OREGON Fish and Wildlife begins hazing CORMORANTS to improve SALMON SMOLTS survival rate ~ CANADA: ONTARIO’s provincial capital of Toronto reports MAN diagnosed with RABIES ~ Other RABIES reports from NEW YORK, NORTH CAROLINA, TENNESSEE, & VIRGINIA (2).

Double crested cormorant. Photo by Oregon Department of Fish & Wildlife.

Oregon 04/17/12 or.us: News Release – With hundreds of thousands of young salmon now making their way toward the ocean, the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife is ramping up efforts to make sure they get there and aren’t picked off by hungry birds along the way. For the next month and a half, volunteers assisting ODFW staff will haze cormorants to keep them from feasting on salmon smolts as the young fish run the gauntlet through five coastal estuaries on their way to the Pacific Ocean. Cormorants are large seabirds that inhabit Oregon’s estuaries during the spring and summer. They are voracious eaters and can consume up to two pounds of fish per day … roughly the equivalent of about 12 salmon smolts when the fish are released as juveniles from ODFW’s hatcheries at Tillamook, Nehalem, Hebo, Alsea and Coquille.

Salmon smolt

Cormorants have been identified by sportsmen’s groups and others as a potential threat the outbound migration of salmon and steelhead. Members of those organizations are assisting in the hazing program by providing manpower and equipment needed for daily hazing chores while ODFW provides fuel and oversight. Hazing generally consists of a person in a small boat interrupting the birds’ feeding patterns by driving toward them while they are in the water foraging for fish. At times, pyrotechnics are used to scare the birds away. “Cormorants will eat what’s most abundant,” said Lindsay Adrean, ODFW’s avian predation coordinator. “The idea is to move the cormorants towards the lower estuary and ocean where they will have many other kinds of fish to choose from.

Salmon smolts. Photo by Cacophony. Wikimedia Commons.

This also provides the salmon with extra time to disperse, making them less vulnerable to predation.” Volunteers will be working in Tillamook and Alsea bays and mouths of the Nehalem, Nestucca and Coquille rivers through the end of May. Manpower is being provided by the Port of Nehalem, Port of Bandon, North Coast Salmon and Steelhead Enhancement Fund, and Alsea Sportsmen’s Association.

Cormorants. Photo by Danielle Langlois. Wikimedia Commons.

In addition to improving salmon out-migration the hazing project will help ODFW gather baseline information about cormorant population trends and the effectiveness of hazing. It’s a tricky proposition, according to Adrean, because cormorants are protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, so extra care must be used to ensure the birds are not injured or killed. At the same time, cormorant populations have been increasing on East Sand Island near the mouth of the Columbia River. Population surveys indicate there are about 2,300 cormorant breeding pairs in the estuaries between Tillamook Bay and the Rogue River, and 12,000 breeding pairs on East Sand Island. Researchers want to know how future changes in the distribution of cormorants might impact coastal salmon populations. “We hear a lot from people who think cormorants are having an impact, so that’s what we’re working on,” said Adrean. “We’re trying to find the right balance. That’s the key.”

CANADA:

ONTARIO 04/16/12 cbc.com: – A Toronto man is being treated for the first case of rabies in a human in the city in more than 80 years, CBC News has learned. The 41-year-old man had been working as a bartender in the Dominican Republic for four months. He had already reported symptoms at the end of last month in the Dominican Republic where he was seen three times at a resort clinic. His condition worsened to the point that he was having trouble swallowing and was afraid of food, water and even the air. He returned to Toronto a week ago by airplane. He was taken to hospital by police after behaving erratically at the airport. His symptoms worsened by April 11, and on April 12, samples were sent for testing. It was then determined he had rabies, a virus that attacks the brain and nervous system. Dr. Donald Low, the medical director of the public health laboratories at the arms-length government agency Public Health Ontario, said rabies in humans is rare.

The last case of rabies in a human in Ontario was an Ottawa valley girl in 1967. The last case in Toronto occurred in 1931 when a three-year-old girl contracted the virus. There have only been three cases of human rabies in Canada in the last 12 years. All of those people were bitten by infected bats. “There’s a good chance if you grow the virus, which is in the process of being done, you can fingerprint the virus,” said Low. “It can give you a clue as to where it might have come from — whether it came from a bat, whether it came from a skunk or a dog and also … there might be some evidence there to be able to say in hindsight that it came from an area similar to the Dominican Republic.”

The infected Toronto man is being treated in the neurological intensive care unit at Toronto Western Hospital. Human-to-human transmission of rabies is extremely rare, Low said, but the man’s family members are being treated with vaccines. Most people who show symptoms of rabies don’t survive. Those who do usually suffer severe neurological damage. Humans can be vaccinated against rabies before exposure to the virus. They are also vaccinated after contact, although immunization is recommended as soon as possible after exposure.

New York 04/16/12 northcountrynow.com: Potsdam, St. Lawrence County – Clarkson University Campus Safety and Security wants to find the owner of a dog that bit a woman Sunday at about 12:20 p.m. near the playing field on Clarkson Avenue so that they can confirm the dog’s vaccinations. The dog was white with black markings and a square nose (possibly a pit bull or pit bull mix), on a chain leash, walked by a man in his 20s. If the dog’s vaccinations cannot be confirmed, the person bitten will need to undergo a series a rabies shots. Call 268-6666 if you can assist in finding the dog or its owner.

North Carolina 04/16/12 Newton, Catawba County: Health officials have confirmed the county’s fourth case of rabies this year after two dogs fought with a raccoon that has tested positive for the virus. Two people were exposed to the dogs, which are now under quarantine. – See http://www.wbtv.com/story/17463542/dogs-fight-with-raccoon-later-diagnosed-with-rabies-in-catawba-co

Tennessee 04/16/12 Harrison Ferry Mountain, Warren County: A colony of about 50 feral cats has taken over a recycling center creating a potential health hazard and particular concern about aggressive cats and rabies. – See http://www.newschannel5.com/story/17465501/colony-of-feral-cats-takes-over-recycling-center

Virginia 04/16/12 Newport News & James City County: The Peninsula Health District says raccoons found near Mt. Pleasant Drive in James City County and Dean Ray Court in Newport News have tested positive for rabies. Those with information regarding exposure are urged to contact the agency at 253-4813. – See http://wydaily.com/local-news/8829-rabid-raccoon-found-near-mt-pleasant-drive.html

Virginia 04/16/12 Greensprings, James City County: The Peninsula Health District is looking for a short-haired, black and gray tabby cat that bit a person on April 13 near Braemar Creek at Greensprings in James City County. If the cat is not found, the victim may have to receive rabies prevention shots. Once found, the cat will not be taken away from its owner, according to the Williamsburg Area Environmental Health Office. It will be placed on an in-home confinement period of 10 days, however. Anyone who has seen an animal fitting the description in that area is asked to contact the Williamsburg Area Environmental Health Office at 253-4813. After hours, call James City County Animal Control at 565-0730. The Health District recommends residents report all exposures, enjoy wildlife from a distance and make sure family pets are vaccinated and protected against the rabies virus. State law requires that dogs and cats be vaccinated between three and four months of age.

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