June 16, 2011


Fish-killing virus found again in Michigan lake

A fish-killing virus has been detected again in a lake near the mid-Michigan community of Harrison.

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources today announced that viral hemorrhagic septicemia, or VHS, has been confirmed in Budd Lake.

The 175-acre lake in Clare County experienced a die-off of largemouth and smallmouth bass, bluegills, and pumpkinseed sunfish in April and May. Test results indicate that largemouth and smallmouth bass were positive for VHS. Other results were pending.

Detroit Free Press - www.freep.com
14 June 2011
Location: Budd Lake, Michigan, USA - Map It


Michigan bats show no signs of white-nose syndrome

A recent statewide survey of 24 known bat wintering sites in Michigan showed no sign of White Nose Syndrome (WNS), a disease caused by a fungus that kills bats by damaging their skin and causing them to burn up energy reserves prematurely during hibernation.

The Department of Natural Resources, in conjunction with Dr. Allen Kurta and Steve Smith of Eastern Michigan University, conducted extensive surveillance this winter of major sites across the northern Lower and Upper Peninsula where bats are known to hibernate.

“Our targeted efforts focused on areas where WNS may show up first — our major winter hibernation colonies — while helping us to identify new populations and critical habitat,” said Bill Scullon, DNR wildlife biologist. “We’re very pleased to have found no signs of WNS this season. Unfortunately, it may only be a matter of time until we do find it.”

Ammoland - www.ammoland.com
15 June 2011


Other White-nose Syndrome News
State Park caves still closed due to bat disease

Australia's beloved koalas under threat

There is no shortage of postcards featuring lovable koalas in Australia, but it is much more unusual to catch sight of the marsupials in the wild. The situation could deteriorate further, say scientists. The number of koalas – a symbol of Australia – is falling. A senate committee is due to report on whether they should be treated as an endangered species.

Studies suggest there are 50,000 to 100,000 koalas left. "In fact, it is hard to say with any certainty, the funds not being available to carry out extensive research," says Alistair Melzer, an ecologist at Central Queensland University. On the Gold Coast the population is thought to have fallen by 80% in 20 years.

Several factors are to blame, above all the loss of habitat due to urban development and farming. The koala needs large areas of eucalyptus forest for food and shelter. Only certain tree species suit its needs, growing on good-quality soil. "Unfortunately the best places for the koala are also best for humans, namely fertile land," Melzer explains. When their habitat shrinks and they are forced to live close to towns, koalas often get knocked over by cars or attacked by dogs.

Koalas also suffer from heatwaves and drought, which are likely to become more frequent with climate change. They do not like high temperatures and need the moisture of dense foliage. "If the climate changes these animals don't migrate, so population groups won't move south, where it's cooler. They'll die," Melzer warns.

The Guardian - www.guardian.co.uk
14 June 2011
M Le Moël


Household chemicals could be harming Fraser River's sockeye salmon: inquiry

Fraser River sockeye could be getting sick or even dying because of a daily cocktail of household chemicals entering the watershed, a judicial inquiry has heard.

Aquatic toxicology expert Peter Ross testified Tuesday that many of the 23,000 everyday chemicals listed on the federal government's domestic-substances list may not immediately kill fish but could predispose them to future health problems.

"They might reduce their growth, confuse them, affect their ability to smell, to find their home stream, reduce their immune system, make them vulnerable to disease, outbreaks of disease, or affect their energetics, in other words, their ability to feed and grow," Ross said.

He said the true impact of contaminants may become apparent only when salmon get viruses, encounter food-supply shortages, experience climate change or if their habitat is destroyed.

As a result, researchers should be studying how contaminants are affecting salmon in the "real world," Ross said. But he noted that's currently not happening.

The Canadian Press - www.canadianpress.com
13 June 2011
K Drews


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