November 20, 2007

State's Testing of Wild Birds Reveals No Sign of Avian Flu
Tundra Drums -
16 Nov 2007
D Solberg
Area: Alaska, USA

An Alaska effort to test thousands of birds for the disease-causing H5N1 strain of avian flu hasn't discovered any sign of the disease. The strain of bird flu discovered in domestic birds such as chickens in Asia has never appeared in North America, but biologists have theorized that Alaska's geography may serve as a pathway for avian flu as migratory birds travel between the continents.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service sent vials containing minute amounts of body fluid samples from 7,980 wild birds in Alaska to a federal lab in Wisconsin for testing. Work on more than half of those samples is complete, and all results are negative so far, said Doug Alcorn, assistant director for the Alaska office of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Bird samples have come from three sources in the state: subsistence hunters, sport hunters and birds captured live and released by biologists. The most focused collection effort in Alaska occurred in the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta, where the concentration of nesting waterfowl and shorebirds is so high.

Related Articles

Despite Tar Balls, San Mateo County Beaches Remain Open
Mercury News –
19 Nov 2007
J Scott
Area: San Francisco, USA

San Mateo County beaches remain open despite a fresh smattering of small "tar balls" that landed on several shores this weekend, according to officials. Four beaches in Pacifica were re-opened on Friday following cleanup efforts by contractors hired by Regal Stone Ltd., the owners of the Cosco Busan. . . .

Looking back, not everyone was satisfied with bird rescue efforts in San Mateo County.
Rebecca Dmytryk, an oil-spill-response worker with the International Bird Rescue Research Center, said her group was hamstrung by a lack of volunteers and a slow institutional response to the crisis facing the birds in the first week of the oil spill.

"There aren't enough of us for this kind of spill," she said, referring to the eight to 10 official workers the IBRRC deployed specifically for bird search and rescue in the Bay Area. Another 20 IBRRC workers treated the oiled birds at facilities.

Related Article

In Search of Mainland Moose: Researcher at Atlantic Veterinary College Helping Nova Scotia Study the Slowly Declining Population of Mammal
The Guardian -
19 Nov 2007
R Ryder
Area: Nova Scotia, Canada

The moose is slowly disappearing from Nova Scotia’s mainland and a researcher at Atlantic Veterinary College is being asked to find out why. Scott McBirney, a wildlife pathologist, is part of the Canadian Co-operative Wildlife Health Centre, a network based around Canada’s veterinary schools with the aim of allowing nation-wide tracking of diseases in wildlife.

“It used to be that if a researcher was interested in a disease in a wild population he just looked into it himself with the funding he could get,” said McBirney. “I think today, with concerns about West Nile virus and other diseases spread in part by animals, there’s a greater awareness that there could be connections between human health, domestic animal health and the health of wild animals.”

EPA Considering Bans on 2 Animal Poisons
Associated Press
19 Nov 2007
HJ Hebert

The Environmental Protection Agency took a first step Monday to ban two poisons used to protect livestock against wild animals. The agency called for public comment on a proposal to end the use of sodium cyanide and sodium fluoroacetate, poisons that are placed on or near livestock to kill any wild animal that attacks it.

The poisons are distributed by the Wildlife Services agency, an arm of the Agriculture Department, and last year were reported to have killed an estimated 14,000 wild animals including coyotes, foxes and dogs.

Sodium fluoroacetate, commonly known as Compound 1080, is used in "livestock protection collars" that are strapped onto sheep or goats. The sodium cyanide is used in an ejector that has a bait that attracts the predator but not the livestock. It releases poison into the wild animal's mouth.

The EPA's request for public comment came in response to a petition by a coalition of conservation groups and public health organizations, which demand that the poisons no longer be used.



Diseases Shared Between Wildlife and Livestock: A European Perspective [online abstract only]
European Journal of Wildlife Research. 2007 Nov; 53(4): 241-256
C Gortazar et al.

The Chytrid Fungus Batrachochytrium Dendrobatidis is Non-randomly Distributed Across Amphibian Breeding Habitats
Diversity and Distributions. 2007 Nov; 13 (6): 781-788 NOV 2007
KM Kriger, JM Hero

Incidents of Bee Poisoning with Pesticides in the United Kingdom, 1994-2003
Pest Management Science. 2007 Nov;63(11):1051-1057
EA Barnett et al.

No comments: