December 4, 2007

DRC fighting imperils rare gorillas: conservationists
Agence France-Presse -
03 Dec 2007
Area: Democratic Republic of Congo

Fighting in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo has isolated rare mountain gorillas, leaving their state unknown and welfare uncared for in three months, an animal charity charged Monday. The raging clashes between forces loyal to ex-general Laurent Nkunda and the Congolese army have barred rangers from accessing the gorillas in Virunga National Park to check for injuries or sickness, Wildlife Direct said in a joint statement by five nongovernmental organisations. "For three months now we have been totally unable to do our job due to the senseless fighting," Norbert Mushenzi, director of park services for the Congolese Institute for the Conservation of Nature (ICCN), said in the statement. The group said fresh artillery clashes around the primates' habitats Sunday and Monday posed "a severe threat to the mountain gorillas," already depopulated this year.

. . . The conservationists said the clashes have blocked veterinarians from reaching the the primates to deal with common flu-like diseases. "The biggest threats to free-ranging mountain gorillas include injuries from poacher's snares, flu-like respiratory disease which can be fatal in infants, and communicable infectious diseases such as measles and tuberculosis," said Lucy Spelman of the Mountain Gorilla Veterinary Project. "This situation is very frustrating," she added in the statement. Only about 700 critically endangered mountain gorillas remain in the wild, all of them in the mountain forests of Rwanda, Uganda and the eastern DRC.

Disease Leaves Toads in a Hole
Glouchester Echo -
04 Dec 2007
Area: England United Kingdom

Toads in Gloucestershire are at risk from a killer infection that has driven many amphibians to extinction. Chytridiomycosis is caused by a fungus which infects frogs, toads, and newts. It causes their skin to flake, makes them so lethargic they don't respond when threatened by predators and can cause whole groups of newly-hatched toadlets to die. Research by the Institute of Zoology showed that left uncheck-ed, the disease could wipe out the British toad population in a decade.

The infection is responsible for wiping out 40 species of amphibian in the past 20 years. Last month it was confirmed that the disease was present in a group of wild bullfrogs in Kent. Experts say it could easily spread to other parts of the country. Colin Twissell, is amphibian and reptile recorder for the Gloucestershire Naturalist Society. He said: "Toads are vital to this country.

Caution Sounded on Avian Influenza
The Statesman -
03 Dec 2007
Photo coutesy of Wikipedia
Area: Orissa India

The wildlife personnel here have sounded an alert on possible outbreak of avian influenza as chirpy cacophony has begun to pervade the wetland sites along the Bhitarkanika wildlife sanctuary with avian guests from across cool northern hemispheres arriving. Veterinary experts from Animal Disease Laboratory, Bhopal and Veterinary Disease Diagnosis and Research Laboratory, Kolkata are shortly arriving to examine the health profile of avian guests, according to forest officials. The forest department sources said that heronries and habitat near Satabhaya within the Bhitarkanika national park are so far perfectly free from avian influenza fear. Instructions have been issued to ground level staff to segregate the birds found drooping from other birds and conduct the blood sample for test check.

Hay Day Nets 55 Tons
Jackson Hole Daily -
03 Dec 2007
C Hatch
Photo courtesy of Wikipedia
Area: Wyoming United States

Sportsmen wound through Jackson on Saturday to deliver 55 tons of hay to the National Elk Refuge for Hay Day, an event to show support for providing supplemental feed to elk. While this year’s Sportsmen for Fish and Wildlife Hay Day drew fewer participants — 37 vehicles, compared with roughly 100 last year — organizers say sportsmen from around the region brought nearly the same amount of hay as last year. The group donated about 60 tons to the refuge last December, in part to protest the death of elk on the refuge during the winter of 2005-06. Bob Wharff, Wyoming Sportsmen for Fish and Wildlife executive director, says elk refuge managers failed to notice when conditions got too difficult for elk that winter.

. . . Most biologists and wildlife managers say supplemental feeding creates crowded conditions, exacerbating diseases like brucellosis. Kallin said the new plan doesn’t mean Jackson Hole animals will suffer. “We are not looking at withholding any feed to starve elk to reduce the numbers,” Kallin said. “We don’t plan to have any animals leave [the refuge] in poor condition.” Kallin said wildlife managers would use this year’s hay donation to lure bison away from elk feeding areas, as they did last year.

New national map shows relative risk for zebra and quagga mussel invasion
Ecological Society of America (Posted by
03 Dec 2007
Area: United States

There is considerable interest in determining the range of habitats an invasive alien species could possibly reach. Since its discovery in the Great Lakes, the zebra mussel (Dreissena polymorpha) has spread rapidly throughout waterways in the eastern US, negatively impacting ecosystems and infrastructure. A close relative of the zebra mussel and also of the Dreissena genus is the more slowly-spreading quagga mussel (D bugensis), found primarily in the Great Lakes. Based on published reports of the species’ preferred habitats and needs for survival, Thomas Whittier (Oregon State University) Paul Ringold (US Environmental Protection Agency), Alan Herlily(Oregon State University) and Suzanne Pierson (Indus Corporation) created a map to better determine where the quagga and zebra mussel may appear next, in their paper “A calcium-based risk assessment for zebra mussel and quagga mussel (Dreissena spp) invasion.”

Their research appears in the online e-view version of Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment. According to the authors, “The rate of zebra mussel expansion was rapid from its discovery in 1988. After 1994, the rate of expansion slowed considerably.” While expansion of the zebra mussel’s range continues in the Great Lakes and other inland locations, there has been no invasion of New England, the mid-Atlantic Piedmont and Coastal Plains, the Southeast, or areas west of the 100th meridian, despite climates and other conditions favorable for the organisms. “Another Dreissena species, the quagga mussel was discovered in 1989 in the Great Lakes.



The prevalence, distribution and severity of detectable pathological lesions in badgers naturally infected with Mycobacterium bovis [online article only]
Epidemiology and Infection. 2007 Nov 30;: 1-12 [Epub ahead of print]
HE Jenkins et al.

Sharing H5N1 Viruses to Stop a Global Influenza Pandemic [free full-text article]
PLoS Medicine. 2007; 4(11): e330
L Garrett and DP Fidler

Epidemiology of an outbreak of chronic wasting disease on elk farms in Saskatchewan [online abstract only]
Canadian Veterinary Journal. 2007; 48: 1241–1248
CK Argue et al.

No comments: