A virus kills thousands of Black Crappies in Wisconsin; California reports a case of human Rabies; Department of Interior says feds are watching Gray Wolf populations; Virginia county to allow hunting Coyotes and Groundhogs with hi-powered rifles; and Rabies reports from South Carolina, and Virginia.

Black Crappie. Courtesy of U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service.

Wisconsin 05/06/11 wausaudailyherald.com: by Jeff Starck – Thousands of black crappies on Lake DuBay and the Stevens Point Flowage are dead of a virus and wildlife officials are trying to figure out why the disease is affecting just one species. Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources biologists and fisheries technicians learned of the fish kill April 25 and determined that the cause appears to be a virus primarily affecting 3-year-old black crappies. “(If it was a widespread problem) other fish would be dying,” DNR fisheries biologist Tom Meronek said. “This is just limited to crappies. We’ve seen cases on other bodies of water (in Wisconsin). This might be a similar virus.” The symptoms are not consistent with viral hemorrhagic septicemia, or VHS, a virus that has sickened or killed large numbers of fish in the Great Lakes, according to the DNR. Wisconsin has mandated in recent years that all water must be drained from boats to prevent the spread of VHS and other viruses and diseases.

Black Crappie

Live fish were taken from both bodies of water for testing, Meronek said. It will be several weeks before the DNR Fish Health Lab in Madison has results. The sickened fish aren’t likely to bite anglers’ hooks, Meronek said. They likely will have lesions or look sick, and he doesn’t advise eating them. In Lake DuBay, the kill has been widespread and has covered many areas of the water with concentrations of dead fish, particularly along Seagull Drive in the town of Knowlton and extending south. In the Stevens Point Flowage, fish were reported dying Sunday. The fish kill there also is widespread and affects crappie in the 3- to 4-year-old range.

Biologists also are trying to determine why some of the fish have a fungus on their dorsal fins. Du Bay Property Owners Association Kevin Coleman was not aware of the fish kill when asked Thursday by a reporter. Coleman said he saw a number of dead fish last weekend during a fishing tournament, but the fish were small and he did not think the fish were crappies. “I didn’t think much of it at the time,” Coleman said. Coleman said he already had plans to meet next week with association board members and plans to discuss the fish kill with them.

California 05/07/11 contracostatimes.com: by Allison Edrington – Local public health officials were informed Friday that a Willow Creek resident has tested positive for rabies and was sent to a Sacramento-area hospital. According to a Humboldt County Department of Health and Human Services, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention reported the infection. Rabies is caused by a virus that is transmitted through the saliva and neural tissue of infected animals, and state and local officials are contacting people who may have been exposed and encouraging people to seek treatment. Further information on the patient was unavailable.

Upper Midwest 05/06/11 missoulian.com: by Rob Chaney – Thursday’s announcement that gray wolves are back under state management in Montana and Idaho also included a warning: The federal government is watching. “We will continue monitoring gray wolves to ensure those populations remain robust,” Deputy Secretary of the Interior David Hayes said during a news conference call. “We will continue to follow the Endangered Species Act in Montana and Idaho.” That was welcome news to the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks. Agency spokesman Ron Aasheim said the department’s wolf management program was closely linked to support from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. “The vast majority of our money has been federal money,” Aasheim said. “That’s paid for management, staff and wolf specialists in the field. We know we have money through September. Now we’re working to secure money for the future.” Between 2000 and 2009, FWP has spent $2.3 million in federal contract dollars for wolf programs. It also paid $110,000 a year to the federal Wildlife Services agency to kill wolves suspected in livestock depredations. And in 2009, the one year it got to offer a public wolf hunt, FWP took in $325,935 in wolf license revenue. All that money went into the agency’s general license fund. The federal government has been responsible for wolf populations since 1974, when the animal was listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act. In 1995 and ’96, FWS transplanted small groups of Canadian wolves in and around Yellowstone National Park. Today, there are roughly 1,700 wolves in Montana, Idaho and Wyoming, plus a few dozen in parts of Washington, Oregon and Utah. (For complete report go to http://missoulian.com/news/state-and-regional/article_c8dc56bc-785b-11e0-8bf1-001cc4c002e0.html )

Virginia 05/06/11 nbc29.com: Louisa County Supervisors are trying to tackle a growing problem affecting farmers there. The coyote population is getting out of control. Coyotes are classified as a nuisance animal by the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries. County supervisors voted this week to allow farmers to use high powered rifles to shoot them down. The unanimous vote to amend the hunting ordinance allows people to use rifles larger than point 22 caliber to shoot coyotes and groundhogs outside the general deer firearms season. Supervisors say it’s in the county’s best interest to control them, but one wildlife expert says coyotes have been a problem for years and will continue to be, despite this law change. Ed Clark, of the Wildlife

Groundhog

Center of Virginia said, “So they’re here. There’s nothing we’re going to be able to do about it. We are not going to get rid of them, so people that fantasize about shooting them all, they’re just pretty well deluding themselves.” According to the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, coyotes pose a threat to sheep and other livestock, as well as to smaller animals including dogs and cats.

South Carolina 05/06/11 counton2.com: by Rebecca Ryan – The Charleston Animal Society confirmed two cases of rabiesthis week.  So far in South Carolina, DHEC reports there have been 28 cases with a third of them in the

Gray fox

Tri-county region. Officials at DHEC say raccoons, fox, skunks, and bats are the most common carriers. Coyotes are also known carriers.

Virginia 05/06/11 wavy.com: A fox found on Western Branch Boulevard in Chesapeake was killed after it tested positive for rabies. A visitor traveling through the area was exposed to the fox and is currently receiving rabies treatment, according to the Chesapeake Health Department. This is the 81st confirmed case of rabies in Chesapeake since 1988 – three cats, two bats, 59 raccoons, and 16 foxes. If you have a wild animal on your property, contact the Virginia Dept. of Game and Inland Fisheries at (804) 829-6580.

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