December 17, 2012

12 Days of WHER and Today's Wildlife Disease News

Twelve Days of the Wildlife Health Event Reporter
Day 5: The Island of Misfit Wildlife Health Observations

Island of Misfit Toys in Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.
For those who do not know that they can use the Wildlife Health Event Reporter (WHER),, to report their sighting of injured, sick or dead wild animals (hard to believe right?), they may try calling their state wildlife agency or a local wildlife rehabilitation center.

But what if the person on the other side of the line cannot help due to extenuating circumstances, such as the animal cannot be contained or is dead? What happens to these observations? They may not fit well into a traditional wildlife surveillance system managed by the center or agency, and therefore may be in danger of being shipped off to the lonely Island of Misfit Wildlife Health Observations!
But these valuable sightings can be rescued if they are entered into WHER! Once in the system, they are joined in merriment with observations made by others and can begin to provide a near-real time view of where wildlife health issues are happening.

WHER can be used to rescue these odd observations because the system only requires very basic data  essential to wildlife surveillance efforts. Information collected about wildlife health events includes:
  • Event date
  • Location
  • Animal species involved
  • Actions taken with the animal(s)
  • Noteworthy environmental observations surrounding the event
  • Contacts made (e.g. to a wildlife state agency or wildlife rehabilitation center)
  • Diagnosis (aka cause of death) if available, can be back-entered for an event

Save the Misfit Observations!

We invite state, federal and all wildlife agencies, rehab centers and any other wildlife organizations to suggest WHER as a destination where citizen callers can enter their important wildlife health observations. You can download a brochure to distribute HERE. Spread the word about WHER and help rescue those valuable, misfit observations.


Bad news for bats: deadly fungus persists in caves

Researchers have found that the organism that causes deadly white-nose syndrome persists in caves long after it has killed the bats in those caves. A study just published in Applied and Environmental Microbiology shows that the fungus can survive in soil for months, even years, after the bats have departed.

This is not good news for the bat population, says lead author Jeff Lorch, a research associate in the Department of Forest and Wildlife Ecology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

"We have found that caves and mines, which remain cool year-round, can serve as reservoirs for the fungus, so bats entering previously infected sites may contract white-nose syndrome from that environment. This represents an important and adverse transmission route."

University of Wisconsin-Madison News -
14 Dec 2012
D Tenenbaum

More White-Nose Syndrome News

Scientists Develop Novel Method to Study Parasite Numbers in Wild Seabirds

Scientists have developed a new method for studying parasite numbers in the stomachs of individual seabirds in the wild. The technique enables the recording of video footage of worms inside seabird stomachs and is an important step forward in understanding the impact of parasites on seabird populations.

...The research team trialled the use of endoscopy, often used in human and veterinary medicine but rarely in field situations, to measure natural parasite loads, or burdens, of European shags, a member of the cormorant family. The new study is part of ongoing work into how different factors such as gut parasites might affect the breeding success or survival of seabirds.

Science Daily -
13 Dec 2012

Journal Article Cited
S Burthe et al. Endoscopy as a novel method for assessing endoparasite burdens in free-ranging European shags (Phalacrocorax aristotelis). Methods in Ecology and Evolution, 2012; DOI: 10.1111/2041-210x.12015


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