Remains of ALASKA forester killed by BROWN BEARS found on Chichagof Island ~ CHIPMUNK suffering from BUBONIC PLAGUE found in northern CALIFORNIA ~ Officials kill MOUNTAIN LION in SOUTH DAKOTA city ~ NATIONAL report on WEST NILE VIRUS.

Brown bear eating salmon. Courtesy National Park Service.

Alaska 10/16/12 go.com: by Dan Joling – Human remains found ravaged by one or more brown bears on a southeast Alaska island are likely from a Sitka man overdue on a boating trip, Sitka police said Monday. Police confirmed the death Sunday and said remains found on Chichagof Island were likely that of Tomas Puerta, 54, who left Sitka in a skiff Thursday on his way to a forestry job site near Peril Strait. The death was first reported by KCAW-FM. Sitka is a community of about 9,000 on Baranof Island. Admiralty, Baranof, and Chichagof islands together are known as the “ABC Islands.” They’re sparsely populated with humans but heavily populated with bears that Alaska researchers have found are genetically more closely related to polar bears than to other brown bears. “They have lots of bears, especially up on Chichagof,” said Sitka police Lt. Barry Allen. “We have enough here on Baranof Island, but Chichagof has a scad of them.”

Chichagof Island, Alaska.

Puerta was a tree-thinner, Allen said. He was employed in an area that had been logged to cut young trees so others would have less competition and would grow faster. Puerta had made a grocery run, Allen said, and was returning to the job site with a load of food. The 40- to 50-mile trip on flat, protected water should have taken about two hours Thursday afternoon, Allen said, but Puerta never made it. “It looks like he had engine problems and he wound up on the beach,” Allen said. – For complete article see http://abcnews.go.com/US/wireStory/bear-mauling-victim-found-alaskan-island-17486684#.UH36HlEt7WB

Bubonic Plague:

Uintah chipmunk. Photo by Utah Department of Natural Resources.

California 10/16/12 nbcbayarea.com: by Lori Preuitt – Rodents carrying the plague are the latest worry for campers and hikers in California – now spotted in both the north and south of the state. A chipmunk died from the disease South Lake Tahoe, according to the U.S. Forest Service. The discovery follows a ground squirrel that was diagnosed with the bubonic in Riverside County just last week.  The positive test for the squirrel was the first reported case of the bubonic plague in Southern California in nearly a decade. It reportedly showed no signs of illness. The chipmunk, on the other hand, was found rolled up in a ball, shaking and struggling to breathe when it was discovered near the entrance to the Taylor Creek Visitor Center, according to the U.S. Forest Service. – For complete article see http://www.nbcbayarea.com/news/health/Plague-Worries-Move-to-Lake-Tahoe-174434151.html

Mountain Lion Sightings:

South Dakota 10/16/12 Pennington County: State wildlife professionals killed a mountain lion that was spotted in a tree in a residential area of Rapid City on Monday. – See http://www.mitchellrepublic.com/event/article/id/71311/group/homepage/

West Nile Virus (WNV):

CDC map.

National 10/09/12 cdc.gov: Update – As of October 9, 2012, 48 states have reported West Nile virus infections in people, birds, or mosquitoes. A total of 4,249 cases of West Nile virus disease in people, including 168 deaths, have been reported to CDC. Of these, 2,123 (50%) were classified as neuroinvasive disease (such as meningitis or encephalitis) and 2,126 (50%) were classified as non-neuroinvasive disease. The 4,249 cases reported thus far in 2012 is the highest number of West Nile virus disease cases reported to CDC through the second week in October since 2003. Almost 70 percent of the cases have been reported from eight states (Texas, California, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Dakota, Michigan, Oklahoma, and Illinois) and over a third of all cases have been reported from Texas. – For further details see http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dvbid/westnile/index.htm

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