Maintaining healthy wildlife populations is a fundamental component of sound wildlife management. The Wildlife Health Program is a group of veterinarians, researchers, and technicians dedicated to diagnosing, monitoring, educating, and conducting research on diseases of free-ranging wildlife in Colorado. Working in concert with agency biologists and managers, we focus our work on issues that affect the long-term health and viability of wildlife populations. Additionally, we develop tools and methodologies to facilitate improved research and safe and humane wildlife capture, handling, and monitoring. This work is augmented by the Foothills Wildlife Research Facility where numerous species of wildlife are maintained for research and teaching purposes. In-house molecular diagnostics and necropsy services are utilized to support our efforts to deliver a coordinated and systematic approach to wildlife health.
The prairie in Colorado is home to a lot of cool wildlife.
This is the story of how Colorado Parks and Wildlife's Wildlife Health Program and Avian Research teamed up with our City of Fort Collins partners to study new plague management tools and improve habitat for endangered black-footed ferrets and other wildlife. Wildlife Health researchers have shown that a new plague vaccine can help prevent the collapse of prairie dog colonies and speed the recovery of impacted habitat. Avian researchers have documented the benefits of maintaining active prairie dog colonies for many species such as ferruginous hawks, golden eagles, various grassland songbirds, coyotes, and badgers.