August 2, 2010


Anthrax-Killed Bison Spotted with Infrared Camera

In the remote wilderness of Canada's Northwest Territories, high-tech infrared cameras and computers are being enlisted by wildlife managers to spot bison carcasses infected with anthrax, a lethal disease caused by a spore-forming bacterium called Bacillus anthracis.

"We're up to 44 dead bison," Troy Ellsworth told Discovery News yesterday.

. . . But finding the dead bison in the first place is crucial to mitigating an outbreak.... Spores can remain viable for years or even decades. And it's thought the bison wallowing in dusty areas (above) where spores exist may be inhaling the deadly disease. Or it's possible that they are ingesting the spores during grazing.

Discovery News -
T Staedter
27 July 2010
Photo courtesy of Discovery News
Location: Northwest Territories, Canada - Map It

More Anthrax News
>>> Anthrax kills 82 hippos, 9 buffalo in Uganda [Queen Elizabeth National Park, Uganda - Map It ]

Workers try to grasp Michigan oil spill toll on wildlife

. . . The toll on wildlife from the spill has been unclear to this point. A muskrat brought to the center Tuesday died, but other animals have survived.

Lisa Williams, a contaminant specialist with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, said Thursday that 17 geese, two swans, one turtle, a belted kingfisher and one muskrat have been recovered.

She said "very few" animals had been found dead.

Detroit Free Press -
E Lawrence
30 July 2010
Photo credit: A Jackson/Detroit Free Press
Location: Marshall, Michigan, USA - Map It

Chemicals turning male fish in Alberta rivers into female fish

Chemicals present in two rivers in southern Alberta are likely the cause of the feminization of fish say researchers at the University of Calgary who have published results of their study in the journal Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry.

“What is unique about our study is the huge geographical area we covered. We found that chemicals – manmade and naturally occurring – that have the potential to harm fish were present along approximately 600 km of river,” says paper co-author Lee Jackson, executive director of Advancing Canadian Wastewater Assets, a research facility that develops and tests new approaches for treating wastewater which will be located at the City of Calgary’s new Pine Creek Wastewater Treatment Centre.

“The situation for native fish will likely get worse as the concentration of organic contaminants will become more concentrated as a response to climate change and the increase in human and animal populations,” adds Jackson.

University of Calgary -
29 July 2010

A Food Chain Crisis in the World's Oceans

It is the starting point for our oceans' food chain. But stocks of phytoplankton have decreased by 40 percent since 1950, potentially as a result of global warming. It is an astonishing collapse, say researchers, and may have dramatic consequences for both the oceans and for humans.

. . . Other experts have also said they were struck by the sheer scale of the development.

"A retreat of 40 percent in 60 years, that is so serious that it is almost unbelievable," says Heinz-Dieter Franke of the Biological Institute Helgoland, part of the Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research. He warned, however, against attributing the decline in phytoplankton solely to temperature increases.

Spiegel International -
M Becker
29 July 2010
Photo credit: K Bruun/Nostoca Algae Laboratory

Journal Article Cited

Photo courtesy of the Bedford Institute of Oceanography