not comment on this in an analytical manner, not now, this really hurts deeply .

  20. richie, Avatar

    it’s not enough

  21. richie, Avatar

    One more thing I was reading people who have dogs not shelter dogs but pure breed, I think Jerry Black has a shelter dog well if so good for him. Thousands of shelter dogs get put to sleep every year from people not taking care of their dogs. This is just another comment how great our society cares for their animals.Hundred thousands get put to their death in the New York, New Jersey area every year, I can tell you real stories I knew a vet in Staten Island, but I am getting off subject will end it here I stated enough.


Dr. Ralph Maughan is professor emeritus of political science at Idaho State University. He was a Western Watersheds Project Board Member off and on for many years, and was also its President for several years. For a long time he produced Ralph Maughan’s Wolf Report. He was a founder of the Greater Yellowstone Coalition. He and Jackie Johnson Maughan wrote three editions of “Hiking Idaho.” He also wrote “Beyond the Tetons” and “Backpacking Wyoming’s Teton and Washakie Wilderness.” He created and is the administrator of The Wildlife News.

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Ralph Maughan