Category Archives: Legislation

CHRONIC WASTING DISEASE spreads to Ellis County in KANSAS ~ CALIFORNIA issues first WEST NILE VIRUS advisory of 2013 ~ CDC study finds DENGUE FEVER has returned to FLORIDA ~ MARYLAND resident dies of RABIES ~ Other RABIES reports from AL, GA, NM, NC, & TX.

White-tailed deer fawn. Courtesy National Park Service.

White-tailed deer fawn. Courtesy National Park Service.

Kansas 03/10/13 by Michael Pearce – Four Kansas deer recently tested positive for chronic wasting disease (CWD), according to Shane Hesting, Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism disease biologist. The department has been testing for the disease that’s always fatal in deer, but has never been found in livestock or humans, for about 15 years. Hesting said the deer came from Ellis, Norton, Sherman and Trego counties. It’s the first such case from Ellis County. CWD was first found in a lone deer in Cheyenne County, in extreme northwest Kansas, in 2005. It’s since moved steadily eastward and southward. To date 52 Kansas animals have tested positive for the disease from more than 20,000 tested. – For complete article see

West Nile Virus (WNV):

west-nile-banner357California 03/04/13 Los Angeles County: This is the first West Nile virus (WNV) public health advisory for 2013. A dead American Crow from the City of Lomita has tested positive for WNV. This is the first positive dead bird for WNV in California for 2013. This early positive may be an indicator that WNV in Los Angeles County and California for 2013 is off to the same high activity found in 2012. There were 479 human cases and 19 deaths in California for 2012. – See

imagesCAR6PIM5Texas 03/121/13 by Terrence Stutz – The Texas Senate has passed a bill that allows municipal officials to enter abandoned or foreclosed properties to treat pools of stagnant water for mosquitoes known to carry West Nile Virus. Last summer 36 people died of WNV infection within a four-county area of northern Texas. The bill now goes to the Texas House. – See
Dengue Fever:

map_florida_keys_r1_c1Florida 03/13/13 by Michaeleen Doucleff –  After a 60-year hiatus, the mosquito-borne illness dengue fever has now officially re-established itself (in the Florida Keys). People infected during a recent outbreak in Florida didn’t catch the virus abroad but rather got a strain that’s unique to Key West, virologists at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report Wednesday in the journal Emerging Infectious Disease. The virus has been circulating around the Key West population for at least two years, the researchers say, and it has evolved its own genetic fingerprint, distinct from dengue in Central America and the Caribbean. Also known as “breakbone fever,” dengue causes pounding headache, high fever and such severe joint pain that you feel like your bones are — well, breaking. There’s no vaccine or cure. – For complete article see


imagesCAAU0V7ZMaryland 03/12/13 by Scott Dance – State health officials have confirmed that for the first time in 36 years a Maryland resident has died of rabies. It is not yet known how the individual contracted the disease but officials are investigating how and where the person might have been exposed, and assessing the risk of exposure to the person’s family members and others. According to Dr. Katherine Feldman, state public health veterinarian, rabies can be transmitted by saliva even if the host of the virus is not yet showing symptoms. Last year, 324 animals tested positive for the virus in Maryland, most in Frederick and Montgomery counties and the City of Baltimore. – See,0,1434749.story

Other Rabies Reports:

raccoon-mom-and-baby-0567Alabama 03/12/13 Houston County: A raccoon found March 8 on Timbers Drive in Dothan has tested positive for rabies. A home owner found the animal dead after it fought with her dogs. – See

imagesCAGN6RWMGeorgia 03/13/13 Hall County: A Rabies Alert has been issued after a skunk that came in contact with a dog in the vicinity of Lawson Road in North Hall tested positive for the virus. – See

New Mexico 03/13/13 Colfax County: State health officials have confirmed that a raccoon seen behaving erratically in downtown Raton has tested roadtrip-raccoonspositive for rabies. – See

North Carolina 03/13/13 New Hanover County: Two families are receiving post-exposure rabies treatments after their dogs killed raccoons that tested positive for the virus. The incidents occurred separately in Wilmington on March 11th in the 5000 block of Park Avenue, and on Banyan Trail. All of the dogs involved were vaccinated. – See

skunk245mn2Texas 03/12/13 Tarrant County: Two skunks found recently in separate areas of Grapevine have tested positive for rabies. The first was found in the vicinity of Tamarack Court and the second in the vicinity of Circle View Court. – See

CANADA: WINNIPEG camper using outhouse attacked by BLACK BEAR at ONTARIO campsite ~ CALIFORNIA officers kill MOUNTAIN LION in downtown Santa Monica ~ OHIO enacts NEW LAW defining “nuisance” DOGS ~ RABIES reports from GA (2), NC, SC, & VA ~ CDC REPORTS: ZOONOTIC DISEASE summary for week ending May 12, 2012.

Black bear. Photo by Kentucky Fish & Wildlife.’=


Ontario 05/22/12 A Winnipeg man had quite a personal encounter with a black bear that dragged him out of an outhouse in a northwestern Ontario campsite over the weekend. The 65-year-old man and his friend, a 63-year-old man also from Winnipeg, were camping and fishing at Dunbar Lake north of Sioux Lookout, Ont., when the attack took place early Saturday morning, according to Ontario Provincial Police. “The man was in the outhouse and was startled by this bear,” Sgt. David Pinchin of the Sioux Lookout OPP told CBC News on Tuesday. “The bear reached in and grabbed him by the arm and dragged him out and proceeded to bite him and slash at him.” Pinchin said the victim suffered a bite in the back of his head and several scratches on his head, neck and arms. However, the bear did not fare so well in the encounter. Pinchin said the man’s friend heard the commotion and came to the rescue by shooting and killing the bear.Top of FormBottom of Form “His fishing partner that was up there with him heard the screaming and the shouting … and he got his gun that he had with him and dispatched the bear,” he said.

The victim was treated for non-life-threatening injuries at hospital in Sioux Lookout and released. Sioux Lookout is located about 430 kilometres east of Winnipeg. Pinchin said there has been more bear activity than normal this spring in the Sioux Lookout area, possibly due to the early onset of spring. Police are warning area residents to keep their garbage indoors. People spending time outdoors should keep a clear exit path open if they encounter a bear, they added.

California 05/22/12 Santa Monica, Los Angeles County: A mountain lion that strolled along Arizona Avenue and ended up in the courtyard of an office building in the 1200 block of 2nd Street was killed this morning after Fish & Game agents were unable to tranquilize it. – See

Ohio 05/21/12 In accordance with a new state law that takes effect on May 22nd, “if a dog kills another dog or causes injury to a person, it will be legally classified as “dangerous,” forcing its owner to pay a $50 annual fee, spay or neuter and microchip the dog, ensure rabies shots, chain-link fence its living space and buy a dog tag and yard signs warning of its new status. If a dog seriously injures or kills a person, however, it will be legally classified as “vicious,” and thereafter, without a judge’s pardon, euthanized. Also as of tomorrow, Ohio law will no longer automatically classify Pit Bulls as dangerous.”  – See

Georgia 05/21/12 Lee County: A fox that bit a resident of Ledo Road and a responding deputy has tested positive for rabies. Both men are receiving post-exposure rabies treatments. The resident said he was feeding his cats when the fox came at him from nearby bushes. – See

Georgia 05/21/12 Beaufort and Hampton counties: A rabies alert has been issued for two counties after a baby raccoon in Hampton County tested positive for the virus. There have been three cases in Beaufort County. – See

North Carolina 05/21/12 Newport, Carteret County: A bat found in a home in the N. Railroad Street area on May 16th has tested positive for rabies. The bat was one of two found floating in the water bowl of two pet dogs, both vaccinated. – See

South Carolina 05/21/12 Aiken, Aiken County: A fox that bit a woman on May 18th has tested positive for rabies. – See

Virginia 05/21/12 Lynchburg: A fox captured near an Old Forest Road apartment complex May 18th has tested positive for rabies. Officials believe the animal was in the area because residents were putting food out. – See

CDC Reports:

CDC MMWR Summary for Week ending May 12, 2012:

Published May 18, 2012/ 61(19); ND-255-ND-268

Anaplasmosis . . . 11 . . . Maine, New York (8), Rhode Island, Vermont,

Brucellosis . . . 1 . . . California, 

Ehrlichiosis . . . 4 . . . Alabama, Maryland, Missouri, Virginia,

Giardiasis . . . 116 . . . Alaska (2), Arkansas, California (22), Florida (27), Iowa, Maine (3), Maryland (5), Michigan (2), Montana, Nebraska (4), Nevada, New York (14), Ohio (9), Oregon (4), Pennsylvania (5), Virginia (2), Washington (12), Wisconsin,

Lyme Disease . . .  203. . .  Connecticut (3), Delaware, Maryland (56), New Jersey (61), New York (41), Ohio, Pennsylvania (28), Rhode Island, Tennessee, Vermont (3), Virginia (6), Washington,

Q Fever (Acute) . . . 3 . . . California, Colorado, North Carolina,

Rabies (Animal) . . . 43. . . Arkansas (3), Illinois, Maine, New Hampshire, New York (12), Oklahoma (13), Texas (7), Virginia (5),

Spotted Fever including Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever (Confirmed) . . . 3. . . Georgia (2), New York,

Spotted Fever including Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever (Probable) . . . 25 . . . Alabama (3), Arkansas, Kentucky (2), Maryland, Michigan, Missouri (7), Ohio, Tennessee (5), Virginia (3), Wyoming,

Tularemia . . . 1 . . . Nebraska.


Wild horses of coastal North Carolina. Photo by Tania Gail. Wikimedia Commons.

North Carolina 05/07/12 by Laura Beil – Come summer, the beaches of this barrier island will be choked with cars and sunbathers, but in the off-season the land is left to wild horses. Smallish, tending toward chestnut and black, they wander past deserted vacation rentals in harems of five or six. Thousands of them once roamed the length of the Outer Banks of North Carolina, the likely descendants from mounts that belonged to Spanish explorers five centuries ago. Now their numbers have dwindled to a few hundred, the best known living on federal parkland at Shackleford Banks. But the largest herd, which has recently grown to almost 140 strong, occupies more than 7,500 acres of narrow land that stretches from the end of Highway 12 in Corolla (pronounced cor-AH-la) to the Virginia border, 11 miles north. Lacking natural predators, and trapped by fences that jut into the choppy Atlantic, the herd is becoming so inbred that its advocates fear a genetic collapse in mere generations.

Photo by Joye. Wikimedia Commons.

These supporters are leading a campaign to save the Corolla herd, and they have powerful allies in Congress. In February, the House passed a bill that would sustain the herd at about 120 and allow the importing of new mares from Shackleford for an introduction of fresh genes. Wildlife conservationists say the issue is not so simple. The beaches, marshes, grasslands and forests near Corolla are a stopover for flocks of endangered migratory birds, and nesting ground for sea turtles. Much of the horses’ range belongs to the Currituck National Wildlife Refuge, and defenders of the native habitat fear the herd’s current size strains the ecosystem. The future of the horses raises larger questions about whether one animal should be preserved at the expense of others — and who gets to decide. – For complete article see

California 05/09/12 Lake Elsinore, Riverside County: Resident saves pet dog pulled through fence and nearly killed by coyotes. – See

New Hampshire 05/09/12 Manchester, Hillsborough County: A coyote that bites a woman’s foot, attacks a dog, and jumps on cars remains at large and is hanging out in the vicinity of the Ledgewood retirement community. – See

California 05/08/12 Watsonville, Santa Cruz County: A sick bat picked up in the 500 block of East Beach Street has tested positive for rabies. – See

New Mexico 05/07/12 Curry County: A skunk that bit two unvaccinated dogs southeast of Clovis on County Road E has tested positive for rabies. One adult dog and four puppies had to be euthanized. – See

North Carolina 05/08/12 Wilmington, New Hanover County: Two raccoons, one in a downtown business establishment on Market Street, and another that fought with a dog in the Shorewood Hills Drive area, have both tested positive for rabies. – See

South Carolina 05/08/12 Edgefield County: A dead fox found in the county has tested positive for rabies. – See–3984939

WISCONSIN legislative WOLF hunting bill places science, religion, and politics at odds ~ CANADA: MOUNTAIN LION attacks DOG walking with owners near ALBERTA’S Banff National Park ~ ONTARIANS alerted to recent rash of COYOTE attacks on PETS.

Gray Wolf. Courtesy U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service.

Wisconsin 03/12/12 by James Gorman – Once again, science, religion and politics have become entwined in a thorny public policy debate. This time, however, the discussion is not about abortion, birth control or health insurance mandates. It’s about wolves. Specifically, a bill in the Wisconsin Legislature to authorize a hunting season on wolves. The State Senate has approved it, and the Assembly is set to consider the bill on Tuesday. Hunters approve of the season, and Republicans are all for it, as are some Democrats. Wildlife biologists have a number of criticisms and suggestions about the bill involving how, when and how many wolves should be killed. But the Great Lakes Indian Fish and Game Commission, which represents 11 tribes of the Ojibwe (also known as the Chippewa, or Anishinaabe) in Wisconsin, Minnesota and Michigan, opposes the hunt on the basis of religious principle and tradition.

In written testimony presented to both legislative houses, James Zorn, the executive administrator of the commission, said, “In the Anishinaabe creation story we are taught that Ma’iingan (wolf) is a brother to Original man.” He continued, “The health and survival of the Anishinaabe people is tied to that of Ma’iingan.” For that reason the tribes are opposed to a public hunt. Joe Rose Sr., a professor emeritus of Native American studies at Northland College in Ashland, Wis., and an elder of the Bad River Band, said in an interview that he saw a collision of world views. “We don’t have stories like Little Red Riding Hood, or the Three Little Pigs, or the werewolves of Transylvania,” he said. Wolf, or Ma’iingan, is a sacred creature, and so even keeping the population of wolves to minimum levels runs counter to traditional beliefs.

Leech Lake Ojibwe delegation to Washington 1899. PD. Wikimedia Commons.

The opposition of the Ojibwe to the hunt may not swing a vote, but it is not a small matter. The Ojibwe have significant rights in lands that were once theirs, lands that, in Wisconsin, amount to about the northern third of the state. That, of course, is where most of Wisconsin’s wolves live. Peter David, a conservation biologist with the Indian Fish and Game Commission, said that court settlements on treaty rights mean that the tribes must be consulted about decisions like the wolf hunt, and they were not. Also, he said, “the tribes can legally lay claim to half of the biological harvest.” What that could mean for a wolf hunt that the tribes oppose is not clear. What is clear is that the opposition of the Ojibwe is more like objections to funding for abortions or birth control than it is the calculations of scientists, not in political tone, but in its essence. All the other arguments center on numbers, practicality and consequences. How much damage do wolves do to livestock? How effective is this kind of hunt in reducing those depredations? How many wolves should be killed?

The original goal, set once it was clear that wolves were coming back in the state, on their own, was 350 wolves. With protection, the wolf population has grown to about 800. Adrian Treves, an associate professor of environmental studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, says that the carrying capacity of the state is probably about 1,000. Dr. Treves has also testified about the bill. He would like to see fixes — for instance, ruling out hunting with dogs. But he sees the issue as one of wildlife management. Mr. Zorn said in his testimony that for the Ojibwe, “wolf recovery does not hinge primarily upon some minimum number of animals comprising the current wolf population.” Rather, he said, the goal is “the healthiest and most abundant future for our brother and ourselves.” Mr. Rose put it this way: “We see the wolf as a predictor of our future. And what happens to wolf happens to Anishinaabe.” And, he said, “whether other people see it or not, the same will happen to them.”


Alberta 03/12/12 by Tony Seskus – Excerpt: “This is cougar country. Locals were reminded of that fact again this past week after a cougar attacked a family dog out for an evening walk with its owner and another dog. The owner, Dave Weighell, kicked, yelled and chased off the cougar. The dog didn’t suffer major injuries, but the incident still had the town buzzing. “All of a sudden it makes it really real,” said Kim Titchener of Bow Valley WildSmart, an organization that works to reduce conflict between people and wildlife. “To have it actually happen downtown in your community is a lot scarier than having it happen on a trail or out there in the backcountry,” Titchener added. Canmore, located about 100 kilometres west of Calgary and a short drive from Banff National Park, is a community where residents are accustomed to living with nature on their doorstep.” – For complete article see

Ontario 03/13/12 Officials have received a number of reports about coyotes attacking pets in the last few weeks. Families are being urged to keep a close watch on small children, and to keep pets inside at night. See

MICHIGAN to ban FERAL SWINE sporting operations if Legislature fails to pass regulations ~ CDC says new INFLUENZA VIRUS discovered in GUATEMALAN FRUIT BATS probably not a threat to HUMANS ~ RABIES reports from GEORGIA (2), KANSAS, NEW MEXICO, NORTH CAROLINA (2), PENNSYLVANIA, SOUTH CAROLINA, TEXAS, & VIRGINIA (2).

Wild Boar. Photo by Richard Bartz. Wikimedia Commons.

Michigan 02/29/12 The statewide ban on feral swine is scheduled to take effect on April 1, but Department of Natural Resources officials say the industry could still be saved if the legislature passes a law regulating the industry before then. Officials estimate there are about 35 sporting swine operations in the state–some are breeders, some are game ranches. The DNR says 10 of those operations are located in the U.P. (Upper Peninsula), but there could be more because until now, the industry has been unregulated without any reporting requirements.

So what exactly are feral swine? Some are wild boar and some are simply domestic pigs that escaped into the wild and interbred with the wild boar. Most are between 100 and 200 pounds, but some have weighed in at over 500 pounds. They’re considered an intelligent animal, good swimmers, and quick runners. The wild boar originated in Europe and Asia, and came to the United States, as best we can tell, in the late 19th century. They were brought here for sporting purposes. As many as four million feral swine (both the original boar and the pigs that have interbred with them) may now populate the U.S., but most are in the South, Texas in particular. The so-called razorback of Arkansas is a feral swine.

Michigan has an estimated 1500-3000 feral swine, most of them downstate. The DNR believes they may have been introduced into the state as recently as 15 years ago. They look different from the domestic pig. They have thick, bristly coats, longer legs, a narrow head and snout, and a distinctive, prominent ridge of hair on their spine (hence, the name razorback). Their meat is said to be tasty and they’re considered a good sporting breed. So what’s the problem? Why are they being banned in Michigan? “They can transmit disease to humans,” explains Debbie Munson Badini, a spokesperson for the Department of Natural Resources. “And that includes toxoplasmosis and trichinosis. They also damage our livestock, specifically pigs, with brucellosis, peudo-rabies and tuberculosis.” She points out that a local meat processor recently came down with bacterial meningitis after processing wild boar meat. And the damage, she says, goes beyond that. Feral swine tear up crops and trees. They can driver farmers crazy. So why not just ban the swine in the wild, but leave the gaming operations alone?

That could happen, Badini says, if the state legislature decides to act. The DNR, she emphasizes, isn’t out to destroy the businesses of breeders and ranchers. “It is a concern,” she says. “We’re not happy about that but we have to look at the bigger picture in our state. The damage is huge.” There’s the concern also that the swine at gaming ranches can escape. They’re known to be resourceful animals. Whether the legislature and the DNR can be just as resourceful in preserving an industry while ridding the state of a pest, remains to be seen.

Little yellowshouldered bat. Photo by Tobusaru. Wikimedia Commons.

Global 02/27/12 News Release – A new influenza A virus discovered in fruit bats in Guatemala does not appear to present a current threat to humans, but should be studied as a potential source for human influenza, according to scientists from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention who worked with University of the Valley of Guatemala. The study was published today in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. “This is the first time an influenza virus has been identified in bats, but in its current form the virus is not a human health issue,” said Dr. Suxiang Tong, team lead of the Pathogen Discovery Program in CDC’s Division of Viral Diseases and lead author of the study.  “The study is important because the research has identified a new animal species that may act as a source of flu viruses.”

For the bat influenza virus to infect humans, it would need to obtain some genetic properties of human influenza viruses. This can occur in nature through a process called reassortment. Reassortment occurs when two or more influenza viruses infect a single host cell, which allows the viruses to swap genetic information. Reassortment is a complicated chain of events that can sometimes lead to the emergence of new influenza viruses in humans. Preliminary CDC research on the new virus suggests that its genes are compatible with human influenza viruses.  “Fortunately, initial laboratory testing suggests the new virus would need to undergo significant changes to become capable of infecting and spreading easily among humans,” said Dr. Ruben Donis, chief of the Molecular Virology and Vaccines Branch in CDC’s Influenza Division and a study co–author.  “A different animal – such as a pig, horse or dog –would need to be capable of being infected with both this new bat influenza virus and human influenza viruses for reassortment to occur.”

Dr. Ruben Donis

Bat influenza viruses are known only to infect little yellow–shouldered bats, which are common in Central and South America and are not native to the United States.  CDC works with global disease experts to monitor influenza viruses that circulate in animals, which could affect humans.  Previous pandemics of the 20th century, as well as the 2009 H1N1 pandemic, were caused by influenza viruses in animals that gained the ability to infect and spread easily in humans. For more information about CDC’s global disease detection and emergency response activities, please see Influenza related information, including influenza in animals, is available at To view the study, please visit

Georgia 02/28/12 Hall County: A skunk that was in contact with a dog on Campbell Road has tested positive for rabies. See

Georgia 02/27/12 Milton, Fulton County: A dead raccoon found in the Freemanville Road area last week has tested positive for rabies. See

Kansas 02/29/12 Saline County: A horse has tested positive for rabies. It is the seventh case of the virus confirmed in animals statewide this year. See

New Mexico 02/29/12 Carlsbad, Eddy County: The New Mexico Department of Health says 32 pet dogs from the Carlsbad area have been euthanized since December because they were exposed to known rabid animals and weren’t vaccinated against rabies. With the exception of puppies that were too young to be fully vaccinated, all of these deaths could have been prevented. Rabies vaccination of dogs and cats is mandated by state law. State health officials say that in addition to dogs, a number of livestock and at least one cat also have been euthanized due to rabies exposures. Eddy County is currently experiencing an animal rabies outbreak. Officials say 22 skunks, one dog, and one fox have tested positive for rabies in the Carlsbad area since December.

North Carolina 02/29/12 Iredell County: Officials say a second case of rabies has been confirmed in the county involving a raccoon that came in contact with an unvaccinated dog on Triplett Road east of Statesville. See

North Carolina 02/27/12 New Hanover County: Health officials have confirmed the county’s fourth case of rabies this year in a raccoon captured after fighting with two dogs along Horne Place Drive. See

Pennsylvania 02/29/12 Horsham, Montgomery County: A bat killed by a pet dog has tested positive for rabies. See

South Carolina 02/27/12 Walhalla, Oconee County: A man is receiving PEP rabies treatments after being exposed to a raccoon that tested positive for rabies. See|mostpopular|text|NEWS

Texas 02/28/12 Lindale, Smith County: A skunk found near the 13000 block of CR 4200 has tested positive for rabies. See

Virginia 02/27/12 Pittsylvania County: A raccoon that scratched an individual and several pets in the Museville Road area has tested positive for rabies. See

Virginia 02/28/12 Amherst County: A 2-year-old pet dog that had not been vaccinated for rabies and was acting strangely had to be euthanized and it tested positive for the virus. Family members are receiving PEP rabies treatments. See

Federal agents kill 14 WOLVES in IDAHO to help ELK recovery ~ CALIFORNIA MOUNTAIN LION sightings ~ NEW HAMPSHIRE teen attacked by COYOTE thought to have RABIES ~ NEW YORK lawmakers issue report on EASTERN EQUINE ENCEPHALITIS ~ Health officials confirm first WEST NILE VIRUS report in CALIFORNIA’S Los Angeles County this year.

Elk. Photo by Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.

Idaho 02/23/12 by Eric Barker – Federal wildlife agents shot and killed 14 wolves from helicopters in Idaho’s remote Lolo Zone earlier this month. The three-day operation, aimed at reducing the number of wolves roaming the backcountry area where elk herds are struggling, was carried out in a partnership between the federal Wildlife Services agency and the Idaho Department of Fish and Game. Wildlife managers hope a sustained reduction in wolf numbers will allow the Lolo elk herd, which has been severely depressed since the mid 1990s, to rebound. “We’d like to see one of Idaho’s premier elk populations recover as much as possible,” said Jim Unsworth, deputy director of the department at Boise. The department has long had a goal of reducing the number of wolves in the area along the upper Lochsa and North Fork Clearwater rivers, once renowned for its elk hunting.

The agency first sought permission in 2006 from federal wildlife managers to kill 40 to 50 wolves that at the time were still under the protection of the Endangered Species Act. The state failed to win permission then and eventually gave up in favor of seeking the overall delisting of wolves. Delisting occurred in 2009 and a wolf hunting season was authorized. Hunters killed 13 wolves in the zone that year, far fewer than wildlife managers hoped for. Following the hunting season, wolves were briefly returned to federal management. They were delisted for a second time in the spring of 2011 and the department quickly approved a control action that resulted in six wolves being shot using helicopters. Hunting resumed in the fall and trapping started in November. Through Wednesday, hunters and trappers had taken 22 wolves from the Lolo, bringing the total known wolf kills there to 42 and in line with the department’s plan for the area.

Elk herds tanked in the Lolo Zone during the harsh winter of 1996-97. But numbers had been on the decline for many years prior. Biologists said the biggest problem was a long-term change in the habitat, but they also blamed growing numbers of bears and mountain lions. Hunting seasons on those predators were liberalized and managers expected elk numbers to slowly climb. But the herds continued to shrink and blame was placed on the increasing number of wolves moving into the area. According to recent studies by researchers from the department, wolves are the primary cause of death in female elk in the Lolo and of calves more than 6 months old. Researchers have said the habitat is capable of supporting far more than the 2,000 elk estimated to be in the area. – For complete article see

California 02/23/12 by Charles Burress – An El Cerrito resident reported two mountain lion sightings on Feb. 21, and sightings were also reported in San Mateo and Los Altos. See

New Hampshire 02/23/12 Hopkinton, Merrimack County: A teenager in Hopkinton was attacked by a possibly rabid coyote Wednesday, New Hampshire Fish and Game said. Jed Aubertin, 15, said he was walking the family dog in a wooded area near his home when the coyote approached him. Aubertin said that as a hunter, he see coyotes all the time, but the way this one came at him was different, so he kicked his dog and told it to go home. When the dog left, the coyote attacked. The teen said he punched the coyote in the nose until it left. “He was down because I punched him right in the side of the head pretty hard for three or four seconds,” Aubertin said. “He got back up, and I didn’t know what to do, so he kept jumping at my throat, so I just kept hitting him by the teeth, and I messed up my knuckles pretty good. But eventually he just limped off, and I yelled at him and he went back in to the woods.” He was scratched and possibly bitten by the coyote and is receiving a course of rabies shots as a precaution.

Fish and Game Department officials said the attack is highly unusual and it is the first time they know of that a coyote has attacked a person in the state. A local dog was attacked earlier in the week, and officials suspect it is the same coyote. Officials said residents should be aware of any coyotes that display any interest in humans, whether friendly or aggressive. When expressing normal behavior, coyotes show no interest in humans, officials said. If someone sees a coyote, Fish and Game biologist Pat Tate recommended yelling at it to instill fear.

New York 02/23/12 Recent summer outbreaks of the potentially fatal disease eastern equine encephalitis, or EEE, spurred state lawmakers to examine the problem in New York, and they have issued their report. The 93-page document, including 13 specific recommendations to improve the state and local response to the virus, is the result of a roundtable last fall, sponsored by the Senate Committees on Agriculture, chaired by Senator Patty Ritchie of Heuvelton, and Health, chaired by Senator Kemp Hannon. Sen. Ritchie’s interest in the issue was inspired by the death last year of a 4-year-old Oswego County girl, the third fatality in three years caused by the mosquito borne virus. Oswego County is at the southern end of Ritchie’s 48th Senate District, which includes western St. Lawrence County and Jefferson County.

NY State Sen. Patty Ritchie

“The death of Maggie Sue Wilcox last summer focused the public’s attention on the problem of EEE which, while not unique to Central New York, appears to have hit this region especially hard and with tragic consequences,” Ritchie said. “In response, my roundtable brought together the experts and officials charged with protecting human, as well as animal life, to try to find ways to prevent additional loss of life.” “It’s already produced positive results, by gaining a commitment from the state and county to more aggressively attack the problem, improve communication and cooperation to reduce the risk and save lives. The recommendations in this report build on that commitment in the hope that we can prevent another tragedy,” Ritchie said.

Among the recommendations is one for New York to work with the 19 other states impacted by EEE to make development of a human vaccine a priority. Also recommended is a horse registry, better efforts at early detection of the mosquito-borne virus, updating the Health Department’s mosquito disease control plans, a the possibility of the state picking up more of the costs of aerial spraying. Ritchie said that she was reviewing possible legislation to implement some of the recommendations. The report can be seen at

California 02/22/12 Westlake Village, Los Angeles County: For the first time this year, a dead crow found in the county has tested positive for West Nile Virus. See

TEXAS wardens shoot BOBCAT in residential area ~ OREGON House votes to authorize killing of two ranch-raiding WOLVES ~ TEXAS city hires private contractor to deal with COYOTE issue ~ RABIES reports from ARKANSAS, FLORIDA, & SOUTH CAROLINA ~ GLOBAL: WHO calls for publication of new H5N1 BIRD FLU VIRUS studies ~ TRAVEL WARNINGS: Health Minister of BRAZIL warns Rio facing DENGUE epidemic as Carnival frenzy begins.

Bobcat. Photo by Maine Wildlife Park,

Texas 02/19/12 by Hayley Kappes – Texas Parks and Wildlife Department game wardens shot and killed a bobcat just before 6 p.m. Saturday that they said was behaving erratically in a Central El Paso backyard. Game Warden Ray Spears said initial reports stated a mountain lion was in a backyard near Raynolds and Bataan, but it was a bobcat. The animal was not afraid of humans and was behaving as if it were sick, which is a concern since bobcats are rabies carriers, Spears said. “It’s not something that could have been trapped or tranquilized,” Spears said. “When we can tranquilize or trap a wild animal, we try to do that, but it displayed unnatural behavior. It wasn’t scared of humans. Sometimes when they get sick, they’re not scared of humans.” Animal control officials will test the carcass for rabies. It’s not unusual for wild animals seeking food and water to wander into the city during a drought, Spears said. Bobcat sightings near Austin High School were reported in June, and game wardens in May shot and killed a mountain lion in Downtown El Paso.

Oregon 02/18/12 The Oregon House voted Friday to allow state officials to kill two wolves that have been blamed for killing livestock, a priority for ranchers that is opposed by conservation groups. The legislation is an attempt to resolve a potential conflict between Oregon’s wolf management plan and the state Endangered Species Act. The Oregon Court of Appeals last year temporarily blocked the state from carrying out a kill order on two wolves from the Imnaha pack in northeastern Oregon. Judges ruled that conservation groups had a good chance of succeeding with a legal claim that state protections for endangered species overruled the wolf management plan, which allows wolves to be killed to reduce livestock attacks. The House approved the measure 42-15, sending it to the Senate. – For complete article go to

Texas 02/16/12 Bryan, Brazos County: Excerpts – “Coyotes are continuing to show up around the city of Bryan. We’ve told you about the animals attacking small pets and even killing some, but now there are reports that size may not matter for the predatory animals.” “The city of Bryan recently hired Texas Agrilife to help control the Coyote issue. The city is asking residents to put garbage in covered containers and do not leave food out for pets. The city has also provided a pamphlet for residents to educate them about coyotes.”  With Agri-Life Tips on Suburban Coyotes. See

Arkansas 02/17/12 Valley Springs, Boone County: A skunk is the fourth animal to test positive for rabies in the county this year. See,0,325092.story

Florida 02/17/12 Fountain, Bay County: A raccoon killed by a dog near the intersection of Sweetwater Branch and Nonawood roads is the second animal to test positive for rabies in the county this year. See

South Carolina 02/17/12 Columbia, Richland County: Two individuals were attacked by foxes yesterday in separate incidents near the Wm. Jennings Bryan Dorn VA Medical Center. Sue Ferguson of DHEC’s Bureau of Environmental Health said, “Avoid wild animals acting tame and tame animals acting wild,” Ferguson adds, “About 400 South Carolinians must undergo preventive treatment for rabies every year, with most exposures from being bitten or scratched by a rabid or suspected rabid animal.” See

Global 02/18/12 Research on a mutated, more contagious form of the bird flu virus can be published in full, the World Health Organization announced Friday, despite concerns that bioterrorists could use the information to start a pandemic. The decision came during a special meeting of 22 bird flu experts in Geneva that was convened by the WHO to discuss the “urgent issues” that have swirled around possible publication of the two bird flu studies since last November, The New York Times reported Saturday. Most of those at the meeting felt that any theoretical terrorist risk was outweighed by the “real and present danger” of similar flu virus mutations occurring naturally in the wild, and by the need for the scientific community to share information that could help identify exactly when the virus might be developing the ability to spread more easily, Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told the Times. Fauci represented the United States at the meeting. “The group consensus was that it was much more important to get this information to scientists in an easy way to allow them to work on the problem for the good of public health,” Fauci said. “It was not unanimous, but a very strong consensus.” However, Fauci added, the United States was not part of that consensus. U.S. bio-security chiefs had urged last November that critical specifics of the papers remain unpublished.

Although the bird flu virus, known as H5N1, rarely infects people, it appears to be highly lethal when it does. Of about 600 known cases, more than half have been fatal. If the virus were able to spread more easily from birds to humans, experts have estimated that millions of people could die after being infected. The two studies at the center of the debate were to be published in the journals Science and Nature late last year. The papers, which were funded by the U.S. National Institutes of Health, describe how the H5N1 virus could mutate relatively easily into a strain that could spread rapidly among humans. The research was done by scientists at the University of Wisconsin and in the Netherlands. The editors of both journals said they plan to publish the papers in full at a future date. “Discussions at the WHO meeting made it clear how ineffective redaction and restricted distribution would be for the Nature paper. It also underlined how beneficial publication of the full paper could be. So, that is how we intend to proceed,” Dr. Philip Campbell, editor-in-chief of Nature, said in a statement. “As was expressed at the WHO meeting, there is a need first to explore how best to communicate the issues of publication to a concerned public, and to review safety assurance of labs who would act on this publication. I fully support the WHO’s further efforts in this regard.”

Speaking at a scientific meeting in Vancouver, Science editor-in-chief Bruce Alberts had this to say about the WHO decision: “So, my reading is that both Nature and Science are to wait until we get some further information from the WHO and other authorities of when, in fact, we are to publish the full manuscript.” Before the two studies can be published, the experts at the WHO meeting said that security assessments must be made, the Sydney Morning Herald reported. Another meeting on the remaining issues will be held at a future date, the WHO said in a statement. The scientists behind the research had agreed on Jan. 20 to honor a 60-day moratorium on further studies, the Herald reported, but that deadline will now be extended for an unspecified time to allow for a wider examination of the risks and for public discussion. For more on how the bird flu virus might be able to infect humans, visit the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

Travel Warnings:

Brazil 02/17/12 Brazilian Health Minister Alexandre Padilla on Thursday warned that Rio de Janeiro faced a major dengue epidemic, although he said the virus strain prevalent was not fatal. “I believe that Rio could this year face one of the worst dengue epidemics in its history, in terms of number of cases,” he said in a television interview. Padilla said the dengue virus strain prevalent in Rio was not the most serious and was not fatal. The official Agencia Brasil said since the start of the year, 3,499 dengue cases have been recorded in Rio, compared with 2,322 last year, but none were fatal. The government said that nationally cases dropped 62 percent this year to 40,486. Dengue affects between 50 and 100 million people in the tropics and subtropics each year, resulting in fever, muscle and joint ache. But it can also be fatal, developing into hemorrhagic fever and shock syndrome, which is characterized by bleeding and a loss of blood pressure. The news comes as Carnival frenzy sweeps Brazil and the South American powerhouse prepares for a week of sizzling samba dancing, glittering parades and unabashed merry-making in Rio and other cities.