A Closer Look at Yosemite Hantavirus Fight
Curry Village has become ground zero of a multimillion-dollar effort to make Yosemite National Park safe — or as safe as any rural place can be — from an illness carried by mice who can burrow into a hole the width of a pencil. Changes to the park's far-flung facilities will get tested this summer, as an expected 1.8 million visitors fan out across its 1,200 square miles and share turf with all sorts of wild beasts, the Los Angeles Times reported.
The park visitors who contracted hantavirus had inhaled large quantities of dust containing urine, saliva and fecal matter from infected deer mice. To try to keep that from happening again, workers have been plugging crannies in buildings, hanging screens on staff and guest lodgings, and reinforcing "bear boxes," all to keep the little critters from nesting anywhere near people.
It's an undertaking that's considerably more difficult than guarding against ferocious predators, said Mark Gallagher, environmental manager at Yosemite for Delaware North Cos., which operates Curry Village and other lodging facilities in the park.
"Keeping a bear out is easy — your enclosure just has to be strong," Gallagher said. "With a mouse, you really have to pay attention to detail."
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