October 18, 2011

Today's Wildlife Disease News Stories


Wild B.C. salmon test positive for 'lethal' virus linked to fish farms

Wild sockeye salmon from B.C.'s Rivers Inlet have tested positive for a potentially devastating virus that has never been found before in the North Pacific.

Infectious salmon anemia is a flu-like virus affecting Atlantic salmon that spreads very quickly and mutates easily, according to Simon Fraser University fisheries statistician Rick Routledge.

ISA can be fatal to Atlantic salmon, especially those confined in fish farms. Its effect on wild sockeye is unknown.

The virus detected in sockeye smolts by the Atlantic Veterinary College in P.E.I. — Canada's ISA reference lab — is the European strain of ISA, the same virus that devastated fish farms in Chile four years ago.

"It is described as highly contagious and lethal," said Routledge, who had underweight Pacific sockeye sent for testing at the suggestion of B.C. salmon biologist Alexandra Morton.

Of the 48 fish sent for testing, two were found to have the virus.

The Vancouver Sun - www.vancouversun.com
17 Oct 2011
Location: British Columbia, Canada


1000 birds dead from Rena oil slick

The Wildlife Rescue Centre and – in particular – its post mortem tent really drives home just what an effect the oil spill has had on Tauranga wildlife.

As of Sunday afternoon, 1018 deceased birds had been collected from the beaches and brought to be processed at the centre. Work is underway on more pools and enclosures, as those that have survived are rehabilitated in preparation for release.

Wildlife Field Operations Manager Brett Stevenson says survivability is very species dependent. So far 130 little blue penguins have been brought in to the centre alive – 55 of which have been completely cleaned. Just one little blue penguin has died as a result of the oil. Meanwhile, 28 dotterels have been captured as a pre-emptive measure and will be kept at the centre until it is safe to release them, chief vet Brett Gartrell says. Though when that will be, no one is sure.

Of the oiled birds at the centre, the youngest patients are three little blue penguins that are less than a week old. Mum and dad were both found “100 percent covered in oil”, bird rehab manager Bill Smith says. The birds will be hand reared then released into the wild when they’re strong enough to fend for themselves. It’s not known yet just what the long-term effect of the oil spill will be on the birds.

3 News - www.3news.co.nz
16 Oct 2011
A Beswick
Location: Tauranga, New Zealand - Map It


MNR probing the deaths of fish and birds

The Ministry of Natural Resources is trying to figure out why fish and birds have been dying in south Georgian Bay.

The ministry started receive sporadic reports beginning in late August, but cases have increased in frequency and distribution in recent weeks.

The fish die-off includes channel fish, freshwater drum, carp, lake whitefish, and one largemouth drum. Wasaga Beach Provincial Park staff have disposed of about 120 dead sturgeon.

Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources spokesperson John Cooper says fresh samples have been sent to the University of Guelph to test for fish and bird diseases, including the Type E botulism toxin, which Cooper says is quite likely the cause.

"It's a naturally occurring event," said Cooper, adding little is known about the ecology of the bacteria which produces the botulism toxin.

"Something is occurring at the bottom of the lake," said Cooper.

The Barrie Examiner - www.thebarrieexaminer.com
16 Oct 2011
Location: Wasaga Beach, Ontario, Canada


Photo courtesy of The Guardian's Week in Wildlife