May 10, 2010


Gulf oil spill: How can wildlife survive?

Think about the oil or gas you put in your car. Now imagine dumping it in your swimming pool and jumping in.

For sea creatures, including sea turtles, manatees and whales, being covered in oil is as bad as it would be for us: When oil gets on their skin it sticks, when it gets in their lungs it burns and when they ingest it, it hurts their insides.

When sea turtles get oiled, the oil turns into a thick, sticky tar that covers the animal’s limbs, head and shell, said Ryan Butts, director of the Turtle Hospital on Key West.

Naples Daily News -
06 May 2010
K Bishop
Photo credit: A Brandon/AP

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Cumbria's red squirrels hit by new pox outbreak

A new outbreak of a deadly pox virus is threatening the county’s dwindling red squirrel population.

Flakebridge and Lowther Caravan Park, near Shap, are among 12 places where the virus has been confirmed in Cumbria so far in 2010.

“It does seem pretty bad this year,” said Simon O’Hare, conservation officer with Cumbria Wildlife Trust project Save Our Squirrels. “Over the last few years there’s been a steady stream of cases but there’s been a lot of them recently.

The Westmorland Gazette -
06 May 2010
Photo credit: S McNeil
Location: Cumbria, England - Map It

Study suggests fish virus spread by fish, not boats

Ships may not have recently introduced a deadly virus that has killed large numbers of fish in several Great Lakes since 2005 as previously thought, reports a new Cornell study, but the virus may have been present for decades.

Its new finding is that "viral hemorrhagic septicemia virus (VHSV) could be in a lake without killing fish," said Mark Bain, associate professor of natural resources and lead author of a paper published online in the journal Public Library of Science One (Vol. 5: 4).

"Healthy fish can carry this disease at low levels," said Bain. "That means the eruption of fish kills from VHSV does not signal its arrival." -
06 May 2010
K Ramanujan
Photo credit: Mohd Zafri Hassa

Deadly Bat Disease Crosses Mississippi; Group Implores States to Take Preventive Action

In response to recent news that the bat-killing disease known as white-nose syndrome has spread west of the Mississippi River, the Center for Biological Diversity is calling on state wildlife agencies throughout the country, including those in the Rocky Mountain states, in the Southwest, and on the West Coast, to become more proactive in addressing the syndrome’s possible appearance.

In particular, the Center wants states to take steps to minimize the chances of human-caused disease transmission by closing state-owned bat caves, educating the public about the ecological importance of bats, and informing and supporting private landowners who wish to protect bats.

The Center is also urging state wildlife agencies to create white-nose response plans in advance of the disease showing up.

Center for Biological Diversity -
06 May 2010
Image courtesy of Center for Biological Diversity

More Bat News

Heavy rainfall likely cause of dolphin deaths

Dangerous levels of deadly contaminants found in Swan River dolphins were not the primary cause of their deaths, according to WA's chief scientist. In delivering her long-awaited report into last year’s death of six dolphins, Professor Lyn Beazley today said the health of the Swan River was a "matter of concern".

Three of the dolphins, including one that was found dead in 2007, were believed to have died from ulcerative skin lesions, caused by a virus known as tattoo skin disease.

. . . Professor Beazley said the dolphins "appeared" to have died when fresh water flowed into the river after rain. She said exposure to freshwater also contributed to two recent dolphin deaths in the Port River in Adelaide.

The West Australian -
07 May 2010
M Bennett
Photo courtesy of The West Australian


New Stories
  1. Animal Instincts: Animal-based diseases account for 75 percent of newly emerging infectious diseases
  2. In the Spotlight - The FAO EMPRES Wildlife Unit
  3. One-Third of All Honeybees Died Last Winter, and That's Not Even The Worst News
  4. Fungus associated with White-nose Syndrome detected in Delaware bats
  5. Volcanic ash drives gyrfalcon falcon to Western Isles
  6. Many endangered turtles dying on Texas Gulf Coast
  7. The bivalve effect
  8. Risk of Lyme Is Moving Into Southern Quebec; Increased Tick Habitat May Reflect a Warming Climate
  9. Biologist sees mammal hybrids as Arctic warms
  10. Researcher Explores Role of Human Behavior in Infectious Disease Emergence

  1. Concentrations of Heavy Metals in American Woodcock Harvested in Connecticut
  2. Ecological processes can synchronize marine population dynamics over continental scales
  3. Experimental infection of Crested Caracara (Caracara plancus) with Toxoplasma gondii simulating natural conditions

Photo courtesy of M Ralston/AFP/Getty Images

Wildlife Affected by Farming

Huh, That's Interesting!