Information provided by Pinnacles National Park.
In recent days, Pinnacles National Park staff and visitors have found several sick or dead Gray foxes on park trails. One of these foxes has tested positive for Canine distemper, a disease that can be spread from domesticated dogs to local wildlife species including gray foxes, coyotes, raccoons, skunks, badgers, and possibly mountain lions. Canine distemper outbreaks occur periodically in wildlife and can have significant impacts on an affected population. It is difficult to predict how long this outbreak will last, or how many animals will be impacted, a recent release said.
Although humans are not known to contract Canine distemper, domesticated dogs are highly susceptible. People who are considering bringing a pet to Pinnacles should be informed about risks to their pets from wildlife diseases, and to make sure pets are healthy and up to date on vaccines in order to reduce the risk of spreading diseases to park wildlife. In order to reduce the impacts of pets on park wildlife, pets are not allowed on trails. Pets must be kept on leash, and are allowed only in developed areas: roads, picnic areas, and the campground.
As always, park visitors are encouraged to enjoy wildlife from a safe distance. Canine distemper usually causes animals to become lethargic or disoriented, but an animal that feels threatened or cornered may act aggressively. If you see an animal that appears to be dead, sick, or behaving strangely, do not approach it. Instead, note details and location, and report it to park staff as soon as possible.