In summer 1986, a study was conducted to evaluate raccoon (Procyon lotor) acceptance of oral baits that could be used for rabies vaccination. One thousand wax-coated sponge bait cubes were filled with 5 mg of a seromarker (iophenoxic acid), placed in polyethylene bags, and hand-distributed in an 80 ha area within an urban National Park in Washington, D.C. (USA). After 3 wk, target and nontarget animals were trapped and blood samples collected to evaluate bait uptake. Thirty-three of 52 (63%) raccoons had elevated blood iodine levels indicating they had eaten at least one bait, 13 (25%) were negative, and six (12%) had marginal values. These results indicate that sponge baits hand-placed at a density of 12.4/ha can reach a significant proportion of an urban raccoon population. Implications for oral rabies vaccination of raccoons are discussed.
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Vol. 25 • No. 1