In regard to this past Friday’s letter from Mr. Oliver alleging that the state Department of Environmental Conservation intentionally introduced mange into the wild, we must respond that this is totally and categorically false.
Mange is a naturally occurring disease in the environment that often follows the boom-and-bust cycle of wildlife populations and is part of nature’s checks and balances on overabundant wildlife.
DEC has received an unusually large number of fox sightings in the city of Oneonta in the past year. Mange is very common in red fox and can also be found in coyote, porcupine, black bear, cottontail rabbit and raccoon populations. DEC strongly encourages anyone with questions about wildlife diseases to contact the nearest regional office and speak with a qualified professional.
Kelly is regional director of the state Department of Environmental Conservation.