Brookfield Zoo in ILLINOIS prepares MEXICAN WOLF for release in NEW MEXICO ~ HIKER attacked by MOUNTAIN LION in TEXAS at Big Bend ~ WHO issues WORLDWIDE ALERT concerning new CORONAVIRUS ~ FERAL CAT exposes three in NEW YORK to RABIES ~ CANADA: Town in ONTARIO reports first WEST NILE VIRUS fatality this year.

Ernesta. Mexican Gray Wolf.
Photo by Jim Schultz. Chicago Zoological Society.

New Mexico 11/23/12 chicagotribue.com: by Joseph Ruzich – She may have not been born free, but Ernesta, a 4-year-old Mexican gray wolf from Brookfield Zoo [Illinois], might be able to live out the rest of her life roaming the wilds of New Mexico. Ernesta was transferred from the west suburban zoo to the Sevilleta Wolf Management Facility near Socorro, N.M., on Oct. 27 and is now attending “wolf boot camp” with two other male wolves that arrived when she did. The goal is to prepare them for release into the wild as part of an effort to increase the wolf population in the area. “She is doing well (in her enclosure) and is adapting with the other wolves,” said Maggie Dwire, a biologist for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. “She doesn’t like to be around people, but that is a good quality for a wolf in the recovery program.”

Photo by Jim Schultz. Chicago Zoological Soc.

There are only 58 Mexican gray wolves living in the wild in New Mexico and Arizona, but there are 283 living at 52 zoos and other institutions across the United States. Most of the wolves in the wild are second- and third-generation animals that are descendants of wolves that were released from the Sevilleta facility, according to Tom Buckley, public affairs specialist for the Fish and Wildlife Service. The Mexican gray wolf population in the Southwest had been dwindling throughout the 20th century as human settlement and hunting intensified across in the area. The Fish and Wildlife Service first listed the species as endangered in 1976. The Mexican gray wolf is the southernmost-living, rarest and most genetically distinct subspecies of gray wolf in North America.Dwire said Ernesta and the two male wolves are being kept in a large fenced-in area that mimics the high desert landscape that surrounds it. There are about a dozen wolves at Sevilleta. “The goal for her is to accept one of the males as her mate,” Dwire said. “If she gets pregnant, she may be released with her mate in spring, but we might also decide to wait until late summer. There are a lot of factors that must be taken into account.” – For complete article see http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/ct-met-brookfield-wolf-20121123,0,3875921.story

Mountain Lion:

Texas 11/24/12 nps.gov: Alert – A female hiker was injured by a mountain lion while hiking in a remote area of Big Bend National Park on Friday, November 23. Andrea Pinero Cebrian and her companions were exploring the Mesa de Anguila near Lajitas when she was attacked. Cebrian was treated by Terlingua Medics and her injuries are not considered to be life threatening. The Mesa de Anguila has been closed to all visitors while rangers and park biologists investigate and patrol in search of the mountain lion. Park Superintendent Cindy Ott-Jones noted “Visitor safety is our main concern here in Big Bend and we will monitor and close the Mesa until we deem it safe for visitors.” For updates or additional information please call the park at 432-477-2802.

World Health Organization (WHO) ALERT:

Global 9/23/12 who.int: Alert – On 22 September 2012, the United Kingdom (UK) informed WHO of a case of acute respiratory syndrome with renal failure with travel history to Saudi Arabia and Qatar. . . The Health Protection Agency of the UK (HPA) conducted laboratory testing and has confirmed the presence of a novel coronavirus . . . The HPA compared information from the clinical sample collected from the 49 year-old Qatari national with that of a virus sequenced previously by the Erasmus University Medical Centre, Netherlands. This latter isolate was obtained from lung tissue of a fatal case earlier this year in a 60 year-old Saudi national. This comparison indicated 99.5% identity, with one nucleotide mismatch over the regions compared.

11/23/12: WHO has been notified of four additional cases, including one death, due to infection with the novel coronavirus. The additional cases have been identified as part of the enhanced surveillance in Saudi Arabia (3 cases, including 1 death) and Qatar (1 case). This brings the total of laboratory confirmed cases to 6. Investigations are ongoing in areas of epidemiology, clinical management, and virology, to look into the likely source of infection, the route of exposure, and the possibility of human-to-human transmission of the virus. Close contacts of the recently confirmed cases are being identified and followed-up. – See http://www.who.int/csr/don/archive/disease/coronavirus_infections/en/index.html

Rabies:

New York 11/23/12 Livingston County: An apparently sick, feral cat found by an individual in the Town of York and taken to a vet for treatment has tested positive for rabies. Three people are receiving post-exposure rabies treatments. – See http://thelcn.com/2012/11/23/rabid-cat-found-in-livingston-county/

West Nile Virus (WNV):

Canada:

Ontario 11/23/12 Hamilton: Health officials confirm the first local WNV-related fatality in the city. A family member confirmed the victim was Antonio Occhiuto, 82, who died Thursday at Hamilton General Hospital. – See http://www.cbc.ca/hamilton/news/story/2012/11/23/hamilton-west-nile.html

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