December 21, 2009


DEC Survey Shows Bat Populations Down 90 Percent in Caves Impacted by "White Nose Syndrome"
New York Department of Environmental Conservation -
16 December 2009
Photo credit: N Heaslip

Populations of some bat species have plummeted more than 90 percent in Northeast caves impacted by "White Nose Syndrome," according to an extensive investigation by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), Commissioner Pete Grannis announced today.

Surveying 23 caves at the epicenter of the bat die-off in early 2009, researchers found an alarming decline - 91 percent on average -- in the number of hibernating bats. The study included 18 caves in eastern New York, four in western Massachusetts and one in Vermont.

"These steep declines are alarming and disheartening," Commissioner Grannis said. "Researchers from around the country are focusing on the bat die-off and DEC will continue to work with a wide range of partners to try to get to the heart of the problem."

More Bat News

Mammals May Be Nearly Half Way Toward Mass Extinction
Science Daily -
18 December 2009
Photo credit: iStockphoto

If the planet is headed for another mass extinction like the previous five, each of which wiped out more than 75 percent of all species on the planet, then North American mammals are one-fifth to one-half the way there, according to a University of California, Berkeley, and Pennsylvania State University analysis.

Many scientists warn that the perfect storm of global warming and environmental degradation -- both the result of human activity is leading to a sixth mass extinction equal to the "Big Five" that have occurred over the past 450 million years, the last of which killed off the dinosaurs 68 million years ago.

Cited Journal Article

Other Species Decline News

Tackling a tiny terror of the sea
The Irish Times -
17 December 2009
C O'Connell
Photo credit: Getty Images, E Cunningham, P Rojas/UCD

A UCD team has had some promising results in the search for a vaccine against sea louse, a parasite that has plagued Irish salmon farms and is threatening wild stocks

The animal glowing blue in the picture ... might look pretty, yet its effects are anything but. It’s a sea louse that attaches to salmon and causes damage to skin and scales, along with a general decline in the fish’s health.

The not-so-pretty parasite is a major problem for fish farmers and could potentially spread to wild populations, which is why researchers at University College Dublin are looking for an effective vaccine to help fish fend off the unwelcome hitchhikers.

Beaches may be reservoirs of E.coli
United Press International, Inc. -
17 December 2009
Photo credit: I Mohamad/UPI

Beaches may be a reservoir of the pathogen E.coli as a result of migratory bird droppings, researchers in France and Portugal say.

Scientists at the Hopital de Bicetre in Paris and Universidade do Porto in Portugal said E.coli can be very resistant to antibiotic drugs, which makes the infection hard to treat.

The researchers found the same bacteria in the bird droppings as hospitalized people and concluded that people were getting infected by bird droppings on the sand on the beaches in Portugal.

Journal Article Cited

Other Zoonotic News
>>> USUTU VIRUS - ITALY [Cited Journal Article; Emilia Romagna Region, Italy - Map It ]


  1. Federal Court Rules Massive Wind Energy Project in Violation of Endangered Species Act [bats]
  2. Gray wolf population declining in Yellowstone
  3. New York monkey meat smuggling case ends with probation
  4. Species on climate change hit list named [press release]
  5. They discovered chytrid fungus in frogs from Panama [translated by Google]
  1. Update on White-Nose Syndrome - NWHC Wildlife Health Bulletin [free full-text pdf available]
  2. Evolution of a transdisciplinary “One Medicine–One Health” approach to global health education at the University of California, Davis
  3. Lead Poisoning in Wild Birds - NWHC Fact Sheet [free full-text pdf available]

Photo credit: STR/EPA

Climate Change News

It Ain't All Bad News

Huh, That's Interesting!