Inside the massive effort to tackle one of America’s greatest rabies threats
Now that dogs no longer pose the biggest danger of passing on the disease in the U.S., researchers have set their sights on another species—raccoons.
PITTSBURGHOn a balmy morning in mid-August, Timothy Linder lifts the latch on a refrigerated trailer and opens both doors wide, releasing a wave of cold air heavy with the stink of fish guts.
“I don’t even smell it anymore,” says Linder, a wildlife biologist with United States Department of Agriculture’s Wildlife Services.
After hoisting himself up, Linder wriggles his hands into a pair of blue latex gloves, cuts into one of the stacks of cardboard boxes, and pulls out a plain brown block slightly larger than a miniature candy bar.
Thankfully, this snack isn’t for people. It’s for the raccoons.
“That’s a fishmeal polymer block,” Linder says, explaining the odor. “Inside, there’s a sachet, like a little ketchup packet, and the idea