January 18, 2008

Ugandan Conservationist Links Human and Wildlife Health
Voice of America - www.voanews.com
17 Jan 2008
P Ssendi
Photo courtesy of Voice of America

In Uganda, a conservationist is teaching members of poor rural communities that they have more in common with the neighboring wildlife than they think. She says, for example, that disease can be transferred between people and animals. And she says well-kept wildlife sanctuaries can provide an income for the community. Voice of America reporter Peterson Ssendi in Kampala profiles veterinarian Gladys Kalema-Zikusoka and the work of her group, “Conservation Through Public Health.”

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Black Abalone Proposed as Endangered Species: Threatened by Overharvesting, Disease and Global Warming [Press Release]
Center for Biological Diversity - www.biologicaldiversity.org
11 Jan 2008

The federal government today proposed protecting the black abalone as “endangered” under the Endangered Species Act. The action comes in response to a formal administrative petition filed by the Center for Biological Diversity in December 2006 that sought protection of the species.

. . . The primary drivers of the decline of black abalone are commercial fishing, which severely depleted most populations, followed by the outbreak and spread of a disease called withering syndrome, which has devastated remaining populations in the Channel Islands and Southern California and is continuing to spread northward through the remaining range of the species.

While fishing of black abalone is now banned in California, withering syndrome has yet to be controlled and remains a dire threat to the continued existence of the species. Because the disease is more virulent in warm water, as the sea temperatures off California rise in the face of global warming, the deadly symptoms of withering syndrome are likely to spread to currently unaffected abalone in the northern portion of the species’ range.

Avian flu resurfaces in Iran, sparks worries in India
Center for Infectious Disease Research & Policy (CIDRAP) - www.cidrap.umn.edu
17 Jan 2008
Area: India, Iran, United Kingdom

Officials in Iran have confirmed their country's first H5N1 avian influenza outbreak in domestic birds, while authorities in eastern India are working on a massive poultry cull amid worries about possible new H5N1 outbreaks. A report that Iran filed with the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) yesterday says the outbreak occurred in Mazandaran, a northern province that fronts on the Caspian Sea.

. . . Iran's only previous reported outbreak of H5N1 in birds occurred in February 2006 and killed 153 wild swans in Gilan province, which borders Mazandaran on the west, according to OIE records. The country has reported no human cases.

. . . In other developments, United Kingdom officials reported today that the H5N1 virus has been found in another mute swan from the same area where three other swans recently tested positive. The area is a swan sanctuary in Dorset on England's southwest coast. The latest infected bird was collected on Jan 11.

"There is currently no evidence to suggest widespread disease in the wild bird population, but enhanced surveillance is taking place and poultry keepers in the area are reminded to remain vigilant and report any signs of disease immediately," the UK Department of Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) said in a statement about the new case. "There is no evidence of disease in domestic birds."

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