Tag Archives: Bear spray

Oregon’s young Wolves moving to new areas; Bear-Hunting.Org to release guide on how to avoid a Bear attack; Coyotes take another pet in California’s Laguna Woods; Southeast Asian countries testing grounds for new Dengue vaccine; MIT scientists develop new drug that can cure nearly any viral infection; West Nile Virus reports from CT, & IL; and Rabies reports from MA, & WI. Travel Warnings for The Bahamas.

OR-3, a three-year-old male wolf from the Imnaha pack. Image captured by an Oregon Dept. of Fish & Wildlife employee on May 10, 2011, in Wallowa County.

Oregon 08/08/11 state.or.us: News Release – The Imnaha wolf pack had at least one pup this year. Footage captured July 16, 2011 by an ODFW employee show a black-colored pup travelling with the Imnaha pack’s alpha female (its mother). So far, photographs and visual observations have turned up only one pup for the Imnaha pack this year, but more pups may be found.  Young wolves will naturally leave a pack and move to new areas. Several members of the Imnaha pack dispersed from the pack in the past few months.  Three-year-old male wolf OR-3 (named because he was the third wolf collared in Oregon) was located by ODFW southeast of Fossil (Wheeler County) on July 30, 2011. ODFW searched the Fossil area using radio telemetry after a member of the public captured the image of a wolf on his trail camera in the west Blue Mountains. OR-3 had last been located north of Wallowa on May 10 when he was captured in a video.  OR-3 is now west of the Hwy 395-78-95 boundary, in the part of the state where wolves are protected by the federal Endangered Species Act (ESA), in addition to Oregon’s ESA. Time will tell if OR-3 stays in the Fossil area, moves on or even goes back to Wallowa County.

The Imnaha wolf pack had at least one pup this year. Footage captured July 16, 2011 by an ODFW employee show a black-colored pup travelling with the Imnaha pack’s alpha female (its mother).

A second collared wolf, two-year-old male OR-9, swam across the Brownlee Reservoir into Idaho on July 18. ODFW notified wildlife managers in Idaho about his presence.  This brings to three the number of wolves known to have dispersed from the Imnaha pack. OR-5 went to Washington State last winter when she was 1.5 years old.  ODFW does not have evidence that any of these three collared wolves (OR-3, OR-5, OR-9) have joined a new wolf pack yet.  Other uncollared members of the Imnaha pack may have dispersed with the radio-collared wolves or gone their own way. The latest observations and data suggest the Imnaha pack now has four adult wolves (three of them collared), plus the new pup.  “Wolf packs are dynamic and rarely stay the same size over time,” noted Russ Morgan, ODFW wolf coordinator. “A pack can be healthy despite these natural fluctuations in numbers, as long as a breeding pair of wolves, the alpha male and female, is maintained.”

Trail cameras also captured images of four adult wolves from the Wenaha pack travelling in the Wenaha unit of the northern Blue Mountains area during the summer. No pups were seen on the footage. ODFW will continue to monitor this pack for pups and to try and collar members from this pack.  Wolf pups are born in mid-April, with litters typically averaging four to six pups. The pups go outside the den and become more active beginning in June. ODFW devotes part of the summertime to determining if wolf packs have reproduced.

Global 08/10/11 benzinga.com: With the recent media coverage on the death of a boy during a bear attack in Norway, Bear-Hunting.Org, an educational portal for hunters to get information on bear hunting, has decided to release a guide on how to avoid a bear attack. Noah Riddle of Bear-Hunting.Org had this to say: “We hope this guide will help educate people prevent bear attacks and if in the situation of a bear attack, be able to defend themselves.” Bear-Hunting.Org claims that most bear attacks are due to sows (female bears) defending their cubs. They expect to release the full guide sometime in the middle of August and will offer it for free on their website. However, they wanted to release some information to the public today to help educate people who may be in an area or situation where they might encounter a bear. Below are the tips that Bear-Hunting.Org released out of their guide.

1. If you’re going to be in an area or situation where you have the possibility of coming across a bear, you should make sure you carry a can of bear pepper spray. Keep this readily available since an attack will be sudden and sometimes without notice.

2. Do not make eye contact with a bear; this is considered threatening to them. Also to appear less threatening, bend at the knees to appear smaller and turn sideways.

3. If a bear happens to attack you, it’s vital that you protect your chest and abdominal area. You can do this by falling on the ground and assuming the fetal position. Use your hands to protect the back of your neck, and try to stay still until the bear leaves.

Bear-Hunting.Org recommends checking with your state’s department of wildlife and natural resources for more information on preventing bear attacks and learning about recent bear attacks in the area. Be sure to visit their bear hunting website to obtain the guide when it’s released.

California 08/10/11 patch.com: by Rich Kane – Another coyote attack in Laguna Woods has left yet another resident of the retirement community petless. Joan Cierzan, 82, went to let her dog Mocha, a poodle mix, outside her residence on Saturday morning. Though Mocha was leashed, when Cierzan opened her patio gate, she felt a strong yank on the tether, which caused her to fall to the ground. The attack was swift—all that was left was an empty dog collar. The incident was the worst of many human-versus-coyote encounters during the seven-day period of August 3-9. A perusal of the public police calls log at the Laguna Beach Police Department—whose three-person animal services division handles Laguna Woods—revealed at least 10 reports of coyote sightings, primarily in Laguna Woods, but at least one within the Laguna Beach city limits as well. The Laguna Woods city council voted July 28 to hire armed exterminators to kill coyotes. So far, at least five of the animals have been eliminated.

Global 08/10/11 philstar.com: by Ding Cervantes – A vaccine against dengue developed by a French pharmaceutical firm was tested on some 2,000 children in Laguna (the Philippines) last month and was found to be effective. Health Assistant Secretary Enrique Tayag revealed this during the recent 10th Blood Galloner Awards held in Malolos City, Bulacan. Since the long-awaited dengue vaccine may yet be available by 2014, Tayag said the public must continue to observe usual precautions against the mosquito-borne disease that has led to many deaths over the years. Tayag said tests on about 2,000 children in Laguna last month proved the vaccine to be both safe and effective. He said clinical trials were also done in Cebu City. Still, Tayag said the vaccine still has to pass all evaluation and more tests before its target release in 2014. Researchers worldwide have been working on a dengue vaccine for almost 60 years, and for the first time, the vaccine is being tested in the Philippines, Thailand, Malaysia, Vietnam and Indonesia.

Global 08/10/11 mit.edu: News Release – Most bacterial infections can be treated with antibiotics such as penicillin, discovered decades ago. However, such drugs are useless against viral infections, including influenza, the common cold, and deadly hemorrhagic fevers such as Ebola. Now, in a development that could transform how viral infections are treated, a team of researchers at MIT’s Lincoln Laboratory has designed a drug that can identify cells that have been infected by any type of virus, then kill those cells to terminate the infection. In a paper published July 27 in the journal PLoS One, the researchers tested their drug against 15 viruses, and found it was effective against all of them — including rhinoviruses that cause the common cold, H1N1 influenza, a stomach virus, a polio virus, dengue fever and several other types of hemorrhagic fever.

Dr. Todd Rider

The drug works by targeting a type of RNA produced only in cells that have been infected by viruses. “In theory, it should work against all viruses,” says Todd Rider, a senior staff scientist in Lincoln Laboratory’s Chemical, Biological, and Nanoscale Technologies Group who invented the new technology. Because the technology is so broad-spectrum, it could potentially also be used to combat outbreaks of new viruses, such as the 2003 SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome) outbreak, Rider says. (For complete news release go to http://web.mit.edu/newsoffice/2011/antiviral-0810.html )

Fairfield County

Connecticut 08/08/11 ct.gov: News Release – The Connecticut Mosquito Management Program announced Aug. 8 that mosquitoes trapped in nine towns from July 25 to Aug. 1 tested positive for West Nile virus (WNV). These results represent the first positive mosquitoes identified in Danbury, Darien, Easton, Fairfield, Hamden, Litchfield, New Canaan, Stratford, and Woodbridge by the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station (CAES) this year.  In 2011, WNV-positive mosquitoes have been trapped in 15 municipalities: Bridgeport, Danbury, Darien, Easton, Fairfield, Greenwich, Hamden, Litchfield, New Britain, New Canaan, Orange, Stamford, Stratford, Westport, and Woodbridge. No Connecticut residents have been identified with illnesses related to WNV infections this year. In 2010, WNV-positive mosquitoes were trapped in 24 municipalities with eleven reported human cases.

American Goldfinch is in CDC's mortality database

“As expected, we continue to find mosquitoes infected with West Nile virus in more locations in lower Fairfield County and are now seeing an expansion into other areas of Connecticut,” said Dr. Theodore G. Andreadis, Chief Medical Entomologist, CAES. “Over the next few weeks and into early fall, we expect to see further build-up of West Nile virus with increased risk for human infection throughout the state, especially in densely populated communities.

Will County

Illinois 08/10/11 suntimes.com: A collection site in south Naperville last week brought the number of Illinois counties reporting West Nile virus activity this summer to an even dozen. The Will County Health Department announced Wednesday that a monitoring station operated by the city reported the county’s first confirmed activity of the virus for 2011. The mosquito samples were collected Aug. 1, and presence of the virus was confirmed the following day. Will County reported at least 18 WNV-positive mosquito batches during 2010, including 15 from sites operated by Will County Environmental Health, a division of the Health Department. Will was the 12th Illinois county to report West Nile activity this summer. No Illinois human cases have been reported, but many mosquitoes and four birds have tested WNV-positive so far. For more information, visit http://www.idph.state.il.us.

Massachusetts 08/09/11 salemnews.com: by Ethan Forman – A rabid skunk came out of the shrubs and sank its teeth into the leg of a 3-year-old boy who was playing in his backyard Friday. “To the horror of the parents, the skunk hung on,” said Peter Mirandi, the public health director. The parents were able to kick the skunk off their son and take him to the emergency room. The skunk was tested over the weekend, and yesterday Mirandi learned it had rabies. The boy is already receiving the necessary shots to ward off the disease. The incident took place Friday at approximately 1 p.m. in a small neighborhood just up the road from the Hathorne fire station on Maple Street and Supino’s Restaurant off Route 1, Mirandi said.

Brown bat

Wisconsin 08/09/11 todaystmj4.com: by Jesse Ritka – A number of rabid bats are turning up in southeast Wisconsin. And you could be bitten without even realizing it. In the last month, rabid bats have bitten a man in Erin and a dog in Hartford. Environmental Health Specialist Margaret Anderson said this is not typical. “That is unusual for us to have two, especially this close together.” Jenna Giese of Fond du Lac survived rabies in 2004, but health officials don’t want people to let their guard down. “Rabies is still considered a fatal disease in humans once they contract it so it’s best to take all the precautions you can to avoid getting bitten by a rabid animal,” says Anderson.

Travel Warnings:

The Bahamas 08/10/11 thenassauguardian.com: by Chester Robards – The United States Embassy in Nassau issued an emergency e-mail message yesterday warning potential visitors about the outbreak of dengue fever in The Bahamas. “U.S. citizens should be aware of the recent dengue fever outbreak in The Bahamas,” said an official e-mail from the embassy received by The Nassau Guardian. “In the past few weeks, over 200 cases have been reported and almost 1,000 cases have been reported of individuals suffering from symptoms that match dengue.”


Hiker in Glacier National Park, Montana survives Grizzly attack; Californians hiring a trapper to solve Coyote problem; Illinois officials ask Deer hunters to volunteer kills for CWD testing; Rabies reports from CT, MD, MN, & NY; and West Nile Virus reports from IL, MA, MS, NV, PA, TX, & VT. Canada: Ontario hiker survives Bear attack. Follow-Up Report: New Jersey Bear attack never happened.

Grizzly bear sow with radio neckband, and cub. Courtesy National Park Service.

Montana 08/05/11 nps.gov: News Release – This afternoon at approximately 12 p.m. a hiker on the trail from Many Glacier to Piegan Pass was attacked by a grizzly bear. The 50-year male hiker from St. Paul, Minnesota was hiking alone when he rounded a bend in the trail and encountered a sow grizzly with one sub-adult. The hiker was carrying bear spray, but was unable to deploy it before the bear attacked. The hiker sustained bites to his left thigh and left forearm, before the bear grabbed his foot, shook him, released him and left the area. The man hiked back toward Many Glacier encountering a naturalist ranger leading a hike. The ranger notified dispatch while the man continued to the Many Glacier Ranger Station where he was treated for his injuries and then transported to the Blackfeet Community Hospital in Browning by the Babb Ambulance. Initial reports indicated the hiker was making noise as he hiked. The trail from Piegan Pass to Feather Plum Falls is closed at this time, and rangers are investigating the incident. All visitors to Glacier National Park are reminded that the park is home to black and grizzly bears. Hikers are advised to carry bear spray, and know how to use it. Hikers are also encouraged to hike in groups and make noise when hiking.

California 08/05/11 ocregister.com: by Eric Carpenter – Frustrated by a perceived lack of response from officials to numerous coyote sightings and attacks on pets, west Anaheim residents say they plan to take care of the problem themselves. Residents said they’ve placed numerous calls in recent weeks to the city, to animal-control agencies and to owners of nurseries where they say coyotes frequent. Ultimately, they’ve received the same answer: If you want to get rid of the coyotes, hire a trapper. So that’s what more than a dozen residents are vowing to do – at a cost of more than $300. “I just can’t believe that when they (the coyotes) are a nuisance to so many people, especially down here in an urban area, that we are being told we have to pay to take care of the problem ourselves,” said resident Lynda Gendreau, 50. “But that’s what we’re finding we have to do.” (For complete article go to http://www.ocregister.com/articles/gendreau-311043-coyotes-residents.html )

Illinois 08/06/11 dailyherald.com: by James Fuller – Kane County Forest Preserve District officials are sending a message to local hunters that their kills can make next year’s state deer culling less emotional than this year’s. Recent state testing of at least 75 deer for chronic wasting disease revealed the presence of the fatal deer illness for the first time in Kane County. However, the spread of the disease is contained so far. Forest preserve staff members said Friday that state officials confirmed to them at a recent meeting in Rockford that deer culling will occur in Kane County again in 2012. No numbers for how many deer will be killed were revealed at the meeting. Fans of the local deer population decried the culling as excessive in the latest round. Only four deer were found with the disease. None of those four were among the sample taken by the state. All four were found by hunters or local residents. “It doesn’t seem like a lot, but it does mean (the disease) is there, and it is going to spread,” forest preserve commissioner Mike Kenyon said.

Deer with CWD

Kenyon said he’d like to see more local hunters volunteer their deer kills for testing. In fact, he’d like to see mandatory testing for deer killed by hunters. But forest preserve district Executive Director Monica Meyers said that’s not likely to happen. “It doesn’t look like they are willing to make testing mandatory,” Meyers said. “They think hunters would be more upset by that than what the state is doing now.” Instead, Meyers said the district is tentatively working with the state to create voluntary test stations for deer parts. The stations would be located in the north, south and middle portions of the county at the district’s maintenance and control facilities. “We want to be part of the solution,” Meyers said. Kenyon said the district must work with the state to ensure the health of the deer population for future generations. “If we let it get out of control then we’ll have to destroy all the deer,” Kenyon said.

Connecticut 08/06/11 norwichbulletin.com: The Uncas Health District is reminding Griswold residents to keep a close eye on their pets after a rabid raccoon was caught near Dawley Road last week. Health district officials said in a release there was no human or animal exposure to the raccoon. However, dogs and cats that are not up-to-date on rabies vaccines are vulnerable. The district also reminds residents not to pet or feed wild animals. Call the health district at (860) 823-1189 with any questions or concerns.

Maryland 08/06/11 patch.com: by Nicole Ogrysko – After several Aberdeen residents noticed a bat infestation in their apartments, more than 30 individuals are being treated for rabies, The Baltimore Sun reported. According to the article, the Harford County Health Department reported there were “significant bat colonizations” in the Perrywood Gardens and Cranberry Run apartment complexes. Health department officials are posting flyers on residents’s doors and holding community meetings to inform residents, The Sun reported. Workers are also screening and plugging cracks in apartment walls, in effort to “bat-proof” the complexes, the article said.

Minnesota 08/06/11 republican-eagle.com: Red Wing Police are looking for a dog that bit a 16-year-old boy Tuesday morning. The boy was trying to keep the dog from running out into traffic near the County Inn and Suites, 4275 Highway 61 Blvd., when the animal bit him. The boy was not seriously injured, but Police Captain Darold Glander said a bigger concern is the transmission of rabies. The dog is described as a white and tan beagle and was wearing a black nylon collar. Anyone who has information about the dog or who its owner might be is encouraged to call police at 651-267-2600.

New York 08/05/11 wbng.com: by Bryan Mercer – Claudia Edwards, Public Health Director for the Broome County Health Department reported today that two Endicott residents were exposed to rabies after taking in a stray cat. The cat tested positive for rabies on Thursday, August 4, 2011. Broome County Health Department officials are asking residents to notify the health department if they had any contact with a stray cat residing in the area between Round Top Park and Riverside Cemetery south of East Main Street (Route 17 C) between July 22, 2011 and August 1, 2011. Residents should call the health department at (607) 778-2847 on August 8, 2011, between 8:30 A.M. and 5:00 P.M. at which time an interview will be provided to evaluate the need for rabies treatment.

Kane County

Illinois 08/06/11 cbslocal.com: by Mary Frances Bragiel – Mosquitoes taken in a trap on the East Side of Aurora have tested positive for the West Nile virus, the Kane County Health Department said Friday. This is the first positive test reported in the county this year. Health officials noted that so far there have been no reported West Nile cases in humans, and no birds have tested positive in the county. Last year, there were five cases reported in people in Kane County.

Massachusetts 08/05/11 thedailygrafton.com: by Danielle Kahn – A case of West Nile Virus was found in the town of Sturbridge recently, prompting local residents to take precautions. The infected sample was found in the southeast corner of the town, south of Route 20, west of 84 and it is the first case of its kind found in the town and the first in Central Mass. Tim Deschamps, the executive director of Central Mass. Mosquito Control Project based in Northborough, said that they already sprayed once in July but are planning to spray again next week. The case was the first found in Central Mass. but Deschamps said the Central Mass. Mosquito Control Project was recently notified of a positive sample in Acton. For more information on spraying schedules or what you can do to mosquito-proof your home, visit the Central Mass. Mosquito Control Project’s website, http://www.cmmcp.org.

Hinds County

Forrest County

Mississippi 08/03/11 ms.gov: News Release – Today the Mississippi State Department of Health (MSDH) reports two new human cases of West Nile virus (WNV). The cases were reported in Hinds and Forrest counties. This brings the state total for 2011 to nine.


Clark County

Nevada 08/06/11 washingtonexaminer.com: Nevada health officials are urging residents to protect themselves from bug bites after mosquitoes in two ponds in Clark County and another in Lyon County tested positive for West Nile Virus.

Lyon County

Officials say the ponds in Mason Valley in northern Nevada, and Logandale is southern Nevada, could signal the virus is in other areas of the state this summer.

Fayette County


Pennsylvania 08/06/11 pittsburghlive.com: by Judy Kroeger – The West Nile virus has come to Fayette County. No mosquitoes had tested positive for the disease since 2005, but 10 samples taken this week have tested positive. Two pools in Connellsville, Belle Vernon and Washington Township contained infected mosquitoes. One pool each in Dunbar, Fayette City, North Union and Perryopolis tested positive. Twenty-eight Pennsylvanians tested positive for the virus in 2010. No human cases have been reported this year.

Harris County

Texas 08/06/11 chron.com: by Naheeda Sayeeduddin – Harris County health officials on Friday said there is a suspected human case of West Nile virus in Houston a day after Montgomery County confirmed its first case of the year. Houston health officials say they are waiting for tests to confirm their case. The Montgomery County infection is the second human West Nile case confirmed in the state this year, said Carrie Williams, a spokeswoman for the Texas Department of State Health Services. The other person infected, in Angelina County, died. Because of confidentiality concerns, state officials will not say where in Montgomery County that case was reported. Nor will they tell the patient’s age, other than that she is an adult, Williams said. The county has confirmed 286 positive mosquito samples from the Houston area this year. There were 84 confirmed samples this time last year, said Martha Marquez, spokeswoman for Harris County Public Health and Environmental Services.

Vermont 08/05/11 healthvermont.gov: News Release – The Vermont Department of Health announced today that West Nile virus was detected in mosquitoes collected on July 18 from a trap in Brandon. West Nile is a mosquito-borne virus that is typically spread through the bite of an infected mosquito. No illness in people due to West Nile virus has been confirmed in Vermont since 2003 and no horses have tested positive since 2005. Every summer the state tests dead birds and traps and tests mosquitoes for the virus. The state also helps arrange testing for people or horses with symptoms consistent with the West Nile virus infection.


Ontario 08/05/11 thestar.com: A 57-year-old woman is in hospital after being attacked by a bear in Pukaskwa National Park on Lake Superior, north of Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario. An official at the Joint Rescue Co-ordination Centre at CFB Trenton says the woman was one of three people who got off a small boat in a harbour at the park today at 8:40 a.m. The woman suffered puncture wounds to her right side and lost a lot of blood after the bear attacked her. Authorities say the trio got back onto the boat and radioed the rescue centre, which got in touch with park rangers. They sped to the scene in a rescue craft, and took the injured woman to the ranger station. She was transferred to an ambulance and taken to hospital in Marathon, just north of the park. The two other people were not hurt.

Follow-Up Report:

New Jersey 08/04/11 nj.com: by Victoria St. Martin & Richard Khavkine – (The Sussex County black bear attack that was said to have occurred on August 3rd, and was reported in this blog on August 4th, never actually happened.)  Turns out, wildlife authorities revealed today, that upon further review, the two boys were not injured by the animal at all. The marks on their foot and shoulder were scars from an old scrape and a blister. Startled camp counselors made the wrong assumption during all the ruckus. “It appears that the injuries were not from the attack,” said Larry Herrighty, assistant director of the state Department of Environmental Protection’s Division of Fish and Wildlife. “The scratches and the abrasions were not caused by a bear — they were not fresh wounds.” The bear invaded the camp where a group of nine inner city boys and two counselors were sleeping at about 4:30 in the morning Wednesday. It pulled at a sleeping bag and swiped at a tent and knocked it down, Herrighty said. The counselors and their charges clapped, blew a whistle and sang and shouted, and finally a conservation officer shot the animal in the neck, driving it away. Shortly after the encounter, counselors spotted marks on the foot and shoulder of the two campers — ages 11 and 12 — and told officials they had been scrapped during the incident. Later, when the youngsters were examined at a local hospital, doctors alerted wildlife officials something was amiss with the injuries. DEP officials magnified images of the wounds on a computer screen and determined they were not fresh and not made by the bear. Herrighty said that, in fact, the two boys never said they were struck by the bear.       (For complete report go to http://www.nj.com/news/index.ssf/2011/08/bear_attack_update_nj_official.html )

Canada requires hikers in Banff National Park to carry Bear Spray after mother and son are spared by Grizzly sow protecting her cubs; Wisconsin’s Jackson County rekindles interest in establishing a wild Elk herd; Wyoming governor moving toward predator status for Wolves in part of Teton County; North Carolina’s Cumberland County to trap or kill 60 Feral Dogs; West Nile Virus reports from Indiana (2), Massachusetts (3), Nevada, New York, and Pennsylvania; Eastern Equine Encephalitis reports from Massachusetts, New York, and North Carolina; and Rabies reports from New York, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin.

Grizzly. Courtesy U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service.


Alberta 07/29/11 globalmontreal.com: by Valerie Berenyi – For the first time in a national park, Parks Canada has mandated that until Sept. 15 hikers on the popular Lake Minnewanka Trail in Banff National Park must travel in a tight group of four or more with at least one person must carry bear spray at all times.  “We want to reduce the potential for another bear attack in that area and we want people to understand just how serious the situation is if they choose to go hiking there,” says Steve Michel, a human-wildlife specialist with mountain park.  The maximum fine for not complying is $25,000 under the National Parks Act.

Earlier this month, a Danish mother and her 13-year-old son came within a few steps of a grizzly sow and her cubs on a trial near the Aylmer Pass. The sow shooed her cubs up a tree and rose on her hind legs; the tourist mom tucked her son behind her, spoke softly and backed away slowly. The two mothers regarded one another briefly, then went in opposite directions with their offspring.  The visitors relished their encounter, but it could have been a disaster.

There were serious bear attacks near Alymer Pass in 2001 and 2005. Kim Titchener, director of Bow Valley WildSmart Community Program, a Canmore-based non-profit organization that seeks to reduce human-wildlife conflict, applauds Parks Canada for making bear spray mandatory in such areas: “There is absolute proof that this product is effective. Research has shown that.” A study published in 2008 in the Journal of Wildlife Management looked at the efficacy of bear spray as a deterrent involving grizzly, black and polar bear encounters in Alaska from 1985 to 2006. In 72 cases where people sprayed bears to defend themselves, 98 per cent walked away uninjured.


  •  Bear spray contains one per cent oleoresin capsicum derived from cayenne pepper and is sold at outdoor suppliers.
  • Choose a bear spray with a minimum weight of 225 grams, a spray range of at least five metres and a clearly visible expiry date (canisters last about three years).
  • Read the manufacturer’s instructions and familiarize yourself with using it.
  • Never spray bear pepper spray on camping gear, tents and backpacks to repel bears. Once the volatile components have broken down, pepper residue will actually attract bears.
  • Carry the spray in a holster within easy reach (not in your pack) in case of a surprise encounter while hiking, sleeping in your tent, cooking and generally out and about in bear country. Keep the safety clip on at all times, removing only if in an encounter with a bear.
  • Once sprayed, bear spray forms a big cloud that causes intense discomfort, burning and swelling of the eyes, nose and lungs, giving you time to leave the area. It doesn’t cause permanent damage to bears or humans.
  • Recent reports show bear pepper spray to be more effective than a firearm in diverting or stopping a charging bear.
  • But bear spray is your last defence. The best defence is to avoid an encounter by hiking in a tight group of at least four people, making lots of noise and being alert for signs of bears (diggings, scat, tracks, overturned rocks and logs). Leash dogs at all times. Keep campsites clean and odour free; cook and store food and toiletries at least 50 metres downwind from your tent.
  • In most cases, bears will do their best to avoid people. Most encounters happen because bears are surprised by people, or are defending their cubs or a kill.

Wisconsin 07/29/11 leadertelegram.com: by Joe Knight – When chronic wasting disease was detected in southwestern Wisconsin about 10 years ago, it put the skids on plans to establish a wild elk herd in the forests of Jackson County. Health officials were reluctant to move deer or elk across state lines or to bring animals in from Canada. At the time there was no way to test live deer or elk for the disease. The test required examining a slice of brain tissue. Now tests have been developed for deer and elk that may allow state-to-state transfers while ensuring the animals being transferred are disease-free, wildlife officials say. About 150 elk have been transferred from Kentucky, which has an elk population of about 10,000, to Missouri, which is trying to establish an elk herd, said Laine Stowell, an elk researcher in Wisconsin. Virginia also has expressed an interest in getting some Kentucky elk to start a herd, he said.

Michele Windsor, state Department of Natural Resources wildlife manager in Jackson County, said there is strong local support for bringing elk to the county, including the Jackson County Wildlife Fund and area chapters of the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation. There also are preliminary discussions involving DNR officials and state legislators about bringing elk to Jackson County and the Clam Lake herd. However, importing elk into Wisconsin won’t necessarily be easy. It would probably take new legislation or a special exemption from the state’s current wasting disease laws to allow bringing elk from outside states to Jackson County, Windsor said. The new live tests still aren’t as reliable as the “gold standard” test, which requires a slice of the animal’s brain. That test is accurate 99 of 100 times, she said. It may be possible, with new legislation, to bring in elk from another state, such as Kentucky, that never has had wasting disease or bovine tuberculosis in elk or deer, Windsor said.

Hunters in Kentucky, which now has an elk hunting season, are not necessarily keen on parting with more of their elk, she said. But Wisconsin officials remain hopeful, and the Jackson County area has good elk habitat, with a mix of forests and open spaces. “There’s definitely strong grass-roots interest that exists and is still very active,” she said of importing elk to Wisconsin. If elk aren’t brought to Jackson County from outside the state, they could be moved here from the Clam Lake herd once that population reaches 200. But Stowell said it would be better for the genetics of Wisconsin elk to bring in animals from outside the state. (For complete article go to http://www.leadertelegram.com/news/features/getting_out/article_3cdf924a-b9a2-11e0-9219-001cc4c002e0.html )

Wyoming 07/30/11 jhnewsandguide.com: by Kevin Huelsmann – In spite of protests from Teton County commissioners, Gov. Matt Mead is moving ahead with a wolf management agreement with federal officials that would allow the unregulated killing of wolves in part of Teton County for several months a year. In a letter sent to Mead earlier this month, commissioners said allowing the unregulated killing of wolves ignores the values of county residents and could put Teton County’s image and reputation at risk. Mead, however, has not ceded any ground on the issue. “It’s too late to include that,” Mead’s spokesman, Renny Mackay, said Friday. “It’s nothing that the governor or [U.S.] Fish and Wildlife Service have ever talked about.” Mead is “very close” to wrapping up the terms of the deal with federal officials and needed to keep moving to ensure the negotiations end successfully, Mackay said. Commissioners objected to unregulated killing, or predator status, that would allow wolves to be killed at any time by any means. “If we don’t get this issue resolved as part of this settlement, I think it will be a terrible stain on the reputation and image of the county,” commissioner Hank Phibbs said Friday. Phibbs spoke with the governor Thursday and commissioners sent a letter to him earlier this month, both times pushing to have the predator line moved.

Teton County, Wyoming

Earlier this month, Mead and Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar outlined a pending plan in which wolves would be designated as predators in the county south of Highway 22 for parts of the year. Predator status would allow unregulated killing of the animals. In the rest of the county, save national parks and refuges where they would be protected, wolves would be considered trophy game and hunted only according to state seasons. (For complete article go to http://www.jhnewsandguide.com/article.php?art_id=7563 )

Feral dog fight. Fayetteville, NC

North Carolina 07/30/11 fayobserver.com: by James Halpin – Fear of a rabies outbreak in Cumberland County has prompted Animal Control officials to take “extraordinary measures” to catch and kill dozens of feral pack dogs that have been attacking pets and wildlife with increasing regularity. Animal Control has hired a Fayetteville company to help trap or kill what officials hope will be 60 dogs in the next month. Officials said they want to prevent an “imminent public health hazard” if rabies spreads through the estimated 10 packs of dogs running wild throughout the city. Animal Control Director Dr. John Lauby said concerns about rabies grew more severe this week with reports of pack dogs attacking a fox and two raccoons in the Raeford Road area near Perdue Drive and Forsythe Street and in the 300 block of Abbottswood Drive off Ramsey Street. (For complete article go to http://www.fayobserver.com/articles/2011/07/29/1111986?sac=Home )

Hamilton County

Allen County

Indiana 07/29/11 wlfi.com: Indiana health officials said they are seeing the first signs of West Nile virus in the state this year. The Indiana Department of Health said Thursday mosquitoes in Hamilton and Allen counties have tested positive for the disease, which could put people at higher risk for infection. More than 20 Indiana residents have died from West Nile virus since 2002. The virus was found in 54 of Indiana’s 92 counties last year and one person died.

Marion County

Indiana 07/29/11 wishtv.com: The West Nile Virus has been found in mosquitoes in Franklin and Center townships, the Marion County Public Health Department announced Friday. The virus carrying mosquitoes were discovered in traps used to monitor the local mosquito population. There have been no reports of illness from West Nile Virus in Marion County in 2011. In 2010, there were three confirmed cases and no reported deaths. Since 2002, five people have died and 50 have fallen ill with the virus.

Massachusetts 07/30/11 patch.com: by Christy Aumer – A mosquito sampled in Tisbury has tested positive for West Nile Virus, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (MDPH) has said. The infected mosquito was collected from a trap on July 25. Despite the finding, the MDPH continues to list the risk of contracting West Nile Virus on Martha’s Vineyard as remote. West Nile Virus is a mosquito-carried illness that can cause a number of maladies, ranging from mild fever to encephalitis or meningitis. While the virus can infect people of all ages, people over the age of 50 are at higher risk for severe disease, said the MDPH. There were seven cases of West Nile Virus in Massachusetts residents last year.

Massachusetts 07/29/11 boston.com: by Kay Lazar – The season’s first Eastern equine encephalitis-bearing mosquitoes have been detected in Bridgewater, Massachusetts public health officials said yesterday.  The news comes a day after officials elevated the health risk posed by West Nile virus, another mosquito-borne disease, in Boston and in Brookline, after more samples of infected bugs were found in those communities. The batch of Bridgewater mosquitoes with EEE was collected July 19, officials said. No people have been infected with either virus this year, but last season was an especially active summer for encephalitis. One Massachusetts resident was infected with EEE in 2010, as well as a Rhode Island resident who, officials believe, was probably exposed to the virus in Massachusetts. The threat of further infections was so high last year that disease trackers led large-scale aerial spraying to beat back the mosquito populations in Bristol and Plymouth counties. EEE is a serious disease that can be deadly, while West Nile infection is generally problematic in people over 50. More information can be found on the Department of Public Health website. Information is also available by calling 866-627-7968.

Massachusetts 07/28/11 universalhub.com: by adamg – The Boston Public Health Commission today added Roslindale to the list of neighborhoods where mosquitoes have tested positive for the (West Nile) virus, which doesn’t pose much of a threat to most people. West Roxbury and Dorchester had already yielded virus-laden mosquitoes; the commission says new sampling in those two neighborhoods showed more germy bugs.

Mason Valley

Nevada 07/29/11 recordcourier.com: The first mosquito pool to test positive for West Nile virus so far this year is in Mason Valley, the Nevada Department of Agriculture’s Animal Disease and Food Safety Laboratory announced today. Until today, the 847 samples from statewide surveillance submitted to the laboratory at the Nevada Department of Agriculture’s Sparks Office since February of this year, all samples, including birds and horse samples have been negative.

Oswego County

New York 07/29/11 syracuse.com: by James T. Mulder – Eastern Equine Encephalitis, a potentially deadly virus, has been detected in mosquitoes in Oswego County. The Oswego County Health Department announced today the virus was found in two pools of mosquitoes collected during the week of July 15. One sample was collected at Toad Harbor/Big Bay Swamp in West Monroe and the other was taken from the northeast section of the town of Palermo. The samples were sent to the state Health Department’s lab near Albany for testing. Dr. Dennis Norfleet, Oswego’s public health director, said there is no need to spray at this time because mosquito populations are much lower than they were last year at this time because of this summer’s dry weather. Although the EEE virus is rare, it is one of the most serious mosquito-borne diseases. About one-third of people infected with the virus die. Most survivors suffer significant brain damage. An Onondaga County resident infected with EEE died last year and an Oswego County resident died of EEE in 2009. The Onondaga County Health Department announced Thursday West Nile virus, another mosquito-borne disease, was detected in mosquitoes collected in a trap July 20 on Midler Avenue in Syracuse. West Nile can cause serious illness and in some cases death.

New Hanover County

North Carolina 07/29/11 wwaytv3.com: New Hanover County Health Department encourages people to protect themselves from mosquito bites and the risk of Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE). Recent testing in the local sentinel chicken flock confirmed a positive sample of EEE in New Hanover County. This raises concerns about the mosquito-borne disease making its way into the human and equine populations. Human incidence of EEE is rare, but it is a dangerous disease. “There is no cure and no vaccine for people available right now, so people need to protect themselves by preventing mosquito bites,” stated David Rice, New Hanover County Health Director. The young and elderly populations are at greatest risk. Survivors of EEE infections may suffer from long-term brain damage. Therapy is limited to treating the symptoms of the disease, as there is no specific cure and no available vaccine for humans. Horse cases are almost always fatal. A preventive vaccine is available, and effective for horses if administered before the animal is bitten by infected mosquitoes.

Pennsylvania 07/29/11 pennlive.com: by Matt Miller – The mid-state is proving to be the hot spot in Pennsylvania for the mosquito-borne West Nile Virus, although no cases of human infection have been reported in the state this year. Dauphin County officials today reported finding two new groups of infected insects in Middle Paxton and South Hanover townships, bringing the county’s total to 10 to date. That is far behind the 30 reports logged in York County — the most for any Pennsylvania county — the 21 in Lebanon County and the 18 in Cumberland County. Only one clutch of infected insects has been found in Perry County. There have been more than 200 reports of the virus in 33 of the 67 counties, almost all involving mosquitoes.

New York 07/29/11 wptz.com: Public health officials in Essex County, New York, have confirmed a raccoon found in Westport was rabid. The raccoon found in Barksdale Road is the third confirmed case (of rabies) in Essex County, said public health officials. The first reported case was a fox in Keeseville on Dugway Road and the second was also a raccoon found on White Church Road in Crown Point.

Pennsylvania 07/29/11 patch.com: Allegheny County will begin distributing raccoon bait containing rabies vaccines throughout the area on Aug. 15. Employees with the Allegheny County Health Department will be seen distributing the bait by hand, on foot and from vehicles in all of the county’s municipalities. Two types of bait will be used: one in which a vaccine contained in a plastic sachet is enclosed in fish-meal pellets and a second in which the plastic sachet is coated with fish-oil scent. The vaccine, when consumed by the raccoons, helps them to develop antibodies to the rabies virus. The baits pose no threat to humans or pets, according to the health department. Aerial baiting drops may include parts of rural Allegheny County and are scheduled to begin on Sept. 5. The Oral Rabies Vaccination Project is conducted by the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture, the Erie County Department of Health, the Allegheny County Department of Health, the Pennsylvania Game Commission, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the U.S. Department of Agriculture Wildlife Services.

Wisconsin 07/29/11 wausaudailyherald.com: The Marathon County Health Department is looking for a dog that bit a woman on Wausau’s east side. The incident happened in the 900 block of Steuben Street, according to a news release. The dog was described as a light-colored chow chow. The news release did not say when the bite occurred or the severity of the woman’s injuries. Health department officials do not know the status of the dog’s rabies vaccinations and the woman might have to undergo a series of rabies shots. Anyone with information about this dog should call the health department at 715-261-1908, Marathon County Sheriff’s Dispatch Center at 715-261-7785, or the Humane Society of Marathon County at 715-845-2810.