May 26, 2010


Over 300 dead birds are likely Gulf spill victims

The 316 dead birds collected along the shores of Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida -- plus 10 others that died or were euthanized at wildlife rehabilitation centers after they were captured alive, far outnumber the 31 surviving birds found oiled to date.

The raw tally of birds listed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service as dead on arrival at wildlife collection facilities include specimens obviously tainted with oil and some with no visible signs of oil contamination. But all are being counted as potential casualties of the oil gushing since April 20 from a ruptured wellhead on the floor of the Gulf because of their proximity in time and space to the spill, said Jay Holcomb, who directs a rescue center for birds in Fort Jackson, Louisiana.

The same is true of nearly 200 sea turtles found dead and dying along the Gulf Coast, and 19 dead dolphins verified in the region since the oil drilling blowout on April 20.

Reuters -
24 May 2010
edited by P Fletcher and S Maler
Photo credit: L Celano/Reuters

Queen's researchers reveal parasitic threat to animals and the environment

Researchers at Queen's University Belfast have discovered animal populations may often be under a much larger threat from parasites than previously recognised.

It is widely believed that the absence of parasites in species which 'invade' ecosystems gives these 'invaders' an advantage in their new homes (the 'enemy release hypothesis').

But now, researchers from Queen's have discovered quite the opposite, with the presence of parasites in these invasive species actually increasing the damage they can do.

EurekAlert! -
25 May 2010

Journal Article Cited

Geomyces destructans detected in Oklahoma Cave Myotis and Listed Missouri Gray Bats

The U. S. Geological Survey’s National Wildlife Health Center (NWHC) has detected the fungus, Geomyces destructans, by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) in samples taken from a cave myotis (Myotis velifer) bat collected in northwest Oklahoma, and gray bats (Myotis grisescens) submitted from southeastern Missouri.

The fungus is the probable causative agent for white-nose syndrome (WNS), which frequently results in the deaths of infected bats.

Research is ongoing to determine whether all bats that come into contact with the fungus will develop the disease.

National Wildlife Health Center -
25 May 2010

Related News

Reported Wildlife Mortality Events to the USGS National Wildlife Health Center Updated

USGS and a network of partners across the country work on documenting wildlife mortality events in order to provide timely and accurate information on locations, species and causes of death. This information was updated on May 21, 2010 on the USGS National Wildlife Health Center web page, New and Ongoing Wildlife Mortality Events Nationwide. Quarterly Mortality Reports are also available from this page. These reports go back to 1995.

USGS National Wildlife Health Center
25 May 2010
Area: United States

>>>Updated Wildlife Mortality Event Table

Photo credit: K Gowlett-Holmes

It Ain't All Bad News


Browse complete Digest publication library here.

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Hypothesis: global warming will bring new fungal diseases for mammals
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How specialists can be generalists: resolving the "parasite paradox" and implications for emerging infectious disease [free full-text avaialble][pdf]
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Geographical spread of highly pathogenic avian influenza virus H5N1 during the 2006 outbreak in Austria
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