December 31, 2007

Rehabilitation prospects after worst Korean oil spill are good, UN experts say
Earth News -
27 Dec 2007
Area: South Korea

The prospects for rehabilitation after the worst oil spill in the history of the Republic of Korea (ROK) are good, thanks to quick and effective action by the Korean authorities, according to a joint United Nations-European Commission Assessment Team. Although emergency assistance is not required for clean-up operations after the oil tanker Hebei Spirit collided with a barge 100 kilometres south of Seoul, the capital, on 7 December, releasing 10,500 metric tons of crude oil into the sea, the team recommended continued monitoring and analysis to determine the impact on the environment, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said today. The team also concluded that shoreline assessment training should be carried out to assist with longer-term clean-up options and to build national response capacity.

Commending the speedy and effective reaction of the authorities, who used methods consistent with international oil pollution response practices, the team noted that follow-up activities began almost immediately after it completed its mission. The affected coastline, approximately 300 kilometres, hosts a number of fish farms and an active wild fishery industry, and is home to habitats for a variety of migratory birds. The region is also a popular tourist destination. As a result of the team’s findings, the Government of Canada is deploying a team of oil spill specialists to provide Shoreline Clean-up Assessment Training to Korean personnel.

Latest red tide victims: Manatees
Florida Today -
28 Dec 2007
J Waymer
Area: Florida United States

State marine patrol officers helped gather a dead manatee and a dolphin today near Kelly Park in Merritt Island, the latest apparent casualties of red tide. Tissue tests would have to confirm red tide as the cause of death. The manatee was found in Sykes Creek near Merritt Island High and the dolphin was found in the Indian River in the Merritt Island area. Through the end of November, red tide killed at least 46 manatees this year in Florida, including two in Brevard County — discounting the one reported today that is a suspected red tide death — and two in Volusia County.

Scientist On Quest For Disappearing Eel
Queens University (Posted by
27 Dec 2007
Area: Canada

A Queen’s environmental scientist will head a new international study to determine whether American eels – the slimy, snake-like fish considered worldwide to be a food delicacy – are dying from chemical pollution in Lake Ontario. Biology professor Peter Hodson and his team of toxicologists and chemists have received a grant from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) to solve the mystery of Lake Ontario’s disappearing eel population. Declared a “species of concern” under Canada’s new Species at Risk Act, American eels have until recently supported a multi-million-dollar historic fishery in Ontario and an even larger industry in Quebec.

But with rapidly decreasing numbers of eels, the Ontario fishery has been closed and the Quebec fishery is in serious decline. “A prime suspect in the case of the missing fish is the accumulation of toxic chemicals by the parent eels as they feed, grow, and mature in polluted freshwater lakes and streams,” says Dr. Hodson. “Our task will be to determine whether female eels transfer sufficient chemicals to their offspring to cause their death before reaching Lake Ontario.”

Elevated Levels of Mercury Found in Fish Collected from Four Idaho and Nevada Reservoirs
U.S. Geological Survey -
19 Dec 2007
Area: United States

Fish tissue samples taken from rainbow trout collected from four Idaho and Nevada reservoirs revealed elevated concentrations of methylmercury, according to data released by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and the Shoshone-Paiute Tribes of the Duck Valley Indian Reservation. The Tribes and USGS collaborated on and jointly funded the study. The tissue samples were analyzed at the USGS Mercury Research Laboratory in Middleton, WI. "The concentrations found were generally elevated for rainbow trout," said Terry Maret, the USGS scientist who directed the sampling.

Maret referred to a study conducted by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, which found that the average mercury concentration in rainbow trout across the United States was about 0.11 parts per million (ppm), wet weight. "About 70% of the fish filets analyzed were above this," he said. "Also, many of the larger fish we sampled exceeded Idaho's fish tissue methylmercury criterion of 0.3 ppm, a level established for the protection of the adult consumer." Older, larger fish tend to show greater concentrations of methylmercury due to biomagnifications in the food chain.

Chain reaction killing loons in Great Lakes
National Post with Files from The New York Times -
29 Dec 2007
M Leong
Area: Canada

Experts cite Type E botulism traced to mussels

The carcasses of hundreds of dead loons have washed up on the shores of the Great Lakes in recent months, and necropsies on the birds do not explicitly say what is killing one of the country's national symbols. But the fat, healthy-looking birds have congested organs and half-digested fish in their stomachs, leading biologists to believe the loons succumbed to a spreading epidemic that has killed 75,000 birds, including 9,000 loons, in the Great Lakes since 1999. Diseased bird carcasses appeared this year for the first time on the beaches of Georgian Bay, a wildlife expert said. Last year, the deaths were seen for the first time in Lake Michigan.

"Rather than sporadic outbreaks, which have occurred for years and years, now it is becoming much more generalized over the Great Lakes... It's becoming more widespread," said Kate Welch, a diagnostician with the Canadian Cooperative Wildlife Health Centre, who performs necropsies on the birds. The loons, symbols of Canadian wilderness, died after eating bad fish. More specifically, the loons were poisoned with Type E botulism, a common bacteria which grows on the bottom of lakes and is spread by two non-native species. The bacteria is picked up by zebra mussels and quagga mussels which are then consumed by fish called round gobies.

Researchers to test elk for Chronic Wasting Disease, birth control effectiveness -
30 Dec 2007
Area: Colorado United States

In January, researchers will begin to look at ways to test live elk for Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) and the effectiveness of an experimental, multi-year fertility control agent. According to a release from Rocky Mountain National Park, this will be the first time free ranging elk will be tested for CWD. Right now, CWD can only be diagnosed after death in elk. Researchers will conduct the research over the next several years, in conjunction with the proposed lethal reduction of elk.

Initial elk captures will take place this winter with monitoring continuing over the next three years. Most of the darting will take place in the Moraine Park, Beaver Meadows and Horseshoe Park areas on the east side of Rocky Mountain National Park. In addition to testing female elk for CWD, during the first year, researchers plan to administer the fertility control agent GonaCon to 60 elk.



Species barriers for chronic wasting disease by in vitro conversion of prion protein [online abstract only]
Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2007 Dec 28;364(4):796-800. Epub 2007 Oct 25.
L Li et al.

Ecologic immunology of avian influenza (H5N1) in migratory birds [online abstract only]
Emerg Infect Dis. 2007 Aug; 13(8): 1139-43
TP Weber and NI Stilianakis

Detection and surveillance for animal trichinellosis in GB [online abstract only]
Vet Parasitol. 2007 Nov 12 [Epub ahead of print]
IA Zimmer et al.

December 28, 2007

Beaches Of Dead Fish Anger Tourists -
27 Dec 2007
Area: Florida United States

More Than 3,000 Fish Wash Up In Brevard County

Thousands of fish lie rotting along Brevard County's beaches, the latest victims of a red tide outbreak that has lingered over the Space Coast for months, angering tourists and residents who hoped to spend part of the holiday break beachside. At least 3,000 fish, primarily mullet, have been reported dead since Saturday along Cocoa Beach, according the St. Petersburg-based Fish and Wildlife Research Institute. Although main tourist areas, such as the Cocoa Beach Pier, have been cleared of the ocean bile, the smelly remnants of mullets can be found just a few blocks south, Local 6 News partner Florida Today reported. The pungent odor forced the Calac family of St. Louis to move farther south and use the beaches near Patrick Air Force Base.

Initially, they headed out to the water near Ron Jon Surf Shop, but said they couldn't stomach the smell. "The smell of the fish was just nasty," said 14-year-old Matt Calac, who was bodyboarding on Wednesday. "The dead fish came up to the middle of the beach, and we couldn't take it." According to the latest round of ocean water tests, collected on Dec. 21, Karenia brevis, the Florida red tide organism, was detected from Volusia to St. Lucie counties. Red tide on Brevard beaches ranged from "not present" to "medium concentrations."

Group tries to head off special deer hunt
Associated Press (Posted by
26 Dec 2007
Area: Minnesota United States

Several northwestern Minnesota landowners want to stop a special deer hunt scheduled to start Saturday in a 450-square-mile area near Skime. The 16-day hunt authorized by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources in Permit Area 101 aims to stop the spread of bovine tuberculosis among wild deer. Three deer out of 1,100 killed by hunters this fall tested positive for the disease, which has also infected cattle in the area. The landowners' attorney, Grant Merritt, said Wednesday he hopes to meet with Natural Resources Commissioner Mark Holsten on Friday and persuade him to call off the hunt.

If that fails, Merritt said, his clients could ask a court to stop the hunt. Merritt said fencing deer out of cattle feeding stations would be a better approach than killing them. He said his clients hunt deer themselves on more than 4,000 acres of land they own north of Lower Red Lake, and want to protect the herd from a second hunting season. They also oppose a plan to have sharpshooters kill more deer later.

Pacific Salmon Invading Atlantic, Threatening Penguins
National Geographic News -
28 Dec 2007
J Owen
Area: Argentina

Ocean-swapping Pacific salmon are moving into Atlantic waters, scientists say.

The fish, native to the North Pacific, have started colonizing and breeding in rivers in southern Argentina, a new study shows (see map). Although the sight of salmon leaping in Argentina's world-renowned trout rivers may be enticing to anglers, the silvery predators could become a nightmare for the region's marine life. The invaders threaten to deprive penguins and sea mammals of food—an ever-increasing risk given the number of invasive salmon currently escaping from fish farms in neighboring Chile, researchers say. The warning stems from the first study to show salmon swimming from the Pacific to the South Atlantic, where salmon don't naturally occur.

. . . But the impact of these sea-feeding fish on the marine environment may prove severe, according to the latest research carried out by Pascual and his colleagues. A new study, yet to be published, found that 96 percent of the chinook salmon's diet in Patagonian seas is made up of sprats, small herring-like fish that are key prey for Magellanic penguins, a species classified as "near threatened" by the World Conservation Union. While the number of chinook salmon in the region isn't yet known, models indicate that a "medium-size population" could match the food consumption of the entire penguin population of southern Patagonia, Pascual said.



Conflict and Emerging Infectious Diseases [free full-text available]
Emerging Infectious Diseases. 2007 Nov; 13(11): [Epub ahead of print]
M Gayer et al.

Detection of a North American lineage H5 avian influenza virus in a South African wild duck [online abstract only]
Onderstepoort J Vet Res. 2007 Jun;74(2):177-80
C Abolnik

The American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene
Vol. 78, No. 1
Table of Contents

December 27, 2007

Duck hunters heed the call of bird flu tests
Herald-Tribune -
27 Dec 2007
K Spinner
Area: Florida, USA
Photo Courtesy of D Wagner/

Duck hunters, including those prowling the Everglades this winter, are helping scientists nationwide guard against a bird flu pandemic. Before taking home their ducks, hunters in much of Florida offer them to wildlife inspectors so the birds can be checked for influenza. The research is intended to help understand how bird flu spreads, so that dangerous flu strains can be swiftly found and eradicated.

"The main objective is early detection or prevention," said Thomas DeLiberto, national wildlife disease coordinator for the U.S. Department of Agriculture. "It's a way to get a heads-up on a potential problem." Scientists are focusing on ducks because the birds can harbor and spread influenza viruses without showing any signs of illness.

DNR Expands Deer Season in Bovine TB Zone
The Farmer -
24 Dec 2007
Area: Minnesota, USA

Hunters may use any valid deer license to harvest deer from Dec. 29 to Jan. 13, 2008, in Permit Area 101 of northwestern Minnesota to help reduce herd density and assist wildlife management officials in their efforts to stop the potential spread of bovine tuberculosis. Minnesota Department of Natural Resources officials announced the late season hunt after three of the 1,100 hunter-harvested deer sampled in Permit Area 101, which is considered the bovine TB zone in far northwestern Minnesota, tested presumptive positive for the disease.

Michelle Carstensen, DNR wildlife health program coordinator, said the National Veterinary Services Lab in Ames, Iowa, confirmed the results. Complete test results will soon be available. "Although finding additional infected deer is obviously a concern, the good news is that the prevalence of the disease remains low and is confined to a small geographic region," Carstensen said. "The DNR will take every precaution to prevent bovine TB from spreading through the deer herd."

Rainbow trout could be on road to comeback
The Aspen Times -
24 Dec 2007
Area: Colorado, USA

The results of an experimental breeding and stocking program have state wildlife researchers encouraged that Colorado's rainbow trout fishery could be on the brink of a big comeback after being decimated by whirling disease. The Division of Wildlife is trying to rebuild rainbow populations with trout that are resistant to the parasitic spore that deforms and kills young fish. "There's a lot of potential for re-establishing wild populations of rainbow trout," state biologist George Schisler said.

Next year, the wildlife division will start restocking lakes and streams with large numbers of rainbow trout that show strong resistance to whirling disease. Whirling disease is caused by a parasite that penetrates the head and spinal cartilage, causing fish to swim erratically. It also affects feeding and the ability to avoid predators. The disease was confirmed in Colorado in the late 1980s and spread to most of the state's major river drainages after infected fish from a private Idaho hatchery were released. It also infiltrated state hatcheries.

Eleven peafowls found dead in Jalandhar forest

Daily India -
27 Dec 2007
Area: India

Nine peahens and two peacocks were found dead at Laddowal forest in Punjab's Jalandhar District. The officials noticed a dead peacock initially in the Lodowal wildlife reserve area, and carried further search operation. "We saw one dead peacock when I and forest guard Jasveer Singh were patrolling. After that we carried a search operation in the whole jungle area and found a total of dead nine peahens and two peacocks. We then informed higher officials and brought those birds in the hospital for postmortem," said Pritpal Singh, Assistant Forest Officer (AFO) of Ludhiana.

All the dead birds were taken to a close-by veterinary hospital in Ludhiana, but were later referred to the Regional Disease Diagnostic Research Centre in Jalandhar for further investigation. Though the immediate cause of the deaths is not known, the birds have been sent for postmortem. "With full precaution, we are sending all these birds to our regional laboratory RDDL (Regional Disease Diagnostic Research Centre) in Jalandhar for examination," said J.K. Uppal, a veterinarian.

Undiagnosed deaths, camels - Saudi Arabia - Archive Number 20071226.4142
ProMED-mail -
26 Dec 2007

The mysterious bug [should read "agent" rather than "bug;" see commentary. -Mod.AS] which has killed thousands of camels has not affected herds in the UAE, as scientists and authorities are closely monitoring the situation. The disease recently killed thousands of camels in neighbouring Saudi Arabia, sending a wave of panic among farmers and scientists who are baffled as to what the disease is and its cause. Dr Ghaleb A. Al Hadrami, Dean of the College of Food and Agriculture at the UAE University, said no trace of any such disease had yet been found anywhere in the UAE.

"We have closely been monitoring the situation, and people need not to worry," he told Gulf News. He said Saudi Arabian experts were not describing it as an infectious disease. They are calling it an incident of food poisoning. "Nobody, however, knows the exact cause of this camel ailment so far, but scientists have been working on it," said Al Hadrami. Dr Ulrich Wernery, Scientific Director of the Central Veterinary Research Laboratory (CVRL) in Dubai, said scientists had been investigating lines such as poisoning, antibiotic pollution, viruses and climate change as possible causes.



Lesions associated with Mycobacterium tuberculosis complex infection in the
European wild boar

Tuberculosis (Edinb). 2007 Jul;87(4):360-7. Epub 2007 Mar 28.
MP Martín-Hernando

Landscape genetics and the spatial distribution of chronic wasting disease

Biol Lett. 2007 Dec 11 [Epub ahead of print]
JA Blanchong et al

West Nile virus-infected dead corvids increase the risk of infection in
Culex mosquitoes (Diptera : Culicidae) in domestic landscapes [online
abstract only]

J Med Entomol. 2007 Nov;44(6):1067-73.
CF Nielsen and WK Reisen

Age-related lesions in laboratory-confined raccoons (Procyon lotor)
inoculated with the agent of chronic wasting disease of mule deer [online
abstract only]

J Vet Diagn Invest. 2007 Nov;19(6):680-6.
AN Hamir et al.

Elk use of wallows and potential chronic wasting disease transmission
[online abstract only]

J Wildl Dis. 2007 Oct;43(4):784-8.
KC VerCauteren et al.

Wildlife Middle East News - December 2007
Vol 2 Issue 3

December 24, 2007

Oil spill disaster aftermath: A seabird struggles for survival
Marin Independent Journal -
22 Dec 2007
J Staats
Photo courtesy of IJ photo/Jeff Vendsel
Area: California United States

A gangly, charcoal-gray bird squirms on a table. It is poked and prodded by veterinarians and volunteers. Its body is coated in toxic oil. The team surrounds the bird, one of the 1,083 rescued in the oil-slicked wake of the Cosco Busan container ship. The bird's wings are checked, its feathers plucked for study. Its black, webbed foot gets stuck with a needle, and its blood pours into a clear syringe.

Finally, a volunteer wearing purple latex gloves grabs its neck and pulls a wing back. Another volunteer with a camera snaps a quick mug shot of the green-eyed bird, now outfitted with band No. Y79. For Vinnie, a double-crested cormorant found struggling in Marin County on Nov. 13, this is the beginning of a 15-day odyssey. "They can't be washed right away," said Greg Massey, a veterinarian at the Oiled Wildlife Care Network's bird rescue center in Cordelia. "They could die from the stress. It's a long process for these birds and requires a lot of expertise."

Possibly rabid fox that bit five in Boynton Beach captured
Boca Raton News -
21 Dec 2007
DM King
Area: Florida United States

The Palm Beach County Health Department reports that a possibly rabid Florida fox that bit a child and four adults in the area near Seacrest Boulevard and SW 23rd Street in Boynton Beach has been captured by county Animal Care & Control. Persons in the area had spotted the animal on several occasions, but it eluded Animal Care & Control officers and Boynton Beach police, said Health Department spokesman Tim O’Connor. It was caught about 3:30 p.m. Dec. 19, he said. The Health Department said the fox jumped over a fence and bit a child playing in the yard of a daycare center. All those who were bitten are being treated with a six-shot series to stave off rabies.

The captured animal will be tested in the Florida Department of Health lab in Lantana. At this time, said O’Connor, all persons are being advised to avoid any wildlife and report any suspicious animals to Animal Care & Control at 561-233-1200. O’Connor said rabies is a viral disease that can be prevented but not cured. The virus attacks the nerves and brain tissue of warm-blooded animals, including humans.


Related News

Novel Virus Identified In Endangered Species May Represent Evolution Of Two Major Virus Families
American Society for Microbiology (Posted by
21 Dec 2007
Area: Australia

The near extinction of the western barred bandicoot has led to the identification of a novel virus exhibiting characteristics of two ancient virus families. The western barred bandicoot (WWB), an Australian marsupial once commonly found across western and southern Australia, is now endangered throughout parts of the country and already extinct on the mainland. While promoting conservation efforts, researchers discovered a debilitating disease affecting the species causing full body lesions.

Papillomaviruses (PVs) and polyomaviruses (PyVs) are known to infect human, mammalian, and avian species. They were previously considered subunits of the Papovaviridae family, however they are currently recognized as two separate virus families due to significantly different genome sizes and organizations. In the study researchers from Murdoch University, Perth, Western Australia, and the University of Leuven, Belgium analyzed skin swabs taken from the lesions of infected WWBs and identified a novel virus exhibiting properties of both the Papillomaviridae and Polyomaviridae family.

Shot down: Wildlife commission says “no thanks” to snipers as elk control
The Daily Sentinel -
22 Dec 2007
D Buchanan
Area: Colorado United States

A plan to control elk herds in Rocky Mountain National Park that might include snipers equipped with night-vision goggles has received a hearty thumbs-down from the Colorado Wildlife Commission. During its meeting last week in Denver, the commission roundly booed the National Park Service’s preferred alternatives in its “Elk and Vegetation Management Plan” for Rocky Mountain National Park. Of five possible alternatives, including a “no action” plan, RMNP officials on Dec. 10 announced they have opted for alternative three, which would rely on “authorized agents” to cull up to 200 elk per year, reducing the current 3,000 or so elk now to about 1,600 to 2,100 animals.

The 20-year, $6-million plan says the “agents” would come from other federal agencies, volunteers and private contractors. Opponents of the plan say those agents could come in the form of sharpshooters sneaking around at night, plugging unsuspecting elk with rifles equipped with silencers. Because of the limited harvest, the park’s plan also includes other methods of population control, including birth-control drugs and maybe, just maybe, the “adaptive use of wolves as a management tool.” Overabundant elk numbers have destroyed many of the park’s aspen stands and willow patches that elk and other wildlife species need for survival.

Trial bison vaccinations could start this winter
Jackson Hole Daily -
24 Dec 2007
C Hatch
Photo by Steve Maslowski courtesy FWS
Area: Wyoming United States

Wyoming Game and Fish wildlife managers say they could start vaccinating a small number of bison as soon as this winter to reduce brucellosis in the local herd. The Game and Fish Department released a new brucellosis management plan for the bison herd last week. Part of that plan includes inoculating bison with RB-51, a vaccine that has shown mixed results in experimental tests. At a meeting Dec. 19, Game and Fish brucellosis biologist John Henningsen said wildlife managers would watch vaccination efforts in Yellowstone before initiating a program in Jackson Hole.

“We’re probably not going to implement it on a full scale right away,” he said. However, Henningsen said officials are considering a small experimental vaccination program this year. He said officials haven’t decided on the details of the operation. “The recent [studies] have suggested that RB-51 is effective enough to justify its use,” Henningsen said. Game and Fish Regional Wildlife Supervisor Bernie Holz said any vaccinations implemented this winter would be delivered in a syringe dart, not a “bio-bullet” or through a capture and hand-innoculation program like some previous efforts in Yellowstone.



Spread of chytridiomycosis has caused the rapid global decline and extinction of frogs [online abstract only]
EcoHealth. 2007 Apr; 4(2): 125-134
LF Skerratt et al.

The importance of parasite life history and host density in predicting the impact of infections in red deer [online abstract only]
Oecologia. 2007 Mar; 152(4): 655-664
J Vicente et al.

Phylogenetic concordance analysis shows an emerging pathogen is novel and endemic [online abstract only]
Ecology Letters. 2007 Nov; 10 (11): 1075–1083
A Storfer et al.

December 21, 2007

Pregnant Bottlenose dolphin found dead on Cornish beach
Wildlife -
Dec 2007
Area: England, Cornwall, Lizard Peninsula

Much to the concern of researchers monitoring cetaceans in Cornwall, the body of another rare dolphin has washed ashore on the Lizard. The female bottlenose dolphin measured around 3.2m in length and weighed 370 kg. She was carrying a female calf 80 cm long, weighing 6.2 kg.

. . . It's quite possible that the dolphin stranded alive, but there was no obvious cause of her death. However, she was only in moderate nutritional condition, which often indicates disease, and this, together with the extremely bad weather at the time, may have resulted in her stranding. We'll have to wait for the full post mortem test results to come through before we can be more certain.’

Waterfowl undergo tests for fatal strain of avian flu: Monitoring is part of national, international efforts
Worcester Telegram & Gazette-
20 Dec 2007
MJ Hill
Area: United States

More than two dozen waterfowl in town received a surprise lab test on Tuesday, when federal workers netted the birds to take samples to see if any of them have a deadly strain of avian flu. Wild birds in all 50 states are being monitored, and information from the samples feeds into an international effort to watch for transmission of the strain, said Monte D. Chandler of the Wildlife Services Program for the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The H5N1 strain of avian flu has not yet been found in the United States, Mr. Chandler said.

“Of the few avian influenza viruses that have crossed the species barrier to infect humans, H5N1 has caused the largest number of detected cases of severe disease and death in humans,” according to the Web site for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. To capture the birds, a weighted net is discharged with the use of something similar to a blank charge, Mr. Chandler said. Birds are then collected and swabs are taken of samples to be tested later for the H5N1 strain of bird flu, he said. The birds are released afterward, he said.

Putting Wildlife Disease News on the Map! - Global Wildlife Disease News Map [news release]
Wildlife Disease Information Node -
20 Dec 2007

The Wildlife Disease Information Node (WDIN) is pleased to announce the release of a new
map tool, Global Wildlife Disease News Map. The last 45 days of Wildlife Disease News
Digest articles are displayed on a map based on their geographical location. This allows you
to see the news happening both in your area and worldwide.

Radio collars invaluable in understanding wildlife
Worcester Telegram & Gazette -
21 Dec 2007

Targeted by researchers early in life during a 1997 aerial hunt in Myles Standish State Forest in Brewster, a young doe was fitted with a leather radio collar. . . In many respects, she was the grand dam of a cadre of wildlife — deer, bear, moose, eagles, falcons, waterfowl, and more — that carries some mechanism that reports data to state biologists or that can be visually tracked by them. They are the lifeblood of the state’s wildlife management system; the information they feed to humans drives the quotas, rules, and regulations of hunting and fishing. Most importantly, the data helps us all understand wildlife a little better.

. . . National bird-banding programs have shown that global warming has caused some ducks to stay farther and farther north, while they have also shown that other waterfowl, such as the long-tail duck migrate across continents — from Alaska to Cape Cod — and not necessarily north to south, having possible implications in the spread of avian influenza and other diseases, according to O’Shea. Data gleaned from the banding of non-hunted birds such as eagles and falcons provides data that helps biologists understand whether recovery programs are working and how behavior changes as populations re-establish and mature . . .

State adds fish advisory for selenium
Charleston the Gazette -
21 Dec 2007
Area: West Virginia

West Virginia regulators have begun warning state residents not to eat fish from certain waterways because of high levels of selenium pollution. The state Bureau for Public Health recommended that anglers limit themselves to one meal per month of any sport fish caught from Mount Storm Lake in Grant County, Upper Mud Lake in Lincoln County and Pinnacle Creek in Wyoming County.

Agency officials announced the move on Wednesday, after reviewing new fish sample data and consulting with the state Department of Environmental Protection and the Division of Natural Resources. The selenium warning was among several changes that were announced in the state’s long list of fish consumption advisories.

Photo courtesy of Science Daily


Experimental evidence of competitive release in sympatric carnivores [only abstract only]
Biology Letters. 2007 Dec [epub ahead of print
ID Trewby et al.
Related to the BBC News article, Badger culls 'boost fox numbers', posted to the Digest on Dec 19, 2007.

Global Climate Change and Extreme Weather Events: Understanding the Potential Contributions to the Emergence, Reemergence and Spread of Infectious Disease [presentations available]
Conference hosted by Institute of Medicine of the National Academies, Dec 4-5, 2007, Washington DC, USA

December 20, 2007

Deadly Aleutian disease found in wild mink
CBC News -
19 Dec 2007
Area: Canada

Wildlife officials in Newfoundland and Labrador confirmed Wednesday that wild mink have been found with Aleutian disease, the same strain that has plagued the farmed fur industry. The news of the infections comes four months after the Newfoundland and Labrador Fur Breeders Association called for a cull of all farmed mink in the province to stem the spread of the disease. Aleutian disease is highly contagious. It affects the breeding potential of mink and eventually kills the animal by destroying its immune system.

The disease was found on some of the province's commercial mink farms in August. Farmers asked for better legislation, a cull and economic support from the government to repair the damage created by the disease. In September, police learned thousands of cages at a Trinity Bay mink farm were intentionally opened and the animals allowed to escape. Merv Wiseman, president of the province's fur breeders association, said officials have to find out whether that criminal incident and the recent discovery of the disease in the wild are related or whether the disease was already in the province.

Oil Spills are Forever
Mother Jones -
19 Dec 2007
M Mosedale

From San Francisco to South Korea, petroleum disasters are striking with increasing frequency. And those blackened birds are just the beginning of the bad news.

In the six weeks since the Cosco Busan, a Korea-bound container ship, crashed into the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge, residents have been subjected to a dismal spectacle: coverall-clad rescue workers, set incongruously against the Bay's photogenic vistas, scooping up dead and dying seabirds. As is the case with most oil spills (including the trifecta of recent spills in South Korea, the Black Sea, and the North Sea), birds have been the most conspicuous victims of the Cosco Busan debacle. The official avian death count stands at over 2,400. But biologists think that's probably just the beginning.

In the traditional way of looking at oil spills, the harm assessment is based on what ecologists refer to as the acute mortality phase—in the Bay's case, all those blackened surf scooters and grebes. But in recent years, researchers have found that oil lingers much longer than previously thought and that it continues to harm wildlife for decades. In the wake of the 1989 Exxon Valdez disaster, scientists have traced much of the trouble to polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, or PAHs, an especially persistent family of chemicals found in oil that can cause deformities, slower growth, and poorer reproduction in many birds and animals.

State still on safe side of brucellosis
The Billings Gazette -
20 Dec 2007
M Stark
Area: Montana United States

Months of additional tests for brucellosis in Montana cattle have turned up no new cases, Department of Livestock officials said Wednesday. "Definitely we feel significant relief," said Marty Zaluski, state veterinarian at the Livestock Department. So far, 6,235 tests have been conducted on around 3,000 cows. Most were tested in the spring and in the fall. The only positive results for brucellosis came from seven cows from a herd in Bridger tested this spring.

That finding in May threatens Montana's brucellosis-free status, which, if lost, would mean millions of dollars spent testing cattle - and plenty of extra paperwork - before they're marketed. Crews spent much of the spring and fall testing and retesting cows that may have come in contact with the infected herd. The final results came back Tuesday with no new positive cases. "We were certainly holding our breath," said Christian Mackay, executive officer for the Livestock Department. "We're very encouraged by the results. They speak to overall a very clean, healthy cow herd."

Death toll of ghariyals reaches 28
The Times of India -
20 Dec 2007
Area: India

After four bodies that were fished out from Chambal on Tuesday, the death toll of ghariyals in National Chambal Sanctuary has reached 28. State forest department is yet to decode the "mysterious disease" killing the animals. Reptiles continue to die in Madhya Pradesh area as well. No incidents, however, have been reported from part of the sanctuary in Rajasthan. "Yesterday we recovered four bodies, but today we have not found any", said Ramesh Chandra Mishra, conservator Lucknow, Wildlife. The animals that are found dead are all wild, said forest officials on the plea that dead bodies did not show tagging and numbering. Ghariyals left by forest department in the river are tagged and numbered.

These are animals that live in the river and have not been part of the forest department's breeding centres. The dead animals are also adult, between 10 to 15 years of age, claim officials from the department who had been to the spot and seen animals dying. "They come on the banks of the river and wriggle in suffocation and within minutes they die. I have seen three die like this myself", recollected Mishra.

Waterfowl undergo tests for fatal strain of avian flu
Worcester Telegram & Gazette News -
20 Dec 2007
M Hill
Area: Massachusetts United States

More than two dozen waterfowl in town received a surprise lab test on Tuesday, when federal workers netted the birds to take samples to see if any of them have a deadly strain of avian flu. Wild birds in all 50 states are being monitored, and information from the samples feeds into an international effort to watch for transmission of the strain, said Monte D. Chandler of the Wildlife Services Program for the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The H5N1 strain of avian flu has not yet been found in the United States, Mr. Chandler said. “Of the few avian influenza viruses that have crossed the species barrier to infect humans, H5N1 has caused the largest number of detected cases of severe disease and death in humans,” according to the Web site for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

To capture the birds, a weighted net is discharged with the use of something similar to a blank charge, Mr. Chandler said. Birds are then collected and swabs are taken of samples to be tested later for the H5N1 strain of bird flu, he said. The birds are released afterward, he said. In Massachusetts, the agricultural department is working on the sample collection with the state Department of Fisheries & Wildlife. Each of the two agencies is to collect 375 birds over a year, he said.

Photo courtesy of AFP/File Photo


Elk use of wallows and potential chronic wasting disease transmission [online abstract only]
Journal of Wildlife Diseases. 2007; 43(4): 784-788
KC VerCauteren et al.

The influence of exposure history on arsenic accumulation and toxicity in the killifish, Fundulus heteroclitus [online abstract only]
Environmental toxicology and chemistry. 2007 Dec; 26(12): 2704-9
JR Shaw et al.

Parasite Threat to Panda Conservation [online abstract only]
EcoHealth. 2007 Dec; [Epub ahead of print]
J Zhang et al.

December 19, 2007

Badger culls 'boost fox numbers'
BBC News -
19 Dec 2007
P Rincon
Area: United Kingdom
Photos courtesy of BBC News

Culling badgers in order to control bovine tuberculosis (bTB) can cause a doubling in fox numbers, UK government scientists have found. This could impact on livestock farming and conservation, the authors write in Biology Letters journal. The researchers looked at effects on foxes during the badger culling trials in England between 1998 and 2006. Their figures show that intensive culling of badgers resulted in roughly one extra fox per square kilometre.

Red foxes are of concern to farmers and conservationists alike because they prey on livestock, ground-nesting birds and brown hares. They are widely culled by farmers and gamekeepers.
Many farmers blame badgers for a sharp increase of bTB in their herds. But culling the animals remains a controversial option.

The Randomised Badger Culling Trial (RBCT) was set up to investigate how bTB spread between cattle, badgers and other wildlife. It also enabled scientists to assess the effects of badger culls on other species sharing the same ecosystem.

Related Journal Article

PLUM ISLAND: U.S.: Disease center needs more security –
19 Dec 2007
JS Kelleher
Area: Suffolk County, New York, USA

Security measures have yet to be fully implemented at the Plum Island Animal Disease Center, despite significant improvements to safeguard the facility against terrorist attacks, according to a report released by the investigative arm of Congress.

The Government Accountability Office's report, released Monday, states that Department of Homeland Security still needs to implement six out of 24 recommendations that will further protect the facility, where contagious foreign animal diseases including the foot-and-mouth virus are researched and diagnosed. Release of pathogens could cause catastrophic economic loss. Fully implementing the remaining recommendations is necessary to "reduce the risk of pathogen theft and to enhance response capabilities at Plum Island," the report said.

Current security shortcomings outlined in the report include no finalized agreement for providing background checks on contractors and visitors; a need for more exercises with Southold police to test Plum Island's response capability; and limiting access to pathogens by ensuring that all those involved in laboratory activities in the biocontainment area be approved in accordance with law.

photo courtesy of National Geo graphic Photo of the Day, Joel Sartore


Landscape genetics and the spatial distribution of chronic wasting disease [online abstract only]
Biology Letters. 2007 Dec 11 [Epub ahead of print]
JA Blanchong et al

Toxoplasmosis in a woodchuck (Marmota monax) and two American red squirrels (Tamiasciurus hudsonicus) [online abstract only]
Journal of Veterinary Diagnostic Investigation. 2007 Nov;19(6): 705-709
DS Bangari et al

Antemortem diagnosis and characterization of nasal intranuclear coccidiosis in Sulawesi tortoises (Indotestudo forsteni) [online abstract only]
Journal of Veterinary Diagnostic Investigation. 2007 Nov;19(6): 660-667
CJ Innis et al

December 18, 2007

Liver cirrhosis kills 26 crocodiles in north India
Reuters -
14 Dec 2007
S Pradhan
Area: India

As many as 26 endangered crocodiles have been found dead over the last three days in northern India and experts attribute the rare mass deaths to cirrhosis of the liver, authorities said on Friday. The reptiles died in the waters of the Chambal river, which runs along the borders of the northern state of Uttar Pradesh and the central state of Madhya Pradesh, baffling experts as it is considered their natural habitat. "Autopsies confirm liver cirrhosis as the cause of death," D.N.S. Suman, Uttar Pradesh's top wildlife official, told Reuters from Etawah town on the banks of the Chambal where experts have camped to investigate the deaths.

Benin confirms its first H5N1 outbreaks
17 Dec 2007
Area: Benin

Tests in Italy have confirmed the first poultry outbreaks of H5N1 avian influenza in the West African country of Benin, according to news services. Agriculture Minister Robert Dovonou said suspected cases found on two farms earlier this month were confirmed by the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) in Padua, Italy, according to a Dec 15 report by Agence France-Presse (AFP). The farms are north of Porto Novo, the capital, and in Cotonou, the commercial capital, both in Benin's southern coastal strip, AFP and Reuters reported. Benin is surrounded by countries that have faced poultry outbreaks within the last 2 years: Nigeria, Togo, Niger, and Burkina Faso. Nigeria has had one human H5N1 case. Ivory Coast and Ghana are other West African states that have had poultry outbreaks.

Benin officials reported the two suspected outbreaks to the OIE on Dec 5, saying 100 birds had died and 245 had been killed to stop the outbreak. Most of the birds were chickens, but eight turkeys were among affected poultry on the Cotonou farm. According to the Reuters report, published today, health experts have expressed concern that Benin's Voodoo priests could be at risk for avian flu because of their practice of tearing out the throats of live chickens in ritual sacrifices. In other developments, the agriculture ministry in Saudi Arabia destroyed 13,500 ostriches to control an H5N1 outbreak on a farm in the Al-Kharj region, about 50 miles south of Riyadh, according to a report today by ArabNews, an English-language newspaper in the country.

DNR: 5 more cases of wasting disease found in Hampshire County
The Associated Press (Posted by
18 Dec 2007
Area: West Virginia United States

Preliminary tests show that five more deer killed in Hampshire County during the fall gun season had chronic wasting disease. Division of Natural Resources Director Frank Jezioro (JEZ'-uh-roh) says samples were collected from 1,285 deer brought to game-checking stations in the county, the only one in the state where the disease has been reported. The findings announced Monday bring the number of infected deer found in Hampshire County to 19 since 2005. The DNR has taken measures to prevent the spread of the disease, which affects the brains and nervous systems of deer and elk.

Study to test birth control in park's elk
The Coloradoan -
18 Dec 2007
D Crowl
Photo courtesy of Miles Blumhardt/Coloradoan library
Area: Colorado United States

Though Rocky Mountain National Park officials have been careful not to endorse fertility control for elk as a possible management tool, they may soon find out if it can work in the park. A three-year fertility study conducted by Colorado State University, the National Park Service and other federal agencies has been linked to Rocky Mountain National Park's Elk and Vegetation Management Plan, released last week. The plan aims to bring down a bulging herd size from between 2,200 and 3,100 elk to 1,600 and 2,100 animals in 20 years to lessen the animals' impact on new-growth aspen and willow trees. Park officials could allow as many as 200 elk a year to be shot, according to the plan.

For wildlife biologists, so many culled animals a year is a rare research opportunity. "Samples like this don't come around very often," said Margaret Wild, wildlife biologist for the National Park Service. "We are trying to bring on as many collaborators as possible so we can learn what we can from the elk." The fertility study is one of two major research projects connected to the plan, though the culled animals will undergo a litany of other tests. The second study would determine if a live test for the fatal brain malady chronic wasting disease works. So far, accurate tests can only be performed on carcasses.

Commerce Department awards grant to Great Falls research center
The Associated Press (Posted by
17 Dec 2007
Area: Montana United States

The Montana Department of Commerce has awarded a $2 million biomedical research grant to the McLaughlin Research Institute in Great Falls. The institute is working to better understand and detect bovine spongiform encephalopathy in livestock and chronic wasting disease in deer and elk. The grant will allow it to expand its research and provide more educational opportunities to students and teachers. The money was appropriated by the 2007 state Legislature.

Herpesvirus, zoo elephants - USA - Archive Number 20071217.4058
ProMED-mail -
10 Dec 2007

Regarding the presence of herpesvirus in the wild, Laura Richman is correct and Joe Dudley is incorrect. Elephantid herpesvirus 1 (ElHV1) has been found in a wild elephant in Asia. See: Endotheliotropic elephant herpes virus (EEHV) infection. The first PCR-confirmed fatal case in Asia.

Dr. Dudley also overstates the present knowledge of these viruses. While it is a viable theory that elephantid herpesvirus 1 is of African elephant origin, it is far from proven. Significant ElHV1-associated disease in elephants tends to be found in weaning age animals, and this is not necessarily inconsistent with the behavior of some herpesviruses in their native hosts. Further, in some recent deaths, the virus found to be the cause of death was not elephantid herpesvirus 1, but a distinct and novel endotheliotropic herpesvirus, and this novel virus has not been associated with African elephants.

NOAA Seeks Greater Protections for Threatened Elkhorn and Staghorn Corals
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration -
18 Dec 2007

NOAA is proposing to extend most of the prohibitions of the Endangered Species Act - normally applied only to endangered species - to the threatened elkhorn and staghorn corals. NOAA biologists estimate more than 90 percent of elkhorn and staghorn corals have been lost because of coral bleaching due to rising sea temperatures, disease, and tropical storm damage. Both species were listed as threatened in May 2006. “These were the most dominant and important coral species on Florida and Caribbean reefs,” said Roy Crabtree, NOAA Fisheries Southeast regional administrator.

“Since their decline, they no longer fulfill their important ecosystem role – which includes protecting coasts from storms and supporting healthy fisheries.” Species listed as endangered under the ESA are automatically covered by a suite of protective measures and prohibitions in the law. However, for species listed as threatened, such as elkhorn and staghorn corals, these same measures and prohibitions do not automatically apply. Therefore, NOAA Fisheries Service developed a separate proposed rule, called a 4(d) rule after section 4(d) of the ESA, detailing the prohibitions necessary to provide for the conservation of elkhorn and staghorn corals.

Researcher mounts cold-weather assault on bird flu
The Associated Press (Posted by
17 Dec 2007
E Shaw
Area: Michigan United States

A Central Michigan University researcher is poking holes in the ice at area waterfowl watering holes, hoping to find a new way to stand guard against the potentially deadly bird flu. The lethal strain of the avian influenza virus — known as H5N1 — has killed more than 150 people worldwide since 2003, with more than 4,000 outbreaks in poultry and deaths in more than 60 wildlife species. It hasn't been detected yet in North America, but the World Health Organization has tracked its spread across the globe to Europe, Africa and Asia — highlighting the need for better early warning methods. "Two or three years ago, bird flu was everywhere in the news.

Today, you don't hear about it as much, but the threat hasn't gone away — it's just been replaced in the media by other health scares," said Todd Lickfett, a Central Michigan graduate assistant Lickfett hopes to develop his new monitoring method using bird flu strains that are common in North American migratory flocks but aren't harmful to humans. Researchers now collect and test samples from individual birds — an effective but costly and time-consuming approach.


December 17, 2007

HK closes nature reserve after wild heron tests positive for bird flu -
15 Dec 2007
Area: Hong Kong

Hong Kong has ordered a local bird reserve closed starting Friday after a wild grey heron was found sick there and tested positive for the H5N1 bird flu virus. The Mai Po Nature Reserve, located at Lok Ma Chau near Hong Kong's border with the neighboring mainland city of Shenzhen, was "closed starting today until further notice," said a notification posted on the gate of the bird sanctuary Friday. The grey heron, a migratory species that often visits Hong Kong in winter but is not resident in the southern Chinese territory, was found sick on Dec. 5 at the wetland compensation area of the railway's Lok Ma Chau Spurline and died the next day.

Subsequent tests over the next few days confirmed that the wild bird was infected with H5N1 avian influenza, the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department (AFCD) of the Hong Kong SAR government said a statement released late Thursday. A spokesman for the department said Hong Kong has decided to temporarily close the Mai Po Nature Reserve, which was far from Hong Kong's crowded downtown area. The move was "a precautionary measure," the spokesman was quoted as saying, adding that there were no chicken farms within 3 kilometers of where the bird was found.

Yellow fever, monkeys - Brazil (Goias): susp., RFI - Archive Number 20071217.4052
ProMED-mail -
13 Dec 2007
Area: Goias Brazil

Worried about deaths of monkeys in certain of [Goiania?s] green zones suspected of having contracted yellow fever, the Municipal Environmental Agency (AMMA) this morning (13 Dec [2007]) convened a meeting of municipal and state health representatives and wildlife protection and management authorities. They discussed measures that would be adopted in relation to infected wild animals which live in the green zones. They asserted that they will carry out monitoring in the localities where the dead macaques were found and provide an explanation to the local populace.

In Goiania [capital of Goias state. ? Mod.JW] in recent months, a female monkey was found dead in forested land on private property on the banks of the Joao Leite River. In a reserve within the Jardins Madri condominium 4 dead [monkeys] (3 females and an adult male) were found. In Vila Redencao, adjacent to the Botanical Garden, 3 adult monkeys died. The public health laboratory also indicated that it had initiated an investigation of vectors (transmitters of the virus) [it is not clear if they are speaking of mosquito vectors or of vertebrate hosts in this case. - Mod. TY] in the area of Santa Genoveva and the Condominio Jardins Madri.

Gruesome work keeps FWP on top of wildlife disease
Billings Gazette -
15 Dec 2007
M Stark
Area: United States

Technicians testing deer to see if chronic wasting disease is present in state

Leave your weak stomach at home if you visit Neil Anderson at work. The smell of dead animals is thick inside the examination room at the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks' wildlife laboratory. On one recent morning, an 83-pound dead wolf hung from a rope waiting for a necropsy near a heaping pile of mule deer heads to be tested for chronic wasting disease. "You can't be queasy," said Anderson, the lab's director.

But those who can handle it are on the front lines of tracking some of the biggest threats to Montana's wildlife: chronic wasting disease, avian flu, West Nile virus, bluetongue, brucellosis and other diseases. One or two decades ago, there was fairly short list of diseases affecting wildlife. Today, FWP is bustling with full- and part-time workers in the lab and in the field looking for a growing number of harmful bugs, viruses and diseases. Several factors are changing the dynamics of wildlife diseases.

Dead Dolphin Washes Ashore near KSC
14 Dec 2007
Area: Florida United States

A dead dolphin was found along the shoreline near Kennedy Space Center on Friday, making it the seventh death in the past three days. Another dolphin was also found dead in the same area on Thursday, and a second dolphin also washed ashore in New Smyrna Beach. A baby dolphin with its umbilical cord attached was found nearby. The baby dolphin was not added to the official total because it hadn't yet been born. A rescue effort also continued on Friday in the Mosquito Lagoon for two additional dolphins trapped there. It's not known if those dolphins are ill.

State targets wildlife trafficking
Montgomery Advertiser -
17 Dec 2007
M Rooney
Area: Alabama United States

Alabama's wildlife agency is wrapping up an 18-month long undercover operation targeting illegal wildlife trafficking that stretches as far north as Wisconsin. The effort resulted in dozens of arrests nationwide and the seizure of hundreds of foxes and coyotes. The animals were trapped live then sold in and out of state to outfits operating penned enclosures. The animals were used as quarry for hounds.

Dubbed Operation Foxoyte, the Alabama effort has netted 18 arrests. In Virginia, where the English style of chasing foxes on horseback is popular, the game department suspended 35 of the state's 41 foxhound training preserves. The crime goes beyond issues of animal cruelty -- it's also a danger to public health. Transporting animals across state lines, or even within different areas of the same state, can transmit disease to animals and to humans, game officials said.



The Wildlife Professional - Dec 2007
Volume 1, Issue 4
Table of Contents

Sindbis Virus Infection in Resident Birds, Migratory Birds, and Humans, Finland
Emerg Infect Dis. 2008 Jan; [Epub ahead of print]
S. Kurkela et al.

Wild Bird Influenza Survey, Canada
Emerg Infect Dis. 2008 Jan; [Epub ahead of print]
E.J. Parmley et al

Related Link
>>>CCWHC Wild Bird Influenza Survey (2005 - 2007 Result Reports)

December 14, 2007

Fish Farms Drive Wild Salmon Populations Toward Extinction
Science Daily -
13 Dec 2007

Parasitic sea lice infestations caused by salmon farms are driving nearby populations of wild salmon toward extinction. The results show that the affected pink salmon populations have been rapidly declining for four years. The scientists expect a 99% collapse in another four years, or two salmon generations, if the infestations continue.

"The impact is so severe that the viability of the wild salmon populations is threatened," says lead author of a new article in Science (December 14) Martin Krkosek, a fisheries ecologist from the University of Alberta. Krkosek and his co-authors calculate that sea lice have killed more than 80% of the annual pink salmon returns to British Columbia's Broughton Archipelago. "If nothing changes, we are going to lose these fish."

Related Links

Related News

Global Warming Is Destroying Coral Reefs, Major Study Warns
Science Daily -
14 Dec 2007

The largest living structures on Earth and the millions of livelihoods which depend upon them are at risk, the most definitive review yet of the impact of rising carbon emissions on coral reefs has concluded.

If world leaders do not immediately engage in a race against time to save the Earth's coral reefs, these vital ecosystems will not survive the global warming and acidification predicted for later this century. That is the conclusion of a group of marine scientists from around the world in a major new study published in the journal Science on Dec. 13.

Related Journal Articles and Podcasts

>>> Reef in Trouble - Science News Focus [4 articles - only summaries available]

>>>Coral Reefs Under Rapid Climate Change and Ocean Acidification – Science journal article [abstract only]

Hundreds of dead turtles litter Orissa beach –
13 Dec 2007
Area: Gahirmatha beach, Orissa, India
Image courtesy of Wikipedia

Hundreds of endangered Olive Ridley turtles were found dead over the past one and half month in Orissa's Gahiramatha beach, a non-governmental organisation here said Thursday.

'We have been conducting survey of turtles on the 35 km shoreline from Hukitola to Nasi Island of Gahirmatha, nearly 174 km from the state capital Bhubaneswar, since Nov 1,' said Bijay Kabi, director of the NGO Action for Protection of Wild Animal (APOWA).
'We found carcasses of at least 400 turtles on the beach,' he said, adding, 'Many of them might have been killed by fishing trawlers that are operating illegally in the vicinity'.

Related links

Dorset marine wildlife threatened by millions of plastic pellets
Wildlife -
2007 Dec
Area: Kimmeridge, Dorset, England

December 2007. Volunteers for Dorset Wildlife Trust’s beach clean at Kimmeridge last Sunday were horrified to find a white beach. On closer inspection this turned out not to be snow or Caribbean sand, but millions of tiny plastic pellets called nurdles. Too small to pick up and too numerous to count, these pellets will remain on the beach with potentially lethal consequences. They were almost certainly lost from the Napoli, grounded in Lyme Bay last January.

Nurdles are the basic material from which plastic products are made. Transported in massive containers to factories, they are turned into CDs, drainpipes, food containers and virtually anything plastic. They often end up in the sea, washed down factory drains or, as in this case, lost from container ships. As they float on the surface of all the world’s oceans they attract toxins from the water and are swept onto beaches with each tide.

Habitat at risk for Jackass Flats bighorn herd
The Hub -
14 Dec 2007
K Griffiths

Scientists, wildlife agencies and advocates along with many Ouray County residents and property owners remain alert to the conditions afforded for Ovis canadensis, commonly known as Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep. This is particularly true concerning a 41-acre parcel called Jackass Flats used as a wintering area by the sheep north of Ouray near Lake Lenore and the Bachelor-Syracuse mine.

. . . Studies show that Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep have a low tolerance level for handling stress, expressly stress caused by close proximity to humans and dogs. Human development and recreational use of land around the remaining fragments of bighorn sheep wintering ground such as Jackass Flats pose the risk of alarming the sheep thereby raising their stress level leading to weakened physical conditions, pneumonia and other complications like aborted lambs.

Indian alligators found dead in Chambal River
The Cheers magazine –
13 Dec 2007
Area: Chambal River, Uttar Pradesh, India

In a shocking incident, several Indian alligators (Gharials) have been found dead in the Chambal River in Etawah's Chakar Nagar sub-division of Uttar Pradesh. The main habitat for crocodiles and alligators in India are the Rivers Chambal, Girwa, Rapti and Narayani in the orbit of central and northern India.

. . . "The forest department has conducted a post-mortem on two to three Gharials. The Gharials were recently brought from Lucknow's Kukrail Gharial Rehabilitation Centre, and they might have become victims of some contagious disease or the target of some hunters," claimed Rajeev Chauhan, the Secretary of the Society for the Conservation of Nature.

Photo of Red Tide courtesy of Wikipedia


Avian Diseases - December 2007
Volume 51, Number 4
Table of Contents

Science. 2007 Dec 14 [subscription required]