Mange, a parasitic skin disease caused by various species of mites, is found in free-ranging wildlife populations and has been increasingly reported in American black bears (Ursus americanus) over the last decade in New York State (NYS), USA. Our goal was to describe the geographic, seasonal, and demographic factors associated with mange in this species in NYS. Our retrospective study used historic, opportunistic data from diagnostic necropsy records and visual sighting reports collected by the NYS Wildlife Health Program from 2009 to 2018. We used chi-square tests for independence and odds ratios to examine whether geographic location, year, season, sex, age, and reason for laboratory submission were associated with mange in bears. We used maps and seasonal analysis to investigate emerging patterns. We confirmed increased black bear mange reports in recent years. Necropsy data revealed more bears submitted to the laboratory because of mange, mainly caused by Sarcoptes scabiei; females were more likely than males to present with sarcoptic mange. We found that cases of mange in the Northern Zone were widely disseminated throughout the region, whereas cases in the Southern Zone were concentrated in two areas along the Pennsylvania border. Seasonally, mange cases showed peaks occurring in late spring to early summer and in fall. Our results were on the basis of available data; a comprehensive statewide surveillance program would be useful to better understand the apparent increase in mange and its potential impact on both the welfare of individual animals and the population of black bears in NYS. Additional research on the timing of transmission dynamics associated with females in winter dens may be helpful to wildlife managers to identify strategies to mitigate deleterious spread of the disease in black bears.

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