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Infectious diseases as main causes of mortality to beavers Castor fiber after translocation to the Netherlands

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Abstract

Between 1988 and 1994, 58 beavers were translocated from the Elbe region (Germany) to the Netherlands. In 43 animals, radio-transmitters were implanted with a pulse interval which was dependent on body temperature; subsequently, 22 of the released animals were found dead and the cause of death was investigated. Infectious diseases were the most important cause of death (50%), in particular yersiniosis and leptospirosis. Yersiniosis is relatively rare in the source population along the Elbe, and leptospirosis has not been reported before in beavers. We hypothesize that the immune system of the translocated animals was weakened by stress at a time of exposure to new pathogens. In future translocations of beavers, we recommend to reduce the stress, improve the hygiene, and to vaccinate against Yersinia pseudotuberculosis and leptospirosis prior to the release.

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