April 1, 2010


California Sea Otter numbers down for third year

The fragile California Sea Otter population is in decline for the third straight year, according to a comprehensive year-end report issued by The Otter Project, a Monterey-based organization whose mission is to aid the rapid recovery of the animal.

The report, issued Monday, is based on surveys conducted by the U.S. Geological Survey in coordination with other organizations, including the Monterey Bay Aquarium. It took into consideration otters found onshore, the age of the dead otters, their genders and where in the ocean they were discovered.

Mercury News - www.mercurynews.com (source:Santa Cruz Sentinel)
31 Mar 2010
J John
Photo courtesy of mikebarid at The Otter Project flickr group

2 pilot whales die on south Brevard beach: Third animal apparently survives; increase in beachings puzzles experts

Biologists are researching the cause behind an upswing this year in which 36 whales -- including two on Tuesday -- have beached themselves along the Brevard and Volusia county coastlines.

That's higher than normal, said Wendy Noke-Durden, a research scientist with Hubbs-SeaWorld Research Institute in Orlando.

"We've had a lot of animals," she said. "I'm not sure what the cause of that is or if they're correlated."

...The whales were removed from the beach, in the 6800 block of south State Road A1A in Floridana Beach, and taken to Orlando for necropsies, the equivalent of an autopsy.

Florida Today - www.floridatoday.com
31 Mar 2010
K Summers
Location: Florida, USA [Brevard - Map It and Volusia - Map It ]

>>> FULL ARTICLE [includes video]

How Ducks Host Influenza Unharmed: Could Findings Shield Humans from Bird Flu Viruses?

A University of Alberta-led research team has discovered an influenza detector gene that could potentially prevent the transmission of the virus to humans.

Katharine Magor, a U of A associate professor of biology, has identified the genetic detector that allows ducks to live, unharmed, as the host of influenza. The duck's virus detector gene, called retinoic acid inducible gene -- I, or RIG-I, enables a duck's immune system to contain the virus, which typically spreads from ducks to chickens, where it mutates and can evolve to be a human threat like the H5N1 influenza virus. The first human H5N1 cases were in Hong Kong in 1997. Eighteen people with close contact to chickens became infected and six died.

Science Daily - www.sciencedaily.com 30 Mar 2010 Photo courtesy of Science Daily

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