January 28, 2008

Knowsley Safari Park to fight 'Frog Aids'
Liverpool Daily Post - www.liverpooldailypost.co.uk
28 Jan 2008
R Down
Area: England United Kingdom

Knowsley Safari Park is at the forefront of a battle against a disease – dubbed Frog Aids – that is threatening to wipe out up to half of all amphibian species. Experts believe that, after thriving for 350m years, frogs, toads and other amphibians could die out in the single largest mass extinction since the disappearance of the dinosaurs. Campaigners Amphibian Ark have designated 2008 as the Year of the Frog, and recruited Sir David Attenborough as their patron to raise awareness of the current threat.

. . . “Frogs and toads are extraordinary animals but without immediate conservation action hundreds of species could die out within the next few years.” The urgent problem facing frogs and toads is Chytrid Fungus, a disease that is deadly to amphibians which has been spreading from Africa over the past 50 years. In the wild, Chytrid fungus is unstoppable and untreatable. In the environments where it thrives, it can kill 80% of amphibians within months, which has already resulted in widespread extinctions. Amphibians are also facing habitat loss, climate change, pollution and pesticides, as well as over-collection for use as food or pets.

World's Coral Reefs Face Renewed Threats
National Public Radio - www.npr.org
27 Jan 2008
J Nielsen

Weekend Edition - Researchers gathered in Washington this week to launch "The Year of the Coral Reef." That work has taken on renewed importance in the wake of two new studies showing that reefs are facing more threats than ever.

Raising the BAR on research
Mercury - www.news.com.zu
28 Jan 2008
M Naidoo
Area: Tasmania Australia

T-BAR, or Transmitting -- Base and Receiver, is a new system that marks a new phase in devil disease monitoring, research and development. Developer Jeff La Valette, of Westerway in the upper Derwent Valley, described it as a long-range video telemetry for wildlife monitoring in remote areas. "Upon motion capture, it sends via radio signal the live video feed down to my property," he said. "A PC there captures the video feed, extracts still images and automatically dials in and uploads the feed by email.

"The camera traps have already collected vision which allows a whole new dimension on data collected for scientific teams." He said the remote infra-red technology prevented disruption to creatures' habitats and achieved better results than people in the field. "Experts can monitor the camera traps full-time without being in the field," he said. "It will free time for jobs like live trapping, which also will be made easier."

Officials point to wild ducks as cause of bird flu in Zonguldak
Today's Zaman - www.todayszaman.com
28 Jan 2008
Area: Zonguldak Turkey

The governor of the northern province of Zonguldak has stated that several chickens in a village in the province were contaminated with a deadly strain of bird flu after they consumed a dead wild duck. In a press conference held on Wednesday, Zonguldak Governor Yavuz Erkmen said the necessary measures had been taken to contain a potential pandemic, and pointed to wild ducks as the source of the disease. "After a series of analyses, we found out that the disease broke out after a family ate a wild duck and gave the leftovers to their chickens. The H5N1 virus in the duck, which spread among the chickens, is the cause of the bird flu case in our province," he said.

Officials from the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs stated on Monday that several dead chickens found in Zonguldak's Saz village during a routine inspection conducted on Jan. 19 tested positive for the bird flu virus. The village was immediately put under quarantine, and teams from the local government started culling poultry in the village. "Some 600 chickens, ducks and turkeys have been culled so far. Members of the family who consumed the wild duck in question are currently receiving medical care. Everything is under control; thus, there is nothing to fear," stated Erkmen.

Related News

Largest cache of poisoned bait discovery fuels birds of prey concerns
The Scotsman - news.scotsman.com
28 Jan 2008
R Fairburn and A McWhirter
Area: Scotland United Kingdom

The largest-ever cluster of poisoned bait for the killing of birds of prey has been found in the Borders. Six buzzards were among the birds killed after 25 carcases of rabbits and hares were laced with the banned substance carbofuran. The carcases were found within one square mile of countryside near Greenlaw, Berwickshire on five occasions between March and September last year. Police were first alerted by a member of the public in March last year. However, it is understood that progress on the investigation has been slow because the baits were found over a number of bordering private estates.

. . . Two crows and a magpie were also found to have been poisoned after eating the bait. Doreen Graham, a spokeswoman for the Scottish Society for the Protection of Animals, said: "Twenty-five poisoned baits were found, but how many other baits have killed? (As] wildlife frequently hides away to die, there are possibly many other victims that have never been found. "Carbofuran is an illegal substance and we believe the only people who still have access to quantities of the substance are well aware that they are breaking the law. The Scottish Borders is rich in wildlife, but how many more golden eagles, red kites or – because poison is indiscriminate – family pets, have to die?"

New studies of turbines' impact in the wind
Journal Star - www.pjstar.com
27 Jan 2008
M Buedel
Area: Illinois United States

Some say counting carcasses isn't enough. That's why Illinois is changing the way it wants studies of wildlife around wind farms to be performed as more of the clean energy installations are planned around the state. Previous research has been based almost entirely on mortality counts, the process by which bird and bat carcasses are scooped up early in the morning within a several hundred foot radius of wind turbine bases. But studies now are aiming to determine a more long-range impact on avian and terrestrial creatures by examining how animals react to the sudden presence of a vertical structure soaring as high as 450 feet into the sky.

The shift in practice comes as other mortality studies are under way in the area, but only a few have been completed in the state. One investigation of 33 turbines at the Crescent Ridge project in Bureau County found an insignificant number of kills, results similar to most other studies performed around the country. But data provided by such studies is limited in its applications, according to a state agency that relies on the reports to gauge the effects on wildlife. And the Illinois Department of Natural Resources is working to coordinate more comprehensive environmental examinations of wind projects currently in various stages of development.



Global Avian Influenza Network for Surveillance (GAINS) - An International System Monitoring Wild Birds for Avian Influenza [free full-text available]
WDIN Newsletter: Vol. 03, Issue 01
24 January 2008

USGS - GeoHealth Newsletter - January 2008 [free full-text available]
Vol. 5, No. 2

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