December 3, 2007

Sun-Loving Frogs Get Skin Check with Eye Doctor's Tool
National Geographic -
30 Nov 2007
A Minard
Area: England United Kingdom

Sun-loving tree frogs from Costa Rica could get a reprieve from dissection—thanks to a tool borrowed from eye doctors.

The technique, called optical coherence tomography (OCT), can produce images to a depth of a few millimeters and is normally used to examine the human retina, a thin layer of cells that lines the back of the eyeball. But animal conservationists in Manchester, England, are using OCT to study skin characteristics in frog species that bask in the sun—an unusual trait among thin-skinned amphibians. The team hopes that the noninvasive method will yield clues about the frogs' susceptibility to a deadly chytrid fungal infection, a disease found worldwide that has been linked to global warming. Andrew Gray is curator of herpetology at the Manchester Museum and a co-author of the new work, which also involves researchers at the Photon Science Institute at the University of Manchester.

Undocumented Elk Intercepted at Missouri's Border
Kansas City infoZine -
01 Dec 2007
J Low
Area: Missouri United States

A tip from an Oklahoma wildlife officer enabled Missouri conservation agents to intercept the illegal interstate shipment.

Cooperation with Oklahoma wildlife officials allowed Missouri conservation agents to intercept an uncertified interstate shipment of elk. Quick action safeguarded the health of Missouri's wildlife and domestic livestock, according to Conservation Agent Travis McLain. McLain said the shipment came to Missouri officials' attention Sept. 26, when an Oklahoma wildlife officer called Conservation Agent Adam Bracken. Getting McLain in on a conference call, the Oklahoma officer informed the two conservation agents that he had just stopped three stock trailers headed for a game farm in Missouri.

. . . Greg Baker, 41, of Springdale, Ark., was the driver of one of the trucks bringing the elk to Missouri. He also is the permit holder for Hidden Spring Big Game Farm, the facility where the animals were headed. McLain issued Baker a citation for illegally importing wildlife into Missouri. Baker pleaded guilty in Barry County and paid a fine. Federal officials also are looking into the matter. Transporting wildlife or livestock across state borders without documentation is unlawful and has serious implications for wildlife and animal agriculture. Moving elk or deer between states without first checking their health creates the potential for spreading diseases.

Big bucks see bird smuggling spread
The New Zealand Herald -
02 Dec 2007
P Lewis
Area: Auckland New Zealand

Usually it's the aircraft at Auckland International Airport which carry the passengers. South African Pillipus Fourie had passengers of his own. Forty-four of them, to be precise. Parrots' eggs, smuggled away in an under-the-clothes vest with special compartments for the precious cargo.

. . . The reality is that not all the eggs will remain intact so the ultimate payoff may not be quite that big. But, after Fourie was stopped at the airport and his avian payload discovered, he was fined $20,000 for possession of unauthorised goods, for making a false declaration and for trading in threatened species. Parrots, particularly exotic species, and lizards are the most trafficked live items in New Zealand. Controls are strict because of the bio-security risk - disease could wreak havoc among the poultry industry and native birds, among others - and because trading in wildlife helps hasten the graduation from threatened species to extinction.

Bluetongue of interest to wool growers
Billings Gazette -
01 Dec 2007
J Gransbery
Area: Montana United States

A puzzling outbreak of the livestock disease bluetongue engaged a panel of scientists and sheep producers along with a couple hundred other people attending the opening session of the Montana Woolgrowers Association convention Friday morning. The selling and movement of sheep in 16 counties in the southeastern part of Montana were put on hold for a month this fall until the weather cooled enough to halt the activity of the midge that carries the virus causing the disease. The hold placed by the state veterinarian came just as many producers were about to ship their lambs to feedlots and slaughter or their rams for breeding. Scores of sheep and wild-game animals succumbed to the disease, although a tally of deaths is incomplete.

The question most on the minds of producers and animal scientists Friday was: "What about next year?" The complexity of the transmission of the disease and the life cycle of the midge provided an interesting discussion. The exact reservoir of the virus is an unknown. While options are being explored, the reality is that "we have no tools to prevent it happening next summer," said Greg Johnson, an entomologist at Montana State University in Bozeman. He suggested that a combination of drought and high temperatures this summer provided the right climate for the disease beginning in September when sheep, whitetail deer and antelope began displaying symptoms and dying from the infection.



Foot-and-Mouth Disease - 2007 Edition to Electronic Encyclopaedia and Library of wildlife, wildlife habitats,and emerging infectious diseases
Wildlife Information Network

Influenza in Migratory Birds and Evidence of Limited Intercontinental Virus Exchange [free full-text available]
PloS Pathogens. 2007; 3(11): e167
S Krauss et al.

Emerging Infectious Diseases - December Issue
Table of Contents

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