Deer Hair-loss Syndrome Challenges California Researchers

CDFW News

Media Contact:Janice Mackey, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8908

Low Fawn Survival Rate Impacts Population

Researchers at the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) are studying a deer hair-loss syndrome across the state.

Wildlife experts are calling the issue “hair loss” but the real problem appears to be from the infestation of non-native lice and in some cases, a heavy infestation of internal parasites. Symptoms range from a scruffy looking hair coat to near complete baldness. Hair–loss syndrome is also associated with poor nutritional condition, making it difficult for fawns to survive to replace the normal mortality in mature deer.

“Some of us speculate that the louse-infested deer spend so much time grooming they become easy targets of predation by coyotes or mountain lions,” said CDFW senior wildlife biologist, Greg Gerstenberg. “While this theory is still under investigation, what we do know is that the louse has impacted migratory populations…

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