June 8, 2007

Crime Syndicates Smuggling Wildlife
The Associated Press (Posted by ABC - Channel 5 Eyewitness News)
08 Jun 2007

It could be ivory concealed in a container, cans of caviar in a suitcase or baby chimpanzees in a crate. The smuggling of wildlife goods is a low-risk, high-profit enterprise proving increasingly attractive to crime syndicates. Exports of wildlife, including fisheries and timber, are estimated at $150 billion to $200 billion a year. The illicit side of the business is likely worth tens of billions of dollars, experts say. "It’s big, and it’s getting bigger," says Peter Younger of Interpol, the international police coordinating agency.

Stacked against drug running or international terrorism, wildlife crime claims minimum priority with national police forces. If caught, smugglers often face little more than a fine or short jail term. In countries with weak judiciaries, suspects can stall their cases indefinitely while resuming their illicit business, he said.

Chernobyl Area Becomes Wildlife Haven
The Associated Press (Posted by Sci-Tech Today.com)
08 Jun 2007
D Birch
Area: Parishev, Ukraine
Photo courtesy of Sci-Tech Today

Two decades after an explosion and fire at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant sent clouds of radioactive particles drifting over the fields near her home, Maria Urupa says the wilderness is encroaching. . . .

Wildlife has returned despite radiation levels in much of the evacuated zone that remain 10 to 100 times higher than background levels, according to a 2005 U.N. report _ though they have fallen significantly since the accident, due to radioactive decay. Some researchers insist that by halting the destruction of habitat, the Chernobyl disaster helped wildlife flourish. Others say animals may be filtering into the zone, but they appear to suffer malformations and other ills.

Both sides say more research is needed into the long-term health of a variety of Chernobyl’s wildlife species, as governments around the world consider switching from fossil fuel plants, blamed for helping drive global climate change, to nuclear power.

Northern Vietnam Reports New Bird Flu Case in Ducks
Reuters (Posted by Thanhniem News.com)
07 Jun 2007
Area: Phu Tho, Vietnam
Photo courtesy of Thanhniem News

Bird flu spread to a duck farm in northern Vietnam last week, bringing to 16 the provinces and a city infected with the H5N1 virus, the government said Thursday. A total of 240 ducks died in Viet Tri city, the capital of Phu Tho province during the first four days of June. Health workers slaughtered the remaining 130 fowl as tests confirmed the H5N1 virus among the dead ducks, the Animal Health Department said in a report. Phu Tho has been added to the government's bird flu watch list of 15 provinces and Can Tho city in the southern Mekong delta, following the latest outbreak.

. . . Bird flu has been hitting more ducks in Vietnam since it re-surfaced early this year. The fowl can carry the virus without showing they are sick, making it harder to detect the problem. They spread the virus in their droppings while roaming from one rice field to another.

Globally the H5N1 virus has killed 189 people out of the 310 people it infected, the World Health Organization said.

Report Gives Great Lakes Health a Mixed Review
07 June 2007

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Environment Canada today released the 2007 State of the Great Lakes Highlights Report at the International Joint Commission meeting in Chicago. Overall, the chemical, physical and biological integrity of the Great Lakes ecosystem is mixed, with some conditions improving while others are getting worse. . . .

The 2007 State of the Great Lakes Highlights Report, for the first time, includes a section on "What is Being Done to Improve Conditions." According to Gary Gulezian, EPA Great Lakes National Program Office Director, "As never before, legislators, managers, scientists, educators and the Great Lakes community are working together to understand and respond to Great Lakes environmental challenges." These efforts to restore and preserve the Great Lakes are spotlighted in the 2007 SOLEC Highlights Report.

Related Links

Deer Test Negative for Chronic Wasting Disease
Village Soup
08 Jun 2007
Area: Maine, USA

The Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife received good news from the University of Connecticut Veterinary Diagnostic Lab – all 909 white-tailed deer tissue samples submitted for testing came back negative for Chronic Wasting Disease and at this time, there is no evidence of CWD found in Maine’s wild deer herd.

“We have worked diligently to monitor Maine’s deer herd, and we are pleased to see that Chronic Wasting Disease has yet to appear in Maine,” said Roland D. Martin, commissioner, Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife. Last year, 2006, marked the fourth year that Maine used a stratified sampling strategy to test Maine’s white-tailed deer population. The strategy assumes there is a higher risk for wild deer in towns where domestic deer farms or winter feeding of deer in large congregations occur.

Other Wildlife Disease News
(Photo courtesy of FWS Images)

House Subcommittee Authorizes Center to Study Bio-Threats

Test Results Positive for Low Pathogenic H7 Avian Influenza Near St Helens, England

Fears Buzz, Collide: Passions Run Deep Over Mosquito Sspraying

Bird Feeding Precautions Urged in WA

Plague Claims 3-Year-Old Boy as First N.M.Fatality in '07

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