September 6, 2007

Kenyan Scientists Save Grevy's Zebras from Possible Extinction
06 Sep 2007
Area: Kenya Africa

Kenyan scientists said Wednesday they had rescued endangered Grevy's zebras from possible extinction after an outbreak of deadly anthrax last year and were working to increase their population. The Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) said "quick intervention" had saved the animals, known for their narrow and finer stripes and large ears, from being wiped out by the disease, which was exacerbated by a recent drought in the scrub-peppered northern Kenya plains. "After we got reports that the Grevy's zebras were dying, we mobilised our teams and carried out mass vaccinations against anthrax and treated other diseases," Patrick Omondi, KWS head of species management, told AFP. "We contained the threat and ensured that their population, which is extremely low, does not reduce further.

We are now working on a five-year programme to increase their population." Omondi said the programme, in which Ethiopia is involved, includes creating protected breeding sanctuaries. Fewer than 2,000 Grevy's zebras are believed to live in the wild. About 1,800 live near sprawling plains in and around Kenya's central Samburu National Reserve, about 230 kilometers (145 miles) north of Nairobi, and the rest in southern Ethiopia.

Rare British Coral Struck by Disease
Practical Fishkeeping -
05 Sep 2007
Area: England United Kingdom

British scientists have recorded the first incidence of a coldwater coral disease in a species on an international list of threatened species. Experts from the Marine Institute at the University of Plymouth recorded the disease in the Pink sea fan, Eunicella verrucosa, in a marine protected area in south west England. The Pink sea fan, which is a type of gorgonian, is protected under Schedule 5 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act and is listed as vulnerable on the IUCN Red List of threatened species. According to the study, which is published in the latest volume of the journal Diseases of Aquatic Organisms, video surveys of 634 colonies at 13 sites have suggested that the disease has been widespread across south west England between 2003 and 2006.

The authors said that affected corals had necrotic coenchyme, which led to them sloughing tissue and exposing their skeletal gorgonin, which became fouled by other marine organisms. "Sites where necrosis was found had significantly higher incidences of fouling. No fungi were isolated from diseased or healthy tissue, but significantly higher concentrations of bacteria occurred in diseased specimens. "Of 21 distinct bacteria isolated from diseased tissues, 19 were Vibrionaceae, 15 were strains of Vibrio splendidus and 2 others closely matched Vibrio tasmaniensis. "Vibrios isolated from E. verrucosa did not induce disease at 15 degrees C, but, at 20 degrees C, controls remained healthy and test gorgonians became diseased, regardless of whether vibrios were isolated from diseased or healthy colonies.

California Senate Passes Historic Bill Requiring Non-Lead Ammunition for Big Game Hunting in Condor Habitat [Press Release]
Center for Biological Diversity -
05 Sep 2007
Area: California USA

The California Senate yesterday approved a historic and significant protection measure for endangered California condors, passing Assembly Bill 821 (Nava, D-Santa Barbara), the Ridley-Tree Condor Preservation Act, by a vote of 23-15. The legislation will require hunters to use non-lead ammunition for hunting big game and coyotes within the California condor range in central and southern California, beginning July 1, 2008. The bill passed the Assembly on May 14 by a vote of 42-32, and will now go back to the Assembly for concurrence in amendments. “The Condor Preservation Act will significantly reduce lead poisoning of condors in California and is an important first step in getting lead out of the food chain,” said Jeff Miller with the Center for Biological Diversity.

"Lead is an extremely toxic substance that we have sensibly removed from most of our environment, including water pipes, gasoline, paint, and cooking utensils. It only makes sense to protect our most imperiled wildlife from harmful lead exposure and also reduce the human health risk." The Nava bill was introduced after a coalition of health and conservation organizations, hunters and American Indians launched a “Get the Lead Out” campaign to eliminate lead bullets from condor habitat. In 2004 the Center for Biological Diversity and other coalition partners petitioned the California Fish and Game Commission to end the use of lead ammunition for hunting statewide, and in 2006 filed a lawsuit against the state for continuing to allow hunting with toxic lead ammunition that harms condors.

Fruit Bats Carry Deadly Marburg Virus
New Scientist Tech -
01 Sep 2007
D Mackenzie
Area: Africa

Marburg virus has a fearsome reputation. An outbreak in Angola in 2005 left more than 300 people dead and many more sick with the severe and highly contagious form of haemorrhagic fever it causes. Yet the animal that carries the virus and transmits it to humans has remained a mystery. Now researchers working in Gabon have found the virus in a cave-dwelling African fruit bat.


West Nile Virus Monitor: 2007 Human Surveillance

Foot-and-mouth 'Traced to Pipe'

African Database Will 'Tap Global Knowledge'


Emerging Infectious Diseases Journal
Volume 13, Number 9

Outbreak of Mycobacterium bovis Infection in a Wild Animal Park [online abstract only]
Vet Rec. 2007 Sep; 161: 304-307
SM Schmidbauer et al.

Characterization of Low Pathogenicity H5N1 Avian Influenza Viruses from North America [online abstract only]
J Virol. 2007 Aug; [Epub ahead of print]
E Spackman et al.

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