Yellowstone hiker found Friday was killed by a GRIZZLY BEAR; Canadian child attacked by MOUNTAIN LION in Vancouver Island park; Motion to stop Montana and Idaho WOLF hunts denied; North Dakota reminds hunters of DEER baiting restrictions; Virginia DEER feeding ban effective September 1; Wyoming WOLF hunts could begin next year; WEST NILE VIRUS reports from CA (3), GA, IL, MA (2), NY, OH, & PA; EASTERN EQUINE ENCEPHALITIS reports from MA (2), & NY; and a RABIES report from WV.

Grizzly at Yellowstone. Photo by James Peaco, National Park Service.

Yellowstone National Park 08/29/11 nps.gov: News Release – A 59-year old man has been identified as the hiker found dead on a trail in Yellowstone National Park on Friday. John Wallace was from the community of Chassell, in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. His body was discovered Friday morning by two hikers along the Mary Mountain Trail. The twenty-one mile long trail crosses the center of Yellowstone, connecting the west and east sides of the lower portion of the Grand Loop Road. Wallace was discovered along the trail, about five miles west of the Hayden Valley trailhead, which is off the Grand Loop road between Mud Volcano and Canyon Junction. Wallace was traveling alone, and had pitched a tent in a park campground sometime Wednesday. Rangers discovered signs of grizzly bear activity at the scene Friday afternoon, including bear tracks and scat. Results from an autopsy conducted Sunday afternoon concluded that Wallace died as a result of traumatic injuries from a bear attack. The Mary Mountain Trail, the Cygnet Lakes Trail, and the section of the Hayden Valley west of the Grand Loop Road have been closed to hikers. Park rangers, wildlife biologists, and park managers continue their investigation of the incident. Visitors are advised to stay on designated trails, hike in groups of three or more people, be alert for bears, make noise, carry bear spray, and not to run upon encountering a bear. Hikers and backcountry users are encouraged to check with staff at park visitor centers or backcountry offices for updated information before planning any trips in the central portion of the park.

Canada:

British Columbia 08/30/11 winnipegfreepress.com: by Keven Drews –  A cougar attack that injured an 18-month-old boy in a British Columbia park was stopped after the child’s grandfather and a family friend scared off the animal, which also lunged towards the boy’s four-year-old sister, parks officials said Tuesday. The boy was listed in serious condition in Vancouver’s Children’s Hospital after he was attacked Monday evening in the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve. The attack happened at a popular day-use spot at Kennedy Lake, east of Ucluelet. Bob Hansen, who works for the park and specializes in incidents involving wildlife and people, said the group had packed up for the day and was heading up a trail to their car when the attack occurred. Hansen said the tot, his four-year-old sister, their grandfather and a friend of the family were together when the cougar emerged from the forest. The boy was walking about three metres in front of the group, said Hansen. “From what I understand, they yelled and screamed and the cat dropped the child,” said Hansen. “So it sort of bit the child and ran towards the four-year-old, but didn’t hit the four-year-old.” Hansen said the cougar didn’t leave the area right away, so the adults attempted to scare it off before they returned to their vehicle. Renee Wissink, manager of resource conservation at the park, said the child’s father asked for help at a visitor’s information centre located just minutes away down the highway and an ambulance was called. The boy was eventually transferred to Vancouver. The Kennedy Lake day-use area was closed to the public as wildlife officials searched for the cat. Hansen said two teams of park staff and conservation officers and two teams of hounds were searching for the cougar. (For complete article go to http://www.winnipegfreepress.com/breakingnews/toddler-mauled-by-cougar-in-vancouver-island-park-animal-being-tracked-128682108.html )

Montana 08/25/11 huffingtonpost.com: A federal appeals court on Thursday denied a request by environmental groups to halt wolf hunts that are scheduled to begin next week in Idaho and Montana. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals denied the request by the Alliance for the Wild Rockies and other groups. The groups were seeking to cancel the hunts while the court considers a challenge to congressional action in April that stripped wolves of federal protections in Montana and Idaho, and in parts of Washington, Oregon and Utah. Earlier this month, U.S. District Judge Donald Molloy in Missoula reluctantly upheld a budget rider that was inserted by Rep. Mike Simpson, R-Idaho, and Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont. It marked the first time since the passage of the Endangered Species Act in 1973 that Congress forcibly removed protections from a plant or animal. Molloy ruled that the way Congress went about removing endangered species protections from the Northern Rockies gray wolf undermined the rule of law but did not violate the Constitution.

Meanwhile, the environmental groups argued Congress’ actions were unconstitutional because they violated the principle of separation of powers. “We lost the injunction, we have not lost the case,” Mike Garrity, executive director of the Alliance for the Wild Rockies, said of Thursday’s court ruling. “We will continue to fight to protect the wolves and enforce the separation of powers doctrine in the U.S. Constitution.” Meanwhile, John Horning, executive director for WildEarth Guardians, one of the groups involved in the case, said, “We are discouraged we didn’t win a stay of execution for wolves, but we are cautiously optimistic that we will win our lawsuit to protect wolves from future persecution.” Wolf hunts are scheduled to begin Aug. 30 in Idaho and Sept. 3 in Montana.

Hunters in Montana will be allowed to shoot as many as 220 gray wolves, reducing the predators’ Montana population by about 25 percent to a minimum of 425 wolves. In Idaho, where an estimated 1,000 wolves roam, state wildlife managers have declined to name a target for kills for the seven-month hunting season. They say the state will manage wolves so their population remains above 150 animals and 15 breeding pairs, the point where Idaho could attract federal scrutiny for a possible re-listing under the Endangered Species Act.

North Dakota 08/29/11 jamestownsun.com: Hunters are reminded that hunting over bait remains prohibited on any state owned or managed lands in North Dakota. The North Dakota deer hunting proclamation also notes that hunting deer over bait in unit 3F2 is prohibited because of chronic wasting disease. Baits include grains, minerals, fruits, salt, vegetables, hay or any other natural or manufactured material deer would use as food. It does not apply to the use of scents, food plots or standing crops.

Deer with chronic wasting disease

Virginia 08/25/11 virginia.gov: News Release – Effective September 1, it will be illegal to feed deer statewide in Virginia. The annual prohibition runs through the first Saturday in January. In addition, it is now illegal to feed deer year-round in Clarke, Frederick, Shenandoah, and Warren counties and in the city of Winchester as part of the Department’s chronic wasting disease (CWD) management actions established in April 2010. This regulation does not restrict the planting of crops such as corn and soybeans, wildlife food plots, and backyard or schoolyard habitats. It is intended to curb the artificial feeding of deer that leads to negative consequences. Problems with feeding deer include: unnaturally increasing population numbers that damage natural habitats; increasing the likelihood for disease transmission, and increasing human-deer conflicts such as deer/vehicle collisions and diminishing the wild nature of deer. In addition, feeding deer has law enforcement implications. Deer hunting over bait is illegal in Virginia. Prior to the deer feeding prohibition, distinguishing between who was feeding deer and who was hunting over bait often caused law enforcement problems for the Department’s conservation police officers.  (For complete news release go to http://www.dgif.virginia.gov/news/release.asp?id=308 )

Wyoming 08/29/11 codyenterprise.com: by Mark Heinz – Wolf hunts in Wyoming could begin by fall 2012, under a proposed Game and Fish management plan. If so, resident wolf tags will be about $15, said G&F Cody area trophy game supervisor Mark Bruscino. There would be designated hunt areas – each with a mortality quota- as has long been the case with black bear and mountain lions, Bruscino said. “The mortality quota system is a proven method for managing large carnivores,” he said. Bruscino was the main speaker before an audience of about 50 people Aug. 25, at a public meeting in Cody regarding the proposed wolf management plan. The next step will be a public comment period, lasting until Sept. 9. The Wyoming Game and Fish Commission will meet to discuss, finalize and vote on the plan Sept. 14. After that, it will be up for federal review, and nation-wide comment period. If all goes smoothly, wolves could be delisted in Wyoming by Oct. 1, 2012, Bruscino said. If that happens, it will be the culmination of efforts to delist wolves that have been going on since 2002. That’s the year the population in Wyoming, Montana and Idaho reached the “biological goals” of the wolf reintroduction program, Bruscino said. Since then, there have been a couple of false starts, and even some brief wolf hunting seasons, but wolf delisting was held up by litigation in all three states. Through a federal budget rider, delisting went through earlier this year in Montana and Idaho. It’s expected to stick; hunting seasons in both those states begin soon. (For complete article go to http://www.codyenterprise.com/news/local/article_32323f7e-d28d-11e0-9b80-001cc4c002e0.html )

California Quail is listed in CDC's West Nile Virus avian mortality database.

California 08/30/11 patch.com: by Mike Szymanski – Two more dead birds were found containing the West Nile Virus in Studio City last week, bringing the total to four. And, for the first time this year, a dead bird with the potentially deadly virus was in North Hollywood in the 91606 ZIP code. “These tests show a continuing need to be vigilant in trying to prevent places for mosquitoes to breed,” said Crystal Brown, public information officer of the Greater Los Angeles County Vector Control District. In this case, it is important to never touch a dead bird that may be found in the neighborhood and certainly educate children of the dangers of touching any dead wildlife they may find. In the past week, 23 additional dead birds were found with the West Nile Virus, and nine were found in the San Fernando Valley area, including communities such as Encino, Chatsworth, Northridge and Van Nuys. Of the mosquito samples testing positive for the virus, nearly one-fourth of them, 18 of the 42, were found in the San Fernando Valley, particularly in Encino and Chatsworth.

Orange County

California 08/26/11 ocregister.com: by Courtney Perkes – A Buena Park man is Orange County’s first confirmed human West Nile Virus case for the year, public health officials said Friday. The unidentified man, in his 50s, remains hospitalized after he was admitted in mid-August, according to the county’s Health Care Agency. He is the 19th human case reported this year in California. Last year, Orange County had only one human case of the infection, which is transmitted by mosquitoes.

Yolo County

California 08/26/11 davisenterprise.com: West Nile Virus activity has spread to Yolo County as the first dead bird and a mosquito sample have tested positive for the virus, local officials announced Friday. The bird was found in South Davis near Chiles Road and Mace Boulevard, and the mosquito sample was found near County Road 103 between Woodland and Davis. “Finding this first positive bird and mosquito sample is significant because it shows that the virus is moving to new areas,” David Brown, district manager, said in a news release.

DeKalb County

Georgia 08/27/11 decaturmetro.com: Traps in Decatur and other parts of DeKalb County captured 74 collections of mosquitoes that tested positive for West Nile Virus through Friday, a big increase over the number found with the virus last year, according to data from the DeKalb County Board of Health.

Lake County

Illinois 08/30/11 triblocal.com: by Michelle Stoffel – A mosquito pool in Buffalo Grove has tested positive for West Nile virus, the Lake County Health Department announced recently. The mosquito pool, sampled Aug. 4, is the first confirmed indicator of the disease in Lake County this year. In 2010, one human and 29 mosquito pools tested positive for the virus in the county.

Massachusetts 08/30/11 patch.com: by Daniel DeMaina – A mosquito pool in Melrose has tested positive for West Nile Virus (WNV), the Melrose Health Department announced in a press statement on Tuesday morning. The trap that yielded the positive West Nile test is located on the Melrose/Stoneham line, the release stated.

Massachusetts 08/27/11 boston.com: by Leslie Anderson – West Nile virus has been detected in mosquitoes collected from Newton, city officials announced today. This is the first positive mosquito pool identified in Newton this summer. However, several nearby communities, including West Roxbury and Brookline, have already found mosquitoes with the virus, so the news was not a surprise, said Dori Zaleznik, commissioner of the city’s Health & Human Services Department.

Nassau County

New York 08/30/11 newsday.com: The first case of West Nile virus in a human in Nassau County this year was reported Tuesday by the county Department of Health. The unidentified Hempstead resident, who is between 40 and 50 years old, suffered a mild case and has fully recovered, the department said in a statement.

Cuyahoga County

Ohio 08/30/11 woio.com: Ohio’s first two clinical human cases of West Nile virus in 2011 were confirmed Tuesday by the Ohio Department of Health, which also reported a sharp increase in the number of WNV-positive mosquitoes. A case of WNV meningitis was confirmed in a 19-year-old Cleveland-area woman who was hospitalized in Cuyahoga County.

Putnam County

A 14-year-old boy in Putnam County was confirmed with WNV fever, but was not hospitalized. Both are recovering. Meanwhile, the number of WNV-positive mosquito pools in the State of Ohio increased from 52 to 450 during the month of August.

Lebanon County

Pennsylvania 08/30/11 whptv.com: The Department of Health today reported Pennsylvania’s first probable human case of West Nile virus (WNV) of 2011. On July 22, an elderly Lebanon County woman was hospitalized with a high fever and neurological symptoms. She is currently recovering. For more information about West Nile virus, including current test results for mosquitoes, birds and horses, visit www.westnile.state.pa.us or call the Pennsylvania Department of Health at 1-877-PA HEALTH.

Massachusetts 08/30/11 patch.com: by Michael Gelbwasser – Mosquitoes collected from Sharon last Thursday had the Eastern Equine Encephalitis virus, state and local health officials said today.

Massachusetts 08/25/11 reportertoday.com: The Massachusetts Department of Public Health (MDPH) announced today that (Eastern Equine Encephalitis) EEE virus has been detected in mosquitoes collected from Rehoboth, Massachusetts on 8/22/11. In 2010, 3,558 mosquito samples were tested for EEE virus, and 65 positive samples were identified in Massachusetts. This is Rehoboth’s first EEE virus positive mosquito sample identified in 2011.

New York 08/29/11 northcountrynow.com: A confirmed case of Eastern equine encephalitis (EEE) has been found in a horse in Massena, according to the New York State Department of Health. The St. Lawrence County Public Health Department was notified, and the horse was euthanized on Aug. 22. Although the EEE virus is rare, it is one of the most serious mosquito-borne diseases. About one-third of people infected with the virus die. Most survivors suffer significant brain damage. An Oswego County resident died of EEE about two weeks ago.

West Virginia 08/30/11 bignewsnetwork.com: Mineral County health officials are advising residents of the New Creek area to be cautious after a raccoon tested positive for rabies. The Mineral Daily News-Tribune reports that the county Health Department confirmed the rabies case about 5 miles south of Keyser.

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