June 24, 2013

Avian salmonella outbreak killing birds and more wildlife disease news stories


Biologists worried by starving migratory birds, seen as tied to climate change

At the Maine Coastal Islands National Wildlife Refuge, the tiny bodies of Arctic tern chicks have piled up. Over the past few years, biologists have counted thousands that starved to death because the herring their parents feed them have vanished.

Puffins are also having trouble feeding their chicks, which weigh less than previous broods. When the parents leave the chicks to fend for themselves, the young birds are failing to find food, and hundreds are washing up dead on the Atlantic coast.

What’s happening to migratory seabirds? Biologists are worried about a twofold problem: Commercial fishing is reducing their food source, and climate change is causing fish to seek colder waters, according to a bulletin released Tuesday by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

“We’ve seen a 40 percent decline of Arctic terns in the last 10 years,” said Linda Welch, a Fish and Wildlife Service biologist at the refuge. Arctic tern pairs in Maine have fallen from 4,224 pairs in 2008 to 2,467 pairs last year, the Fish and Wildlife Service said.

The Washington Post
19 Jun 2013
D Fears

'Roadkill map': Cardiff scientists ask public to report animal bodies

Click to view larger image.
Wildlife lovers are being asked to help cut the amount of roadkill in the UK by reporting any animal body they find. Scientists at Cardiff University say they want to build up a map of "roadkill hotspots" in the hope it can cut wildlife casualties on the road.

The project, called Operation Splatter, is asking the public to sign up as "splatter spotters" and send their findings via social media. The team have already studied hundreds of otter carcasses found as roadkill.

...Visitors to the event were told that the research had found a number of disease-causing parasites in bodies of dead otters. The infection Toxoplasma gondii, which is spread in cat faeces, was identified in 39.5% of the otter carcasses examined.

BBC News
15 Jun 2013

Chronic Wasting Disease In May Be Impossible To Eliminate In Alberta, Saskatchewan Deer, Elk

Experts say it may not be possible to eliminate chronic wasting disease in deer and elk in Canada. The fatal infectious disease is so well established in Saskatchewan and Alberta that the federal government and some provinces are rethinking how to deal with what is commonly known as CWD.

In 2005, Ottawa announced a national strategy to control chronic wasting disease in the hope of finding ways to eradicate it. Now the emphasis is shifting to preventing CWD from spreading, especially in the wild.

"We have to realize that we may not be able to eradicate this disease currently from Canada, given that we don't have any effective tools, so we may be looking at switching from eradication to control," said Penny Greenwood, national manager of domestic disease control for the Canadian Food Inspection Agency.

The agency says it is working with the provinces and the game-ranching industry to come up with a better plan, perhaps by next spring.

Huffpost Alberta (Source The Canadian Press]
16 Jun 2013
J Cotter
Location: Canada

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