February 12, 2013

1st potential case of deadly bat fungus found on P.E.I. and other wildlife disease news stories


1st potential case of deadly bat fungus found on P.E.I.

A pathologist with the Atlantic Veterinary College says a bat recently found dead in Bonshaw, P.E.I., shows signs of a deadly fungus that has wiped out entire colonies of bats throughout North America.

"I would say that we're probably 99 per cent sure this is going to be the first confirmed case of bat white-nose syndrome on Prince Edward Island," said Dr. Scott McBurney, of the Atlantic Veterinary College (AVC).

..."I'm saddened and I'm depressed, to be perfectly honest with you, because this is the most catastrophic wildlife disease that's affected a wildlife population — at least in my lifetime. It's catastrophic because it's affecting so many species of bats, and because of the level of mortality associated with the infection," McBurney said. "So it's just horrible,"

The fungus has spread through bat populations in New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Ontario and Quebec — in some cases killing entire colonies.

CBC News - www.cbc.ca
09 Feb 2013
Location: Bonshaw, Prince Edward Island, Canada - Map It 

More White-Nose Syndrome News

Shock loss of endangered plovers

The critically endangered New Zealand shore plover population on Waikawa (Portland Island) has been dealt a harsh blow.

Shore plover numbers on the island off Mahia have tumbled to a quarter of what they were, with only 20 birds remaining, says Department of Conservation team leader Helen Jonas. The total world population is only about 200 birds.

“This has a huge impact on the viability of the species,” says Ms Jonas....“We didn’t know what the issue was and unfortunately we still don’t,” Ms Jonas says. “It could have been disease, predation by gulls or hawks, mustelid, rat, cat or even a dog that has come over with a visitor to the island.”

The Gisborne Herald - www.gisborneherlad.co.nz
09 Feb 2013

As moose disappear, Minnesota cancels hunting season

Moose are missing — and the state of Minnesota doesn't want hunters to find them. Minnesota officials banned moose hunting indefinitely on Wednesday because of a dramatic drop in the animal's numbers.

The number of moose in the Gopher State has fallen by 52 percent since 2010, for reasons no one can figure out, although the Department of Natural Resources said hunting had nothing to do with it.

It cited a variety of possible explanations, including a tick-borne disease and Minnesota's recent unusually hot summers, which moose don't handle well. "The state's moose population has been in decline for years, but never at the precipitous rate documented this winter," said Tom Landwehr, Minnesota's natural resources commissioner.

...In response, the state last month launched what it's calling the largest and most high-tech moose research effort ever, fitting 92 moose in northeastern parts of the state with satellite tracking and data-collection collars designed to help root out the causes of rising moose mortality.

US News on NBC - usnews.nbcnews.com
06 Feb 2013
MA Johnson
Location: Minnesota, USA

Hantaviruses jump hosts

Four new forms of hantavirus, one of the most virulent pathogens transmitted from animals to humans, has been identified by international research contributed to by the University of Sydney.

The existence of these newly described hantaviruses in bats and other insect-eating carnivores has challenged the conventional view that they originated in rodents. It also suggests there may be additional unrecognised hantaviruses circulating in a wide range of animal hosts, particularly bats, and that the hantaviruses frequently jump hosts.
“This breakthrough in understanding the biodiversity and evolution of hantaviruses could help arm us against the threat of a pandemic,” said Professor Eddie Holmes, an NHMRC Australia Fellow at the University of Sydney, based at the Sydney Emerging Infections and Biosecurity Institute.

Science Alert - www.sciencealert.com.au
08 Feb 2013

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