Nunavut 12/22/11 CBC.ca: A group of hunters near Igloolik, Nunavut, had a harrowing experience when they were attacked by a polar bear that was with her cubs. The bear died after the hunters shot it. On Wednesday, five men went out to retrieve their cache of Igunaq, or aged walrus meat, when the bear attacked them. John Arnatsiaq, 58, squared off against the bear after it went after his friend. “All of a sudden the bear was right there. But it wasn’t going for me – it was going for the other guy,” said Arnatsiaq.
Arnatsiaq jumped in between the two and shoved a hammer in the bear’s mouth. “What I did was poke the bear with the hammer and put the hammer in its mouth and pull to make him angry so it will go after me instead of going after that guy. Because I knew that guy had bullets in his pocket and that his rifle was not loaded,” said Arnatsiaq. Arnatsiaq said the bear kept going for his friend and swatted Arnatsiaq away. Arnatsiaq grabbed the bear’s fur and kept swinging the hammer. “And then we were fighting for a few minutes and then I missed my footing and almost fell. That’s when the bear was going for my shoulder,” he said. The bear bit into his hand which was covering his shoulder. At that point, the other hunters were finally able to shoot the bear and the cubs, which had joined in the fight. “It could have been worse, I’m fine, I’m ok,” he said.
inArnatsiaq said the bear was hungry and wanted the walrus meat. Arnatsiaq didn’t escape unscathed – the bear also bit his face, requiring him to get five stitches in his lip. He said his body is also sore. Arnatsiaq has had close polar bear encounters before. In the past, he smashed a bear on the nose with his camera. “First time with a camera, this time with a hammer. Probably no more next time,” he said. Polar bears are the largest terrestrial carnivores on the planet. Adult female bears can weigh up to 550 pounds and can grow to nearly eight feet in length.
Massachusetts 12/30/11 BostonHerald.com: by Matt Stout & Ira Kantor — A Barnstable man given a grim outlook by state officials after being diagnosed as the first human victim of rabies in Massachusetts during the past 75 years may have a better chance to survive than public health officials say, according to a doctor who revolutionized treatment of the previously fatal disease. The man, who is in his 60s but not identified by state officials, remains in critical condition at a Boston hospital after likely being bitten by a bat inside his home or a converted barn. Though the disease only shows up in a handful of humans nationwide each year, rabies has a mortality near 100 percent, said Dr. Larry Madoff, director of the Department of Public Health’s Division of Epidemiology and Immunization. “Almost nobody survives.” But Dr. Rodney E. Willoughby, a Wisconsin pediatrician who created a drug regimen that helped a teenager become the first person to survive the disease without immunization, said the unnamed Bay State victim may still have a chance to avoid the fate of the five other rabies victims in the country who died from the disease this year, despite the man’s age.
We’re quoting about 20, 25 percent survival,” Willoughby told the Herald in a phone interview, though he declined to say if he had any direct involvement in the Massachusetts man’s case. “It’s not zero, but 20 percent isn’t something to write home about.” Thomas McKean, Director of the Barnstable Health Division, confirmed yesterday the man lived in the Cape Cod town. The man’s wife is also undergoing treatment in case she, too, was infected, McKean said. No one else lived on their property, which McKean said includes a barn that had been converted into office space, where the man may have been bitten. State officials yesterday were still awaiting the results of species tests, but they said there were bats in the man’s living quarters. – For complete article see http://news.bostonherald.com/news/regional/view/2011_1230rabies_shows_up_in_barnstable/srvc=home&position=recent
California 12/28/11 pe.com: by David Danelski — A mountain lion that took a heavy toll on the animals in an Oak Glen petting zoo was killed on Christmas night when it returned to a sheep carcass to feed. The 7-year-old female lion had been raiding the petting zoo at Riley’s at Los Rios Rancho apple orchards. In all, 13 goats and sheep died, said Devon Riley, who owns the business in the mountains east of Yucaipa. When the goats and sheep started to disappear in late November, California Department of Fish and Game officials investigated and determined it was the work of a cougar. The department issued Riley’s a special permit to shoot the lion. When the goats and sheep started to disappear in late November, California Department of Fish and Game officials investigated and determined it was the work of a cougar. The department issued Riley’s a special permit to shoot the lion. The lion would hop a fence, grab an animal and then stash the carcass in a nearby willow thicket, Riley said. To discourage the predator, the Rileys moved their animals to pens close to their home. But the attacks continued. “She just found the next spot to go to,” he said. “We saw her only twice, always in the middle of the night.”
The end came about 11:30p.m. Sunday. “She killed a sheep, and she returned to feed on it,” Riley said. Riley’s son, 19-year-old Seth, killed the lion with a shotgun. Kevin Brennan, a Fish and Game wildlife biologist, said the cougar was about four feet long and weighed 82 pounds, a normal size. The animals live about 10 years in the wild, he said. Property owners can legally kill mountain lions or bears that attack livestock or pets, Brennan said. The resident must first obtain a permit or catch the animal in the act.
California 12/28/11 gilroydispatch.com: by Kollin Kosmicki — A county-designated trapper caught a mountain lion Tuesday after an Aromas rancher reported two steers were killed the previous day, said San Benito’s agriculture commissioner Ron Ross. A rancher off Anzar Road on Monday discovered two dead steers of about 450 pounds each. He suspected a mountain lion may have been responsible and reported it to the San Benito agriculture commissioner’s office. On Monday night, a county-hired expert with the U.S. Department of Agriculture set out a trap, and caught the mountain lion in a cage Tuesday morning, Ross said. The lion was about 100 pounds and has been euthanized, which is a state requirement when the big cats are captured after such encounters. There have been occasional reports from local ranchers of possible cougar attacks – some officials have expressed concern about a growing population and needing a statewide count of the species – but it is uncommon to actually capture a mountain lion in a trap, or large cage with a door that shuts when an animal enters. “To my knowledge, this is the first time (with a capture) on the San Benito County side of Aromas,” Ross said. The area where the trapper caught the lion is mostly rural with pockets of residential neighborhoods nearby. The trap was located about 100 yards from a residence, according to officials.
Iowa 12/23/11kcrg.com: Authorities have shot and killed a mountain lion in western Iowa. The police chief in Blencoe, near the Nebraska border, and a Monona County Sheriff’s Deputy responded early Friday after someone reported seeing the animal. The officers shot the adult male lion after finding him in a tree. Officials believe the lion likely came from a state west of Iowa. Biologists with the Department of Natural Resources believe most of the lions seen in Iowa are pushed out of their native areas by older, dominant males. The lion will be analyzed to determine its age, feeding habits and place origin. It will eventually be mounted and put on display in Monoma County. The Department of Natural Resources says wildlife protection isn’t extended to mountain lions in Iowa.
North Dakota 12/22/11nd.gov: News Release — State Game and Fish Department officials are confirming that a rural western North Dakota homeowner shot and killed a 38-pound mountain lion kitten inside his home on Wednesday evening. According to chief game warden Robert Timian, upon returning to his farmstead northwest of Grassy Butte Wednesday, the homeowner discovered the mountain lion kitten lying on his couch. The man then grabbed a .22 pistol kept near his doorway, shot the animal, and then contacted Game and Fish. Timian said the initial investigation revealed the garage door was open during the day, and the door from the garage into the house was open when the owner returned home. Since the lion apparently killed four domestic cats in the house, and other domestic cats were present, it’s possible the lion was attracted to the house by cat scent coming through the open door, Timian added. “This is a very unusual situation,” Timian said. “The homeowner probably wasn’t in any danger from the small lion, and he was well within his rights to dispatch it.” The home is located in an area of North Dakota where mountain lions are present. While Game and Fish periodically gets reports of lions in or near farmsteads, Timian said this is the first one that has entered a home. The fact that it was a young animal may have been a factor in its presence around a dwelling.
Wisconsin 12/22/11mcw.edu: The Medical College of Wisconsin has received a $1.9 million, five-year grant from the National Institute of Health’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases to study the bacteria that cause Lyme disease. Jenifer L. Coburn, PhD, professor of medicine, division of infectious disease, is the primary investigator of the grant. Wisconsin is one of the states with a high incidence of Lyme disease, with 20,000 cases being diagnosed since tracking began in 1980.
In the United States, 30,000 cases were diagnosed in 2010. Many patients are not diagnosed for weeks or months, and untreated cases can lead to permanent neurological impairment. In this research project, Dr. Coburn will study a protein named P66, which is a part of the bacterium that causes Lyme disease, Borrelia burgdorferi. P66 has been shown to be critical to the ability of the bacterium to cause infection in mammals. Learning more about this protein and the way it contributes to infection could lead to novel approaches to prevention and early treatment of Lyme disease.
Saskatchewan 12/21/11ctv.com: Chronic wasting disease has been discovered on another game farm in Saskatchewan. It is the fourth case in the province so far this year. The latest case involves a white tail deer from a farm in the Prince Albert area. The animal was discovered to be carrying the disease through a mandatory testing program for all animals over the age of 12 months that die on farms. Canada Food Inspection Agency scientists say the disease poses very little risk to humans. However, they say to prevent the spread of CWD to other animals or farms it is necessary to slaughter the entire herd.
Alex McIsaac, from CIFA, says slaughter is the only way to do an accurate test. “Unfortunately we don’t have a live animal test at this time so that’s the only way we can determine how far it has spread, unfortunately it’s by destroying animals and using this post-mortem sample.”