Study confirms MOUNTAIN LIONS are making a comeback ~ WEST NILE VIRUS reports from CA (2), IL (2), LA, PA, & TX ~ RABIES reports from KS, MD, NJ (2), NC (2), OR, SC (2), & VA (2).

Mountain lion. Courtesy National Park Service.

National 06/14/12  by Tim Crosby – Mountain lions (aka cougars, pumas, mountain cats, catamounts, and panthers), those wily, storied creatures that once moved like ghosts through their far-ranging North American habitat, are making a comeback. And a researcher at Southern Illinois University Carbondale — along with a former student — is among those spotting the trend. Clay Nielsen, assistant professor with the Cooperative Wildlife Research Laboratory, Department of Forestry and the Center for Ecology at SIU Carbondale, said the cougar presence clearly is increasing in Midwestern North America.  Nielsen worked with Michelle LaRue, a former graduate student at SIU Carbondale, now at the University of Minnesota. The scientists see the trend reversing 100 years of species decline due to loss of habitat and other factors. Nielsen said the findings also raise new questions about how humans might live in closer proximity to the big cats.

Cougars were driven from much of the Midwest by around 1900, and their absence left a hole in the ecosystem, Nielsen said. “Cougars would be top carnivores in Midwestern ecosystems, affecting prey species populations.  The white-tailed deer would be the primary prey item,” Nielsen said. During the last two decades, however, hard evidence of the cougar’s return has been emerging.  The researchers set out to qualify and quantify that evidence, which they hoped would identify population trends and movement among the cougar ranks. The researchers divided the study area into an east and west region, calculated the number and types of confirmed sightings and assessed trends brought forth by the data.  In all, they identified 178 instances of a confirmed cougar presence, with that number increasing. The confirmations ranged from just one in Kansas, Michigan and Ontario to a high of 67 in Nebraska. The cougar remains reclusive, however, with almost 80 percent of the confirmations occurring within about 30 miles of highly suitable forests with steep terrain and low road and human densities.  – For further details see

West Nile Virus reports:

California 06/15/12 Walnut Creek, Contra Costa County: Officials reported Thursday a second confirmed case of West Nile virus in a dead American crow found near Geary Road and Buena Vista Avenue. – See

California 06/15/12 Kern County: Mosquitoes carrying West Nile virus have been found in 91 traps statewide, 25 of them in Kern County. – See

Illinois 06/15/12 Jackson County: Health officials have discovered a batch of mosquitoes testing positive for West Nile virus. – See

Illinois 06/15/12 Stephenson County: A dead bird collected in south Freeport on June 7 was found to have West Nile virus. – See

Louisiana 06/13/12 Baton Rouge, Livingston and Tangipahoa parishes: East Baton Rouge Mosquito Abatement and Rodent Control says mosquitoes are already causing problems, and testing positive for the West Nile Virus. – See

Pennsylvania 06/15/12 Adams, Cumberland, Dauphin, Lehigh, Monroe & York counties: Dauphin County officials are reporting that a second mosquito trapped in the county had tested positive for the West Nile Virus. That insect was caught Tuesday in Wiconisco Township, county spokeswoman Amy Richards Harinath said. Another was trapped May 9 in Middletown. Elsewhere in the mid-state the virus has been found in two mosquitoes each in Cumberland and York counties and in three insects in Adams County, according to the state’s West Nile Virus Control Program. DEP officials said a mosquito was found and tested positive as a carrier of West Nile in Smithfield Township. And a mosquito sample from Upper Macungie Township tested positive for West Nile virus today.

Texas 06/13/12 Plano, Collin County: The Plano Environmental Health Department announced a positive testing of mosquitoes for West Nile Virus in the 75074 ZIP code. – See

Rabies reports:

Kansas 06/13/12 Marion County: by Jennifer Stultz – In March, worried owners of a horse that was acting erratically called veterinarian Brendan Kraus for help. Kraus went to the farm to evaluate the horse, which seemed to be depressed and in pain. It kicked and laid down a lot. He made the decision to euthanize the horse, suspecting a rabies virus infection. He removed the horse’s brain and sent it to Manhattan for analysis at K-State’s Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory. Testing confirmed the horse was rabid and had contracted the disease from an infected skunk. – See

Maryland 06/14/12 Port Deposit, Cecil County: A cat that scratched a person in the area of Port Deposit has tested positive for rabies. Health officials say the person was scratched Wednesday while trying to capture the cat. The cat was described as large and with black and white markings. It was euthanized after being captured. Health officials say anyone who believes they may have been exposed to the cat in the past 10 days should seek medical advice. – See

New Jersey 06/13/12 South Plainfield, Middlesex County: by Tom Haydon – A raccoon that tangled with a pet dog in South Plainfield and was killed by the dog’s owner, has tested positive for rabies. On June 8, the owner called animal control officers to report the raccoon had fought with the pet in the area of Ivy Street and Clinton Avenue, officials from the Middlesex County Office of Health Services said in a statement. – See

New Jersey 06/13/12 Cedar Grove, Essex County: Raccoons captured over the past month in Cedar Grove have tested positive for rabies, according to an alert sent out via the town’s Nixle system by the Cedar Grove Health Department. In the alert, residents are encouraged to avoid feeding and touching unfamiliar animals, vaccinate their pets and keep them from roaming unattended, keep trash cans tightly covered, avoid storing food outside, and to seek immediate medical attention should they be exposed to or bitten by an a suspicious animal. – See

North Carolina 06/13/12 Oak Island, New Brunswick County: The State Lab confirms the second case of rabies this year at Oak Island. The Brunswick County Health Department says a fox sent to the lab Monday tested positive for the disease. The fox attacked a dog on Oak Island. The dog’s owner pushed the fox away from the dog and killed the fox. The owner was not bitten or touched by the fox, so there was no need to treat him for possible rabies exposure. The dog was current on its rabies vaccination so it only needed a booster shot. – See

North Carolina 06/13/12 Lawndale, Cleveland County: The county’s fifth rabies case in 2012 was a raccoon found at 249 Oakgrove Cloverhill Church Road, Lawndale. A complaint about the animal’s abnormal behavior was reported June 8 to Cleveland County Animal Control. – See

Oregon 06/14/12 Gaston, Washington County: A woman was recently bitten by a bat that had rabies. She came across the bat in her yard when she spotted her dog with some kind of animal and said she initially thought it was a bird. But when she picked up the animal, “it just grabbed onto my finger through the glove … and got me. It was hanging on,” she said. She then put the bat in a bucket. A couple of days later, she took the bat to authorities and had it tested. It turned out to have rabies. – See

South Carolina 06/13/12 Florence County: A woman in Florence County was bitten by a stray cat that later tested positive for rabies, according to the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control. “Avoid wild animals acting tame and tame animals acting wild,” said Sue Ferguson of DHEC’s Bureau of Environmental Health. – See

South Carolina 06/13/12 Spartanburg County: State health officials are warning residents to stay away from wild animals and vaccinate pets after a fox tested positive for rabies. This is the fourth confirmed case of a rabid animal in the county this year. – See

Virginia 06/13/12 Henrico, Henrico County: Health officials confirmed two cases of rabies Wednesday, after a rabid cat bit a person earlier this week. Police received a call of an aggressive cat in the 400 block of Lee Ave on Sunday, June 10. One person was bitten during the incident, according to police. Police announced positive result for rabies Wednesday, after the cat was taken to the State Lab for testing. A second incident in the 2400 block of Hartman St. was also reported Sunday, according to police. Positive results for rabies were received after a rabid raccoon attacked a dog. – See

Virginia 06/13/12 York County: A raccoon picked up in the area of Barlow Road has tested positive for rabies.- See


One response to “Study confirms MOUNTAIN LIONS are making a comeback ~ WEST NILE VIRUS reports from CA (2), IL (2), LA, PA, & TX ~ RABIES reports from KS, MD, NJ (2), NC (2), OR, SC (2), & VA (2).

  1. Mountain Lions are one animal I wouldn’t want to mess with..

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s