Bobcat attacks woman in Florida; Coyote reports from California (2), District of Columbia, Michigan, and Pennsylvania; and Rabies reports from Texas (2), and West Virginia. Canada: Coyote report from Ontario. Travel Warnings for Amazonas, Brazil, and Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.

Rare shot of Florida bobcat. Photo by Craig O'Neal. Wikipedia Commons.

Florida 03/05/11 14wfie.com: West Palm Beach – The search continues for a bobcat that attacked a Florida woman this week.  A man on Friday spotted an animal, believed to be the same bobcat that bit the woman in the leg.  The woman was attacked at her home on Thursday, and her husband came to the rescue.  “It came from the neighbor, jumped his fence, came across the road, bit my wife by the mailbox, jumped my fence, came under here, got my puppy, came in my garage, and attacked my puppy again. I hit it with a four-by-four, and then a broom,” Rick Arnold said.  The victim got a series of rabies shots at a hospital, and is now back at home.  A wildlife trapper believes they will catch the bobcat this weekend.

California 03/05/11 santamonicadispatch.com: by Peggy Clifford – Coyotes have been crossing over through the Brentwood Country Club and coming through our apartments on Montana between Harvard and Yale on a daily basis now. This past week on Stanford, two were seen roaming through yards as well as on Washington & Princeton.  They are focusing on where the small dogs are. This occurs between 5am-7am and 8pm-11pm from what I have witnessed and what my fellow neighbors have expressed the last week. I have never seen them be so bold and obvious about their intention to kill small dogs.

California 03/03/11 dailypilot.com: by Joseph Cerna – Animal Control is going to set up coyote traps along the city’s trails and walkways as the animals continue to aggressively roam city neighborhoods and attack family pets.  The city has hired Urban Wildlife Professionals to set up snares on the north and west sides of the cities, where most of the coyote sightings have been, police officials said.  Traps will be in place March 7-11 and March 14-18. The snares are designed to not harm people or their domesticated pets, according to police.  The latest effort comes more than a month after Animal Control increased patrols near TeWinkle Park and the Mesa del Mar neighborhoods after some a couple of pets were killed there.  Police said coyotes typically search for food at dusk and dawn and prefer easily accessible meals, such as small pets left outside, or their food bowls.

District of Columbia 03/03/11 washingtonpost.com: Sightings of coyotes are becoming increasingly common in parts of the D.C. area and some biologists say the animals are here to stay, according to a report on WAMU.  Since they first appeared around 2004, coyotes have been found in Rock Creek Park in D.C., near Lake Thoreau in Reston and even in Baltimore. The animals are not native to the Mid-Atlantic, but they have been able to thrive here because we have eliminated their top predators, according to a Wildlife Society official quoted in the story.  If the idea of coyotes roaming our area makes you a bit apprehensive, you may want to skip this next part: The local breed is known as the eastern coyote, which is about 50 pounds larger than the western coyote, according to the report.  What’s more the animals will eat anything from garbage to small pets. In 2004, a coyote attacked two small dogs as a woman walked them near the Falls Church Metro station. The Wildlife Society official said the coyotes could even attack children.  “We need to instill that fear back in them, we need to be big and bad, and make a lot of noise…Wave your arms around, scream,” the Wildlife Society official told WAMU.  On the plus side, coyotes can keep down the rat and deer population, the official said.

Michigan 03/03/11 dailytribune.com: by Shaun Byron – Rochester Hills – Harper West enjoys jogging in the parks, but a concern about a critter with a wily reputation.  West, a Rochester Hills resident, took her concerns of coyotes living in the area to Monday’s City Council meeting, reminding people to watch their small dogs.  There have been incidents involving coyotes and pets, but there have been no reports of anyone being attacked or followed, according to the Oakland County Sheriff’s Office.  While coyotes are the largest predator known to inhabit the area, the critters don’t pose a serious threat to people, according to Lance DeVoe, naturalist for Rochester Hills.  “They are not interested in people,” DeVoe said. “We are too big for them as a food source. They are not as large as most people think.”  Coyotes are comparative to a medium-sized dog. An adult male can be 44 to 52 inches in length and weight about 25 to 42 pounds.  It’s difficult to know what the population of coyotes in the area is because the animals have such a large home range, he added.  “They cover a lot of ground,” DeVoe said. “They are virtually in every neighborhood and green space.  “It’s not something new or unusual with so much of the city being developed you are more likely going to see one.”  Coyotes are predominately small rodent eaters, living off mice, rabbits and squirrels. They have also been known to eat the carcasses of deer slain on the road and dig through garbage.      (For complete article go to  http://www.dailytribune.com/articles/2011/03/03/news/doc4d6fa2c6411ea442537479.txt )

Pennsylvania 03/04/11 readingeagle.com: by Dan Kelly – Reading – City police and the Animal Rescue League of Berks County snared a coyote that had wandered into the city in search of prey and ended up trapped behind a storefront gate, officials said Thursday.  Harry D. Brown III, league executive director, and Susan Stiely, a league kennel technician, caught the coyote and removed it.  Brown said a 1-year-old male coyote, weighing about 30 pounds, was caught behind a security gate on a closed storefront in the 1000 block of Court Street. Brown said a passer-by saw the trapped animal and called police.  Brown said there are probably many small, nocturnal predators in city park at night.  “If people see one they would probably think it was a small dog,” he said. “This coyote had probably chased a rabbit or cat out of the park and down Court Street.  Because there are few, if any, streetlights in that area, Brown said, the coyote probably saw it as an extension of the park until it was too late.  Whatever the coyote was chasing was probably small enough that it got in and out of the security gate. The coyote got inside the gate but couldn’t get out, Brown said.  Brown used a pole-snare to catch the coyote, which was uninjured and healthy. It was placed in a kennel in the back of a van and released back into the wild.  Brown declined to say where the animal was released.

Texas 03/04/11 wfaa.com: by Steve Stoler – Parts of Denton are being invaded by skunks.  Several long-time homeowners who live on the city’s west side say they’ve never seen so many of them. Denton, Dallas, Tarrant, Ellis, Kaufman and Collin counties are all in what the Texas Department of State Health Services has coined “hot rabies pockets.”  Anyone who drives down Mahill Road will likely see skunk after skunk that met their fate after being hit by cars. In one spot, WFAA spotted four. A few miles away on McKinney Street, it was the same story with more dead skunks.   “I came out on my back porch one night and the aroma was somewhat overpowering,” said Merlin Hoff, who lives on Mahill.   Hoff said he fears getting sprayed or bitten.  “I don’t want to do the rabies thing,” he said. “That’s rather uncomfortable from what I understand. I don’t want to mess with that.”  Edna Carter’s dog had a close call with a skunk.  “He didn’t spray her or nothing, and he didn’t bite her,” she said. “He was just milling around.”   She said in her 53 years living on Mahill Road, she has seen a lot of skunks, but never this many.   “There have been places around where stuff has been dug up underneath the foundation,” Carter said.  Denton Animal Services officers compare the plight of the skunks to coyotes. When humans come in to develop, the skunks’ natural habitat is often destroyed.  “We’re forcing them out of their homes and they’ve got nowhere to go,” said Ryan Grelle, of the Denton Police Department.  Denton police, who oversee animal control, say families can stay safe by following three simple rules: 

  • Don’t handle any wildlife, regardless of whether it appears healthy or sick. 
  • Teach your kids to never touch wildlife.
  • Vaccinate your pets to protect them against rabies. 

“Leave them alone,” Grelle said. “It sounds crazy, but that’s the simplest thing to do.”

Texas 03/04/11 kvue.com: There is a warning for people in Burnet. Tests confirm that a skunk caught on Tuesday was infected with rabies.  An Animal Control officer trapped the animal in the Northwest part of the city after a report that it was acting strangely.  According to the Department of State Health services, March and April are typically the busiest months for finding rabid skunks.  Any person who comes in contact with a rabid animal should wash any wounds immediately and see a doctor.  The rabies virus can affect the brain and nervous system. A doctor will determine whether you need to receive rabies vaccinations.

West Virginia 03/04/11 newstribune.info: A case of rabies has been confirmed in a raccoon discovered in the Pine Swamp area of Keyser, according to the Mineral County Health Department.  The raccoon was submitted for testing and came back positive for rabies.  The health department is urging residents of the Pine Swamp area to be cautious and stay away from any animals acting strangely or aggressively.  For further information, call the Mineral County Health Department at 304-788-1321.

Canada:

Ontario 03/05/11 by Jonathon Jackson – It seems the province has finally realized there’s a coyote problem in rural Ontario.  Duncan McKinlay – the Deputy Mayor of the Blue Mountains – met with Agriculture Minister Carol Mitchell and Natural Resources Minister Linda Jeffrey at the Good Roads conference this week.  They talked about the issue of coyotes, which are growing rapidly in population and which are becoming increasingly aggressive.  McKinlay says both ministers indicated to him that they recognize the problem and they’re willing to look at solutions.  A basic solution is a new remuneration program, which McKinlay says municipal officials will be interested to see.  But McKinlay says Mitchell in particular challenged him and other lower-tier politicians to come up with ideas that can be considered by the agriculture and natural resources ministries.  McKinlay is confident local officials in Grey, Bruce, Huron and Simcoe Counties can come up with suggestions that will be of use in dealing with the coyote situation.  In the meantime, the province may be moving ahead with some ideas of its own.  Natural Resources Minister Jeffrey says a contest of some kind might be instituted – but she would not elaborate.

Travel Warning:

Brazil 03/04/11 insidecostarica.com: The Brazilian state of Amazonas is going

Amazonas, Brazil

through its third dengue epidemic, the second-worst in its history.  As of Tuesday, 15,548 cases had been reported, a figure only exceeded by the 19,000 cases registered in 2001.  The State Secretariat of Health (SUSAM) said that the first dengue epidemic took place in 1998, when 13,000 cases were reported, but only dengue type 1.  Dengue type 1 and 2 were seen in 2001, according to the Amazonas state health authorities, who emphasized the risk of the current dengue epidemic due to the presence of all four types of dengue.  Nine deaths had been confirmed as of March 1, all of them from dengue type 1 and 2. Two of the dead were minors and seven were young and adults.  Four other deaths were being investigated to confirm whether dengue was the cause.  The state health authorities said the epidemic had spread to two municipalities: Manaus, the state capital, and Tefe. As of Tuesday, 10,798 cases had been reported in Manaus.  Health authorities said the spread of dengue is escalating, with over 230 cases reported daily.  Ninety-eight percent of dengue patients present classic symptoms such as high fever with headache and aches all over the body and joints.

Saudi Arabia 03/06/11 arabnews.com: by Mariam Nihal – Thirty three cases of dengue fever have been reported in the last three weeks in Jeddah, according to Health Affairs Director Dr. Sami Badawood, adding that more infections were likely in the coming weeks as the cool season comes to an end.  Over a month after the Jan. 26 floods, local residents are combating fears of a malaria epidemic with the alarming rate of mosquitoes that have infested the city as a result of standing water. (For complete article go to  http://arabnews.com/saudiarabia/article302435.ece ).

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