March 29, 2010


Athlete’s foot therapy tapped to treat bat-killing fungus

Over the past four years, a mysterious white-nose fungus has struck hibernating North American bats.

Populations in affected caves and mines can experience death rates of more than 80 percent over a winter.

In desperation, an informal interagency task force of scientists from state and federal agencies has just launched an experimental program to fight the plague. Their weapon: a drug ordinarily used to treat athlete’s foot.

Science News -
22 March 2010
J Raloff
Photo credit: S McCormick

White-Nose Syndrome: New Locations in Canada, Maryland and Tennessee Confirmed

The USGS National Wildlife Health Center (NWHC) has confirmed that samples from bats collected at five new locations, three in Ontario, Canada, one in Maryland and a new site in Tennessee are infected with the fungus Geomyces destructans, the likely cause of white-nose syndrome (WNS).

This is the first time the disease has been documented in Canada and Maryland. Tennessee was only recently added to the list of new states with confirmed cases of WNS in bats (WHB 2010-01), bringing the total number of states that have confirmed WNS to 11.

The Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR) announced the detection of WNS at three Ontario sites March 23 at: Current Status of White Nose Syndrome in Ontario.

USGS National Wildlife Health Center Wildlife Health Bulletin
25 March 2010
Photo courtesy of Orangeville Citizen
Kirkland Lake - Map It
, Bancroft-Minden Map It, and Flesherton Map It, Ontario, Canada

More Bat News

New disease threatens parrots

New Zealand’s endangered parrots could be under further threat from a new genotype of a virulent disease that scientists at the University of Canterbury have recently helped identify.

The scientists are calling for urgent action to protect native parrot populations and are calling on conservation authorities to monitor the incidence of infection.

Dr Arvind Varsani, Dr Melanie Massaro and Dr Brigitta Kurenbach (Biological Sciences) have been working with Massey University PhD candidate Luis Ortiz-Catedral, who has been monitoring and documenting the incidence of beak and feather disease virus (BFDV) in the endangered New Zealand parrot, the red-fronted parakeet.

Science Alert - [source: University of Canterbury]
24 March 2010
Photo courtesy of iStockphoto

Disease may have killed whale

The male of a rarely seen whale species that beached itself on Maui may have died of disease, a marine mammal expert said yesterday.

Lab tests will confirm whether the death was a "natural process," but the results will not be available for some months, said David Schofield, marine mammal response coordinator with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Witnesses reported the whale thrashing about violently at Hamoa Beach near Hana on Monday afternoon. Within 10 minutes, they said, the whale stopped moving, according to Schofield.

Star-Bulletin -
25 March 2010
Photo courtesy of NOAA Fisheries
Location: Hamoa Beach, Maui, Hawaii, USA - Map It


  1. High Arctic Species on Thin Ice
  2. Researchers Turn Mosquitoes Into Flying Vaccinators
  3. The week in wildlife
  4. Mysterious bat-killing illness previously seen in the U.S. now in Ontario
  5. Flat-headed cat of southeast Asia is now endangered
  6. Internet is biggest threat to endangered species, say conservationists
  7. City pollution harms sea turtles
  8. Wolf-born hydatid disease: Fact versus fallacy
  9. Supreme Court Kicks Quickly Spreading Asian Carp Off Its Menu
  10. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service invests $8.9 million in Texas

  1. Pharmaceuticals in the aquatic environment: A critical review of the evidence for health effects in fish
  2. Avian Diseases
  3. The Wildlife Society: Wildlife Professional - March 2010

Photo credit: J Hordle/Rex Features

U.N. Wildlife Summit

Chronic Wasting Disease

Huh, That's Interesting!