December 12, 2007

21 Crocodile-Like Reptiles Die in India
Associated Press -
12 Dec 2007
B Banerjee
Area: India
Photo courtesy of Wikipedia - Gharials

At least 21 endangered crocodile-like reptiles have died mysteriously in a river sanctuary in central India, raising fears that one of India's last unpolluted waterways has become toxic. Wildlife officials discovered the bodies of one male and 20 female gharials — massive reptiles that look like their crocodile relatives, but with long slender snouts — in the Chambal River over the last three days, Sri Kishna, a government official in Uttar Pradesh state, said Wednesday.

The deaths have concerned conservationists, who believe there are only some 1,500 gharials left in the wild, many of them in a sanctuary based along the Chambal, one of the few unpolluted Indian rivers. "The deaths of such a large number of gharials is not common. There has to be something wrong with the river water," said state Chief Wildlife Warden D.N.S. Suman. Scientists said it appeared that either the water or fish, the gharials' main food, were contaminated as there were no signs of injuries to any of the animals.

Study says 3 H5N1 variants reached Germany

10 Dec 2007
R Roos
Area: Germany

Scientists say they have found three distinct variants of H5N1 avian influenza virus in wild birds in Germany, two of which might have been brought in by wild birds migrating from Russia.

Researchers from the Friedrich Loeffler Institute in Insel Riems, Germany, analyzed 27 H5N1 isolates collected mostly from wild birds in widely scattered locations in Germany in 2006 and this year. Writing in the journal Veterinary Microbiology, they say the findings suggest that the virus was brought into the country on three separate occasions—two of them in early 2006 and the third in 2007. The strains that appeared in early 2006 are closely related to viruses found in southern and central Russia, suggesting that wild birds on their winter migration from Russia might have brought the strains to Germany, says the report by E. Starick and colleagues.

In Germany in 2006, the report says, the highly pathogenic H5N1 virus was found in 343 dead wild birds, a black swan in a zoo, three stray cats, and a stone marten and on one turkey farm. In June and July of this year the virus was found in 96 wild birds in scattered areas of southeastern Germany and in one backyard goose. More recently, the disease killed ducks on a farm in Bavaria in late August (an outbreak not covered by this study).

Threatened Birds May Be Rarer Than Geographic Range Maps Suggest
Science Daily -
12 Dec 2007
Photo Courtesy of Cagan Sekercioglu/Science Daily

Geographic range maps that allow conservationists to estimate the distribution of birds may vastly overestimate the actual population size of threatened species and those with specific habitats, according to a study published online this week in the journal Conservation Biology.

“Our study found that species ranges in general tend to get overestimated, but that this trend is particularly pronounced for birds that are threatened, rely on specialized diets or have small habitats,” said Walter Jetz, an assistant professor of biological sciences at UC San Diego and the lead author of the study, which will appear in the February issue of the printed journal. “This suggests that many threatened species of birds may be even rarer than we believe and are in greater danger of going extinct.”

Related Journal Articles

State Fish and Wildlife officials discuss possible Elk rule changes

Statesmen Journal -
12 Dec 2007
Area: Oregon, USA

A requirement for perimeter double-fencing, more intensive reporting, disease and DNA testing, a possible cap on the number of commercial elk-ranching licenses and allowing the imporation of elk sperm and embryos are being discussed. Those were among the "concepts" for changes from Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife officials unveiled Friday at the monthly meeting of the Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission in Salem. But after a yearlong series of occasionally acrimonious meetings among representatives on both sides with a stake in the outcome of any changes, there hasn't been a lot of movement on either side.

"The controversy was running high, and the compromise was running low," said Karen Smith of Bend about the process. A lifelong hunter and Oregon Hunters Association state board member, Smith was clear about her feelings. "You should not allow Oregon elk to be raised for canned hunts in other states," she said about Oregon's ban on raising game animals for in-state hunting, but allowing so-called "shooter bulls" to be raised and shipped out of state to become trophies at other private ranches. "End elk ranching in Oregon," she said. "Eliminate it, or phase it out."

DA Region VI starts bird-flu monitoring
Philippine Information Agency -
11 Dec 2007
T Villavert
Area: Philippines

The Department of Agriculture through the Bureau of Animal Industry is again in a state of preparedness to monitor the coming in of migratory birds that might carry the dreaded bird flu virus. Dr. Leriza Balopenos, assistant regional Avian Influenza coordinator of the Bureau of Animal Industry in Western Visyas disclosed in a PIA interview that migratory birds flock to our local wetlands to escape the cold weather in their host countries.

Dr. Balopenos said that Western Visayas is still bird flu-free but "we should still be very vigilant against the threat of the virus". She said that the public is especially urged to monitor cases of multiple deaths among domestic poultry and migratory waterbirds, and report it to the nearest office of the Department of Agriculture or Bureau of Animal Industry. The other government agencies concerned of monitoring the bird flu concerns are the Department of Health and Department of Environment and Natural Resources.

Related News

Photo courtesy of Sherri Barber/Coloradoan library


Estimating Wind Turbine–Caused Bird Mortality [online abstract only]
Journal of Wildlife Management. 2007 Nov; 71(8): 2781–2791
K.S. Smallwood

Relationships between Human Disturbance and Wildlife Land Use in Urban Habitat Fragments
[online abstract only]
Conservation Biology. [Ahead of print]
L. Markovchick-Nicholls

Climate Change, Elevational Range Shifts, and Bird Extinctions
[online abstract only]
Conservation Biology. [Ahead of print]
CH Sekercioglu et al.

No comments: