Category Archives: Fungus

CANADA: ALBERTA wildlife officials searching for MOUNTAIN LION prowling downtown Canmore streets ~ Natural PESTICIDE developed by CONNECTICUT company kills LYME DISEASE carrying TICKS ~ RABIES reports from FLORIDA, & NORTH CAROLINA.

Mountain Lion. Photo by California Department of Fish & Game.


Alberta 03/04/12 by Justin Brisbane – Fish and Wildlife officers are on the lookout for a large adult cougar that attacked a small dog near downtown Canmore late Friday night. The brazen attack is the first known incident in the heart of the community and wildlife officials are advising the public to travel in groups and carry bear spray.

Shortly before midnight, a man was walking his two dogs on-leash near a Safeway store when a cougar emerged from the darkness and attacked the smaller of the two dogs. The man, whose identity has not been released, fought off the cougar, saving the 15-kilogram dog’s life. “The guy had a bigger dog and a smaller dog, and the cougar went after the smaller dog. He fought the cougar off and the dog escaped with a few scratches,” said District Fish and Wildlife officer Ron Wiebe. The cougar was last seen running west by Railway Avenue.

Fish and Wildlife officers spent much of Saturday hunting the cougar, calling in tracking dogs to help with the search. However, they found no tracks or kill sites to indicate the cougar was in the area. “We searched most of the town, but didn’t find many people who had seen the cat,” said Wiebe. Officers will attempt to capture the cougar, but Wiebe said it’s too early to tell if the cat will be killed or relocated. “We’ll capture and try to remove it from the area. We’ll determine if it’s a cat with a history.”

Five weeks ago, a cougar killed a dog in nearby Morley, but it was never found. Two weeks ago, a cougar was spotted allegedly hunting rabbits on the edge of Canmore near Elk Run Boulevard, but it too disappeared. It’s unknown at this time if it was the same cougar. Kim Titchener, program director with Bow Valley Wildsmart, said the incident is a great concern for the town and she suspects the cougar is desperate. “It’s not normal to have cougars this close into town. Last year, we had a couple incidents where a cougar attacked a dog and another attacked a child near Barrier Lake.” She advises the public to be aware of their surroundings and take the proper precautions. “Keep children close by, carry bear spray, which has been used on cougars, and keep dogs on a short leash. When cougars see erratic movement, they see prey,” Titchener said. She said there have been multiple incidents over the years of cougar attacks on dogs, and notes “The community monitoring report shows there is an increase in cougar conflict in Canmore. They’re more comfortable killing in the townsite. That puts us in direct conflict.”

Blacklegged Tick (aka Deer Tick)

North America & Korea 03/03/12 by Vinti Singh – Local scientists have found a way to control the ticks responsible for passing Lyme disease on to humans. A new natural pesticide, derived from a strain of fungus that is deadly to the black-legged tick could help keep tick populations under control. Unlike synthetic pesticides that can be dangerous for more than just ticks, the fungus does not harm honeybees, earthworms, and other beneficial insects. The product was developed by a Fairfield-based company that was bought out by the Danish industrial biotechnology company Novozymes. The Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station‘s field trials of the fungus helped obtain federal Environmental Protection Agency registration. Novozymes has built a plant in Canada to mass produce the product, Tick-Ex.It will be commercially available in 2014, said Kirby Stafford, the station’s vice director and chief entomologist. “A lot of people do have their yards sprayed with pesticides, and they are quite effective, because synthetic materials will give you an 85 to 100 percent success rate,” Stafford said. “But there are a special number of people who don’t want to use them. The (organic product) may be slightly less effective, but it’s giving people options. It certainly would fit in to organic land care.” The pesticide is made of the F52 strain of the Metarhizium anisopliae fungus, which occurs naturally in soil. The station tested it on residential properties in northwestern Connecticut and found up to 74 percent fewer ticks after treatment. – For complete article see

Florida 03/04/12 Hernando, Citrus Country: Animal Control Services officers are asking for the public’s help in finding a dog that bit a woman in Hernando. According to officials, a dog approached the female victim and bit her as she walked her dog on East Princeton Lane in Hernando. The dog is described as a tan and white pit bull or boxer. Officials said if the dog is not located, the victim may have to undergo a series of rabies shots. If anyone has any information or know the whereabouts of this dog, please contact Citrus County Animal Services at 352-746-8400 immediately.

North Carolina 03/04/12 Hillsborough, Orange County: A resident in the vicinity of Baldwin and St. Mary’s roads found a dead skunk that tested positive for rabies. The carcass was discovered inside a dog’s pen. See

Delaware Division of Public Health program indicates the PIT BULL is most aggressive DOG breed in the state ~ Wyoming ELK HUNTER attacked by GRIZZLY in Grand Teton National Park ~ Scientists identify FUNGUS that causes BAT disease known as WHITE-NOSE SYNDROME.

Pit Bull. PD. Wikimedia Commons.

Delaware 10/30/11 by Esteban Parra – In Wilmington, it’s not uncommon for residents to be armed when they walk their dogs. Some carry large sticks. Others make sure to have flashlights. For Ken Swann, it’s bear spray — a substance similar to pepper spray that can shoot farther and is more potent. “I will not give up this park,” Swann said about Wilmington’s Canby Park, where he walks his red poodle, Gimli, and Hobbit, his bichon frise. “We kowtowed to them before. We’re not doing it again, and there are a whole lot of people out here that are refusing to give back the park.” Swann and the others say they carry their weapons not to protect themselves from muggers but from pit bulls whose numbers police say have increased in the city, the only municipality in the state with a law regulating how the breed is handled by owners while outdoors.

The increase in the number of pit bulls running freely also motivated police to more actively enforce the legislation that was enacted more than a decade ago. So far, police — who have teamed with animal control from the Delaware Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals for 64 hours since Sept. 15 — have seized 39 pit bulls. Most of the seizures occurred because officers saw people walking dogs that were not muzzled or on a leash as required by the law.

The law was enacted in 2000 to curb problems that Wilmington residents were having with the breed, including dog fighting, dogs that needed to be shot after they threatened neighborhoods and children being attacked as they waited for school buses. In one case, it took 300 stitches to reattach a 4-year-old boy’s ear after a pit bull ripped it off. At that time, problems with pit bulls accounted for at least one-fourth of all animal complaints in Wilmington in the three years before the law was enacted — far more than for any other type of animal. SPCA officers — accompanied by Wilmington police officers — began searching for pit bulls throughout Wilmington and confiscating unregistered dogs anywhere they were found, including in yards and with their owners. Eleven pit bulls were seized in the first few hours of the law’s enforcement on July 25, 2000.


The pit bull breed has the highest number of bites reported for the last four years, according to the Delaware Division of Public Health’s rabies program. The data include all bites reported to the division, not just bite cases in which rabies prophylaxis was provided.


Total dog bites 1,353

Unknown 236

Pit bulls 235

Labs 124

German shepherds 113

Mixed breeds 65


Total dog bites 1,248

Unknown 237

Pit bulls 216

Labs 117

German shepherds 86

Mixed breeds 65


Total dog bites 1,381

Pit bulls 301

Unknown 206

Labs 124

German shepherds 101

Jack Russell terriers 53

2011 (as of Thursday)

Total dog bites 1,174

Pit bulls 251

Unknown 205

Labs 114

German shepherds 101

Mixed breeds 47

Wyoming 10/31/11 A hunter who was attacked by a bear while hunting in Grand Teton National Park was in good condition on Monday. Park officials said Timothy Hix, 32, of Jackson, was expected to be released from St. John’s Medical Center later in the day. Hix told rangers that he surprised what he believed was a grizzly bear about five to 10 yards away south of Glacier View overlook on Sunday. He said the bear ran at him but he wasn’t able to grab his pepper spray, so he dropped to the ground, covered his head and remained still. “He reported that the bear bit him a couple times and might have swiped him,” park spokeswoman Jenny Anzelmo-Sarles said Monday. Park officials said rangers believe the attack was a surprise encounter with a lone grizzly bear but noted that the investigation was still continuing. Grand Teton’s annual elk hunting program began Oct. 8. Hix hadn’t killed any elk before encountering the bear. The hunter responded appropriately to the attack, Anzelmo-Sarles said. “Sounds like he was doing everything right,” she said. “We want to commend him for doing the homework ahead of time.” Grizzlies killed two people in nearby Yellowstone National Park last summer. There have been six bear attacks in the history of Grand Teton National Park, but none have been fatal.

National 10/26/11 News Release by David Tenenbaum – Scientists have proven that the fungus Geomyces destructans causes white-nose syndrome, a fast-spreading and highly lethal disease of bats. Research published in the journal Nature provides the first direct evidence that this fungus is responsible for a disease that is decimating bats in North America.

Research at the USGS National Wildlife Health Center in Madison, by scientists from the U.S. Geological Survey, the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and other institutions, showed that 100 percent of healthy little brown bats exposed to G. destructans developed white-nose syndrome while hibernating in captivity.

Little Brown Bat

White-nose syndrome is a skin infection that often begins around the muzzle, but the exact mechanism of mortality is unknown. “By identifying the causative agent of white-nose syndrome, this study provides information that is critical for developing management strategies to preserve vulnerable bat populations and the ecosystem services that they provide in the U.S. and Canada,” says study author David Blehert, a microbiologist at the Wildlife Health Center, and a honorary fellow at the School of Veterinary Medicine at UW–Madison.

Dr. David Blehert

Insect-eating bats provide ecological services that are estimated to save the U.S. agricultural industry billions of dollars each year in insect-control expenses. (Bats also eat untold numbers of insects that carry West Nile Virus, Eastern Equine Encephalitis, Dengue  and many other pathogens that pose a threat to animal, including human, life.) However, U.S. bat populations have been declining at an alarming rate since 2006, when white-nose syndrome first appeared in New York State. Since then, the fungus has spread southward and westward and has now been found in 16 states and four Canadian provinces.

Bat declines in the Northeast, the most severely affected region in the United States, have already exceeded 80 percent. G. destructans has reached Indiana and Ontario, Canada, and could shortly arrive in Wisconsin according to Jeffrey Lorch, a graduate student in the UW-Madison Molecular and Environmental Toxicology Center, who constributed to the study. Confirming G. destructans as the cause of white-nose syndrome could not only support research into various disease management strategies for bats, Lorch added, but also aid those trying to predict how fast and far it will spread. The results could further help explain why G. destructans is deadly to bats in North America, but not to bats in Europe. – For complete news release see

A virus kills thousands of Black Crappies in Wisconsin; California reports a case of human Rabies; Department of Interior says feds are watching Gray Wolf populations; Virginia county to allow hunting Coyotes and Groundhogs with hi-powered rifles; and Rabies reports from South Carolina, and Virginia.

Black Crappie. Courtesy of U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service.

Wisconsin 05/06/11 by Jeff Starck – Thousands of black crappies on Lake DuBay and the Stevens Point Flowage are dead of a virus and wildlife officials are trying to figure out why the disease is affecting just one species. Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources biologists and fisheries technicians learned of the fish kill April 25 and determined that the cause appears to be a virus primarily affecting 3-year-old black crappies. “(If it was a widespread problem) other fish would be dying,” DNR fisheries biologist Tom Meronek said. “This is just limited to crappies. We’ve seen cases on other bodies of water (in Wisconsin). This might be a similar virus.” The symptoms are not consistent with viral hemorrhagic septicemia, or VHS, a virus that has sickened or killed large numbers of fish in the Great Lakes, according to the DNR. Wisconsin has mandated in recent years that all water must be drained from boats to prevent the spread of VHS and other viruses and diseases.

Black Crappie

Live fish were taken from both bodies of water for testing, Meronek said. It will be several weeks before the DNR Fish Health Lab in Madison has results. The sickened fish aren’t likely to bite anglers’ hooks, Meronek said. They likely will have lesions or look sick, and he doesn’t advise eating them. In Lake DuBay, the kill has been widespread and has covered many areas of the water with concentrations of dead fish, particularly along Seagull Drive in the town of Knowlton and extending south. In the Stevens Point Flowage, fish were reported dying Sunday. The fish kill there also is widespread and affects crappie in the 3- to 4-year-old range.

Biologists also are trying to determine why some of the fish have a fungus on their dorsal fins. Du Bay Property Owners Association Kevin Coleman was not aware of the fish kill when asked Thursday by a reporter. Coleman said he saw a number of dead fish last weekend during a fishing tournament, but the fish were small and he did not think the fish were crappies. “I didn’t think much of it at the time,” Coleman said. Coleman said he already had plans to meet next week with association board members and plans to discuss the fish kill with them.

California 05/07/11 by Allison Edrington – Local public health officials were informed Friday that a Willow Creek resident has tested positive for rabies and was sent to a Sacramento-area hospital. According to a Humboldt County Department of Health and Human Services, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention reported the infection. Rabies is caused by a virus that is transmitted through the saliva and neural tissue of infected animals, and state and local officials are contacting people who may have been exposed and encouraging people to seek treatment. Further information on the patient was unavailable.

Upper Midwest 05/06/11 by Rob Chaney – Thursday’s announcement that gray wolves are back under state management in Montana and Idaho also included a warning: The federal government is watching. “We will continue monitoring gray wolves to ensure those populations remain robust,” Deputy Secretary of the Interior David Hayes said during a news conference call. “We will continue to follow the Endangered Species Act in Montana and Idaho.” That was welcome news to the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks. Agency spokesman Ron Aasheim said the department’s wolf management program was closely linked to support from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. “The vast majority of our money has been federal money,” Aasheim said. “That’s paid for management, staff and wolf specialists in the field. We know we have money through September. Now we’re working to secure money for the future.” Between 2000 and 2009, FWP has spent $2.3 million in federal contract dollars for wolf programs. It also paid $110,000 a year to the federal Wildlife Services agency to kill wolves suspected in livestock depredations. And in 2009, the one year it got to offer a public wolf hunt, FWP took in $325,935 in wolf license revenue. All that money went into the agency’s general license fund. The federal government has been responsible for wolf populations since 1974, when the animal was listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act. In 1995 and ’96, FWS transplanted small groups of Canadian wolves in and around Yellowstone National Park. Today, there are roughly 1,700 wolves in Montana, Idaho and Wyoming, plus a few dozen in parts of Washington, Oregon and Utah. (For complete report go to )

Virginia 05/06/11 Louisa County Supervisors are trying to tackle a growing problem affecting farmers there. The coyote population is getting out of control. Coyotes are classified as a nuisance animal by the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries. County supervisors voted this week to allow farmers to use high powered rifles to shoot them down. The unanimous vote to amend the hunting ordinance allows people to use rifles larger than point 22 caliber to shoot coyotes and groundhogs outside the general deer firearms season. Supervisors say it’s in the county’s best interest to control them, but one wildlife expert says coyotes have been a problem for years and will continue to be, despite this law change. Ed Clark, of the Wildlife


Center of Virginia said, “So they’re here. There’s nothing we’re going to be able to do about it. We are not going to get rid of them, so people that fantasize about shooting them all, they’re just pretty well deluding themselves.” According to the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, coyotes pose a threat to sheep and other livestock, as well as to smaller animals including dogs and cats.

South Carolina 05/06/11 by Rebecca Ryan – The Charleston Animal Society confirmed two cases of rabiesthis week.  So far in South Carolina, DHEC reports there have been 28 cases with a third of them in the

Gray fox

Tri-county region. Officials at DHEC say raccoons, fox, skunks, and bats are the most common carriers. Coyotes are also known carriers.

Virginia 05/06/11 A fox found on Western Branch Boulevard in Chesapeake was killed after it tested positive for rabies. A visitor traveling through the area was exposed to the fox and is currently receiving rabies treatment, according to the Chesapeake Health Department. This is the 81st confirmed case of rabies in Chesapeake since 1988 – three cats, two bats, 59 raccoons, and 16 foxes. If you have a wild animal on your property, contact the Virginia Dept. of Game and Inland Fisheries at (804) 829-6580.

Bats Are A Vital Link To Our Ecology.


by Nancy O’Donnell, October 30, 2010. Albany Times Union

(This article is a week late for Halloween, but well worth reading anyway.  JG)

 Halloween weekend is a good time to discuss the truth about the little, flying mammals of the night sky.

So what do you know about bats? Did you even know that they’re mammals? They are the only true flying mammal; sorry, but flying squirrels actually glide.

Bats are warm-blooded and have either fur or hair. They birth their young live — no egg-laying for them — and the moms nurse their babies.

Baby Eastern Red Bat. Phot Credit magpie-moon.

Baby bats are referred to as “pups” and are born bald, usually in early summer. Mating occurs in the fall, but here’s a cool fact: The female safely stores the sperm in her body until spring, when fertilization actually takes place.

Bats don’t build nests. Instead, they create roosts: places where they hang upside- down and sleep. Depending on the species, roosts can

Roosting Brown Bats. Photo Credit Univ of Alberta, Canada.

be found in caves, under bridges, in the crevices of trees, in buildings, and, of course, in attics.

Pregnant females often roost together in what has been dubbed a nursery roost; hundreds can roost at one time. Almost immediately after birth, these mini mammals have the ability to hang upside-down. Within a month’s time, they are flying and hunting on their own, and no longer relying on mom.

Bats are an integral part of our ecological system. The diet of many bat species is strictly insects, and lots of them. A single bat can consume nearly its body weight in insects a night; that’s thousands of insects in an evening’s flight.

These are insects that would otherwise be biting us, spreading diseases or wreaking havoc on food crops. Some bats dine on pollen, fruit, small amphibians and an occasional slurp of blood.

Vampire (blood-drinking) bats live in Latin America. They don’t suck the blood; they prick their sleeping victim (usually animals) and allow the blood to pool, and then they drink it.

When its victim wakes up, the small puncture wounds have scabbed over, and the animal can go about its day.

As for rabies, Bat Conservation International says that over the last 50 years, only 48 people in the United States have contracted rabies because of a bat bite, putting your chance right up there with winning the lottery.

Bats are not blind, as many folks believe. Rather than use their eyes at night, they have a built-in sonar system called echolocation. They send out a high-frequency screech that our ears can’t detect. The sound waves bounce off objects in front of the bat. When the waves return, and the bat is able to create a “picture” of objects, insects and predators from the echoes.

When insect populations dwindle in late fall, bats go into hibernation until spring. Bats that lived to a ripe old age of 30 or more years were not uncommon until now.

Little Brown Bat with fungus on muzzle. Photo by Al Hicks, New York Dept of Environmental Conservation.

While they hibernate during the winter, a fungal infection called white nose syndrome is rapidly overtaking the little brown bat found in New York. As a result, the species could be extinct in as little as 25 years.

In 2009, Scientific American reported the first discovery of the disease here in the United States in Howe Caverns in Upstate New York. Cavers who took photos of hibernating bats there found something white and fuzzy covering their muzzles and wings. Numerous dead bats also were found on the cave’s floor. The New York Department of Conservation has since recorded 1 million bat cases in New York alone.

The disease disorients the bat. It wakes up from its slumber while it’s still winter and burns through its stored fat reserves. That leaves the bat with a low body-fat concentration for the remainder of the cold months, resulting in starvation or death by freezing. The disease is highly infectious, has caused the death of entire colonies of bats within one winter, and is moving throughout the southern states and north into Canada.

The bacterium that causes white nose fungus is believed to be spread by bat droppings that get picked up unknowingly by other bats or on the clothing or boots of spelunkers.

A cure has not been found. But without help, the little brown bat and eight other species of North American bats face extinction, and the result of their demise on the environment will be staggering.

Sadly, it is the little bat that should fear us and not the other way around.

Visit Bat Conservation International’s website ( for more information and to learn how to help.