Tag Archives: Ungulates

CHRONIC WASTING DISEASE moves closer to YELLOWSTONE ~ Upscale NEW YORK suburb fears COYOTE incursion ~ 20 COLORADANS fear exposure to RABIES ~ FERAL CAT in MARYLAND had RABIES

Bugling bull elk. Courtesy U.S. National Park Service.

Bugling bull elk. Courtesy U.S. National Park Service.

Yellowstone National Park 03/04/15 bosemandailychronicle.com: by Laura Lundquist – Southwestern Montana is no stranger to wildlife diseases, but so far, it hasn’t had to confront chronic wasting disease, a scourge that continues to make headlines elsewhere. That might change in a few years. On Monday, Wyoming Wildlife Advocates released a map of Wyoming showing the rapid spread of chronic wasting disease over the past decade. It also illustrates that fewer than 40 miles separate Yellowstone National Park and Wyoming’s elk feed grounds from known infected areas. To slow or halt the march of CWD, conservationists are lobbying to close Wyoming’s elk feedlots, including one at the National Elk Refuge in Jackson Hole that feeds almost 8,400 elk during the winter. “If we want to minimize the effect of CWD on the greater Yellowstone herds, the time to act is now. Failure to do so risks very real damage not only to wildlife but also to the tourism- and wildlife-dependent economies of the area,” said WWA executive director Kent Nelson. The group based the map on 14 years of data gathered by the Wyoming Game and Fish Department and other research projects.

Elk feeding ground.

Elk feeding ground.

Chronic wasting disease is caused by a protein that attacks the nervous systems of deer, elk and moose. Similar to mad cow disease, it results in a slow deterioration of the brain and other nerve tissue so it is eventually fatal. It doesn’t affect livestock or people as long as they don’t consume the brain or certain other organs of infected wildlife. But it has caused havoc with wildlife populations in states in the Midwest and Mid-Atlantic regions. – For complete article and map showing spread of disease see http://www.bozemandailychronicle.com/news/yellowstone_national_park/fatal-deer-and-elk-disease-moves-toward-yellowstone-park/article_6983a108-b344-5d05-97bb-77884cf19120.html

COYOTES:

Coyote_closeup.wikimediaNew York 03/01/15 abcnews.go.com: by Jim Fitzgerald – This well-heeled hamlet north of New York City is embroiled in an increasingly nasty debate that seems oddly out of place amid the stately homes and tony boutiques: What should be done about coyotes? Self-styled coyote spotters in and around Chappaqua have counted 160 incursions into backyards and streets over the last two years and at least 10 recent attacks on pets. That’s been enough to stir animal passions among residents over the question of when and if a coyote deserves to be killed. Email and social media have swirled with such teeth-baring terms as “coyote jihad” and “death map.” And members of a local task force that advocates trapping and killing some of the animals announced they were staying away from a recent public hearing on the issue “in the interest of our personal safety.” “I envisioned going down there and having blood thrown on me,” said task force member Joyce Stansell-Wong, who has since resigned.

LupeCaonTranscoyotesChappaqua, about 35 miles north of the city, is better known as the home of former President Bill Clinton and Hillary Rodham Clinton than as a playground for coyotes. But wildlife officials say the demise of such predators as wolves and cougars over the last few decades has led to a spread of coyotes into more populated areas across the East Coast, including suburbs. Instagram and Facebook are replete with pictures of the canines scampering across sidewalks and among backyard playsets. Coyotes have even been spotted in New York City’s Central Park and the Bronx. Robert Greenstein, supervisor of the Town of New Castle, which has about 18,000 residents in Chappaqua, Millwood and unincorporated areas, said that in general, the debate is between two camps: “One group is concerned with protecting the coyotes and the other group is more concerned with protecting our pets.” The pet-protection camp, represented by the New Castle Coyote Management Task Force, argues for quicker use of “lethal solutions.” Even though there have been no attacks on humans, they fear the skulking canines may start to attack small children. – For complete article see http://abcnews.go.com/US/wireStory/upscale-ny-suburb-embroiled-wily-debate-coyotes-29309326

RABIES:

13744331Colorado 03/02/15 El Paso County: A stray 6-month-old kitten taken in by a Colorado Springs family residing near Woodmen and Union boulevards has tested positive for rabies. So far, officials have identified 20 people who were potentially exposed to the virus and are receiving post-exposure treatment. – For article and video see http://www.denverpost.com/news/ci_27625916/colorado-springs-kitten-tests-positive-rabies-20-people

56f8f5b7-d73f-4e37-9493-aab16238fcecMaryland 03/04/15 St. Mary’s County: A feral cat found in a subdivision of Breton Bay has tested positive for rabies. Residents are asked to also discuss this with their children and report any animal exposures involving people to the St. Mary’s County Sheriff’s Office at 301-475-8008. Suspected animal bites to pets or livestock should be reported to St. Mary’s County Animal Control at 301-475-8018. – See http://www.thebaynet.com/articles/0315/feral-cat-tests-positive-for-rabies-.html

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What gives predators like WOLVES the greatest advantage – size or speed?

Gray wolf. Photo by Chris Muiden. Wikimedia Commons.

Yellowstone National Park 01/10/12 nsf.gov: National Science Foundation News Release by Cheryl Dybas will – A cold-eyed moon rises above Lamar Valley in Yellowstone National Park. It is January. For Native Americans, it is the time of the Wolf Moon. Snow frozen to hardpan shrouds the valley’s tall summer grasses. It holds no tracks, tells no tales. Predators roam undetected across the icy landscape. Not so their prey. It’s well past midnight and 10 degrees below zero Fahrenheit. The air itself is frozen in place. In the long dark of January, the stillness is so deep you can almost hear the rotation of the Earth. Walking along a snow-covered bank is impossible in this colder-than-cold. For a human. But not for a wolf. A distant howl pierces the glassy air. Soon there’s an echo, one wolf communicating with another from ridge to icy ridge. The faint but rising sound is an affirmation: the wolf survives. For now. The going isn’t easy.

Once common in much of North America, Europe and parts of Asia, gray wolves now roam a comparatively tiny range. In the northern Rocky Mountains, natural migration from Canada and reintroduction programs in Yellowstone–which straddles Wyoming, Montana and Idaho–and central Idaho have fostered a wolf stronghold. About 1,200 wolves live in the region today. Alaska has the largest population of gray wolves in the United States, around 6,000. Kazakhstan in Central Asia has the most of any country, some 90,000.

Hunting once felled countless numbers of the canines. Then in 1973 gray wolves were protected, listed as an endangered species under the U.S. Endangered Species Act. Certain populations of gray wolves, including those in parts of the northern Rockies, have recently been “delisted,” once again opening these areas to hunting. Worldwide, habitat loss and the effects of global warming threaten the long-term future for these icons of the wilderness. In the short-term, wolves must find enough ungulate prey like elk to weather the winter. The bigger the wolf, the better its ability to hunt and take down such prey. Or so it would seem.

Dr. Dan MacNulty

To find out whether larger body size in fact leads to better predator performance, ecologist Dan MacNulty of Utah State University studied whether wolves’ size-related ability to handle prey might come at the expense of successfully pursuing that prey. MacNulty, along with scientists Doug Smith of the Yellowstone Center for Resources, Dave Mech of the U.S. Geological Survey Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center, and Lynn Eberly of the University of Minnesota, published the results in the Journal of Animal Ecology.

Dr. Doug Smith

Theirs was the first research to look at the effects of physical development on the predatory ability of a free-living carnivore. “This study reveals a suite of interacting traits that expand the traditional view of predator-prey interactions,” says Saran Twombly, program director in the National Science Foundation (NSF)’s Division of Environmental Biology, which funded the research.

Dr. Dave Mech

“While the traits are specific to the Yellowstone wolf population, this evidence for the role of evolution in predator-prey interactions greatly advances our understanding of carnivores in general.” The notion that larger predators are overall better hunters “has been cited to explain why bigger carnivores take bigger prey, and why carnivores have evolved toward larger sizes,” the biologists wrote in their paper. “But apart from broad-scale comparisons demonstrating that bigger species and the bigger sex (males) kill larger prey, the extent to which increasing size improves the overall predatory performance of individual hunters has been largely untested.”

Dr. Lynn Eberly

Evidence that male lions fare worse than female lions at chasing fleet-footed prey, but are better at grappling larger prey that stand and fight, suggested that increased size might improve handling of prey–at the expense of successful pursuit of that prey. Such a trade-off might explain why the largest carnivores lack flexible elbow joints and prefer the largest prey. “Relating growth to hunting performance in wild carnivores is challenging because these animals are difficult to observe in nature, and their size is not easily measured immediately before or after a ‘predator-prey interaction,'” says MacNulty. “We were able to watch wolves hunting elk in Yellowstone because they often did so in daylight hours in open habitats, and we could estimate their size from body mass measurements recorded during concurrent monitoring of the population.”

The researchers found that larger size did improve wolves’ skill at strength-related tasks, such as subduing elk. It didn’t, however, increase performance in what’s called locomotor tasks, like the fast-footwork involved in culling an elk from a group. Selecting prey requires choosing one elk from a group by chasing the entire group, which involves a burst of speed, says MacNulty. Then in a kill, a wolf needs to be able to grab and overpower its prey. Larger size makes it easier for a predator to hold down its prey, once caught, but a predator can be only so large before body size gets in the way of the very act of catching. A brawny predator may be better able to wrestle its prey to the ground, but in the quick movements of a chase, its slightly smaller kin may reign supreme.

To reach their conclusions, the scientists made repeated observations of 94 wolves in Yellowstone. Biologists watched as the wolves hunted elk in the grasslands of the northeastern quarter of Yellowstone, referred to as the northern range. Lamar Valley, and other open valleys and ridges, are in this area. “Low elevations there create the warmest and driest conditions in the park during winter,” says MacNulty, “providing critical cold-weather forage for elk.” A road that’s maintained on a year-round basis runs the length of the northern range, giving researchers access to this snowbound plateau. The scientists’ evidence that predator performance (but not fleet-of-foot movement) increases with size in a wild carnivore “is notable because it provides the first direct support for the hypothesis that improved predatory ability favors the evolution of large size in carnivores,” state MacNulty and colleagues in their paper. “An important consequence of larger size, however, is that it increases energetic requirements and necessitates feeding on larger prey, which tend to be more difficult to kill than smaller prey.”

If poor locomotor performance narrows the range of potential prey to bigger, slower-moving species, the scientists found, extinction may ultimately prevent carnivores from evolving toward larger sizes. “Dietary specialization increases extinction risk,” says MacNulty, “by limiting the choice of prey.” The demise of the American cave lion and other large North American carnivores at the end of the Pleistocene Epoch some 11,000 years ago, the researchers believe, may be linked to these species’ inability to switch to smaller, faster prey. At the end of today’s Holocene Epoch, will the howls of Yellowstone nights be silenced? Will January’s moon no longer be marked by the sign of the wolf?

MAINE study finds EASTERN EQUINE ENCEPHALITIS VIRUS in WILD TURKEYS ~ MAINE wildlife officials warn DEER HUNTERS urine-based scents may contain agent capable of infecting state’s HERDS with CHRONIC WASTING DISEASE ~ TEXAS authorities fear DOG PACK killing LIVESTOCK might cross paths with a CHILD.

Wild turkey. Photo by Gary Stotz. Courtesy of U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service.

Maine 11/19/11 nmca.org: From the abstract – In winter and spring of 2011, researchers from several institutions* sampled live captured and harvested wild turkeys (Meleagris gallopavo) for the presence of eastern equine encephalitis virus (EEEv) in southern and central Maine. In February, blood was collected from 29 turkeys captured as part of a state translocation project in Franklin County. In May, blood was collected from 61 harvested male turkeys taken as part of Maine’s spring hunt from York, Cumberland, Kennebec, Lincoln, and Waldo counties. Ten samples (11%) tested positive for EEEv. Positive samples were found in ten communities in Cumberland, Kennebec, Lincoln, and Waldo counties. No positives were found in York County despite nearby historical arboviral activity. * Maine Medical Center Research Institute; Univ of Southern Maine, Dept of Environmental Sciences; Unity College, Dept of Wildlife Biology; and USDA APHIS Wildlife Services – For further details see http://www.nmca.org/2011lubelczykabstract.htm

Author’s Note: According to the Maine Center for Disease Control, there is no evidence that people can become infected with EEEv from eating infected meat. The small, theoretical risk of infection can be eliminated by proper handling and thorough cooking of meat before it is consumed.  Several well-known and potentially serious food-borne illnesses can occur when turkey and other meats are improperly handled or undercooked. For more information on food safety, please see: http://www.cdc.gov/foodsafety/.

Maine 11/17/11 advertiserdemocrat.com: by Kayla Collins – Maine deer hunters are being urged not to use urine-based scents; biologists say they have the potential to spread a deadly disease among members of the deer family. “There was a big scare about Chronic Wasting Disease,” said Paul Brook, owner of Woodsman’s Sporting Goods in Norway. “I know some deer hunters out there who are scared it might hit this area.” Brook said that for years he has hunted on game preserves in northern Maine, and all of the animals that are shot have to be tested for Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD). “To date, no strong evidence of CWD transmission to humans has been reported,” according to the Centers for Disease Control.

According to the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (DIFW), CWD is a fatal disease of the nervous system for members of the deer family, including white-tailed deer, elk, moose, and potentially caribou. It’s the equivalent of “Mad Cow Disease,” say hunters. The theory, according to the DIFW, is that an infectious, abnormally-shaped protein called a CWD prion causes certain other brain proteins to change to a diseased form. “It gets in either the bone or the fluids of the animals,” said Ernie Fielder, a hunter from Norway. “I am not 100 percent sure how it is spread … but it is a devastating disease. It’s been known to get into other animals.” Fielder has been hunting for 65 years. He said that it’s just a matter of time before CWD rapidly spreads across the entire country. According to Lee Canter, state deer and moose biologist with DIFW, the disease has yet to be found in Maine, but he urges hunters not to use urine-based scents, as the effective agent may be present in these lures. – For complete article go to http://www.advertiserdemocrat.com/sports/story/02-46-news-2011-deerurine-46-23-0

Texas 11/17/11 oaoa.com: by Celinda Hawkins – More than 100 animals have been killed in Ward County as a result of late night attacks by a pack of wild dogs, officials believe. As of Thursday, 102 animals had been killed as a result of the brutal attacks that have occurred during the past four months, said Billy Riley, chief of the Monahans Volunteer Fire Department. But in every attack, the animals are mutilated, but left alive. “They are chewing them up,” he said. “This is the trademark of a pack of dogs – they are not killing because they are hungry. I guess in a dog’s world they are playing.”

Goats, hogs, sheep, calves and a horse have died as a result of the attacks. All of the attacks have occurred on rural property south of Monahans. The loss for farmers and ranchers is at about $20,000, Riley said. “My grandkids have lost 20 show animals,” Riley said. “One man lost two more goats last night.” Riley said the latest victim reported seeing eight dogs in the pack. Riley said the attacks are not consistent with the way a coyote or mountain lion would attack. “A coyote kills to eat and cats are the same way and neither will leave anything alive,” Riley explained.

Burr Williams, executive director of the Sibley Nature Center in Midland, said it sounds like a pack of dogs, but speculates they are not wild. “They are people’s pets that are running loose,” Williams said. “They can go for two or three miles or more. If a dog starts hollering he can be heard for a couple of miles.” Williams said the new mobile homes and campsites near Monahans could be where, what he believes are domesticated animals, are coming from. He suggests dog owners keep their dogs chained at all times. “The main thing that can be said: it is legal in the State of Texas to shoot a dog that is hurting livestock,” Williams said.

Riley said he has put out traps at his ranch and that Ward County Animal Control is involved in the hunt for the attackers as well. Ward County and the ranchers could enlist the help of U.S. Department of Agriculture Wildlife Services, based in Fort Stockton to trap the animals. “We can set traps, snares or whatever it takes,” said Hoppy Turman, district supervisor for the USDA Wildlife Services in Fort Stockton. The service costs $2,400 a month, Turman said. “If they wanted us I could send trouble shooters or specialists that work within my district to take care of problems like this,” Turman suggested. Meanwhile, Riley fears the next victim could be a small child. “Everybody is concerned,” Riley said. “You can just go on so long before a kid is hurt.”

North Carolina MAN and DOG attacked by RABID FOX ~ Virginia officials confirm CHRONIC WASTING DISEASE found in two Frederick County DEER ~ RABIES reports from California, North Carolina, & Rhode Island ~ and a WEST NILE VIRUS report from Massachusetts. AUTHOR’S NOTE.

Gray fox. Courtesy National Park Service.

North Carolina 10/05/11 mcdowellnews.com: by Richelle Bailey – Marion – A fox attacked a man and his dog Saturday, and it turns out the animal was rabid, authorities say. The incident occurred in the Ashworth Loop area, and deputies are warning residents to be on the lookout for any animals acting strangely. “We want to make sure folks in that area are aware,” said Captain Ricky Crisp. “If they see any animals acting funny or attacking other animals or if they come in contact with any of these animals, they should call the Sheriff’s Office immediately.” A man on Ashworth Loop reported early Saturday morning that the fox was under his house. When he attempted to hit the fox with a rake, it either scratched or bit his foot, Crisp stated. Deputies responded and killed the animal. It was tested, and results confirmed Tuesday that the fox had rabies, said the captain.  “The (resident’s) dog fought with the fox and was attacked twice,” Crisp  stated. “The dog had not been vaccinated.” The canine was quarantined, according to Crisp, and the man is undergoing medical treatment.

Virginia 10/01/11 fauquier.com: by Steve Campbell – Virginia wildlife management officials warned deer hunters of the presence of chronic wasting disease (CWD) which was detected in two deer harvested in Frederick County. According to the CWD Alliance, CWD is a transmissible neurological disease of deer and elk that produces small lesions in brains of infected animals, similar to that produced in cattle and sheep by mad cow disease and scrapie, respectively. The disease is one of group of ailments known as transmissible spongiform encephalopathy and is related to several rare human diseases, such as Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease.

Deer with CWD

Although CWD in deer is not (known to be) transmissible to humans or livestock, wildlife officials note. While the disease has only been detected in one Virginia county (Frederick), it has been found in 19 other states across the nation, including West Virginia and Maryland. In West Virginia, the disease was detected in Hampshire County. In Maryland, it was found in Allegheny County. Because the disease was found in Virginia, the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries advised hunters to follow “carcass importation regulations in other states” when taking harvested deer out of the commonwealth. – For regulations & drop station locations see http://www.fauquier.com/index.php/news/article/chronic_wasting_disease_detected_in_deer_in_frederick_county

California 10/04/11 patch.com: by Lauren Gibbs – About six calls recently came in regarding sick bats, according to Roseville Police. One bat tested positive for rabies, which is a fairly common disease found in wildlife in the area, police said.

North Carolina 10/04/11 wwaytv3.com: Wilmington – New Hanover County Animal Control Services has confirmed the fourth case of rabies for the year. ACS officers were called to a Rabbit Run Road residence on Saturday where a wild raccoon had fought with the homeowner’s dogs. The dogs were current on their rabies vaccines and have received booster shots. The owners were also notified that they may have been exposed to the virus from handling the dogs.

Rhode Island 10/05/11 breezepapers.com: North Smithfield residents in the area of Mechanic, Orchard and North Main street neighborhoods are advised to keep all dogs and cats indoors after the discovery and confirmation of two skunks that tested positive for rabies. A third is awaiting confirmation. All were euthanized. North Smithfield Animal Control Officer Scott Goodwin announced today that the animals were confirmed to have rabies by the Rhode Island Department of Health. Contact Animal Control at (401) 766-0377 or North Smithfield Police at (401) 762-1212 to report anything out of the ordinary.

Massachusetts 10/05/11 thesunchronicle.com: by Susan LaHoud – A mosquito collected from Plainville has tested positive for the West Nile virus, the latest of similar findings in several other local communities. The finding in Plainville was announced by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health on Tuesday and issued by the town’s board of health. The mosquito species that tested positive, Culiseta melanura, is primarily bird biters, but will occasionally bite mammals, including humans, according to the state agency. Over the past several weeks, West Nile virus has been found in mosquitos in Seekonk and Mansfield. Mosquitoes in Norton were found to have EEE, or Eastern Equine Encephalitis. A Norfolk County woman was diagnosed last week with the third confirmed case of West Nile virus in the state this year. The state Department of Public Health said the woman, later identified in published reports as a 61-year-old from Brookline, was hospitalized for eight days after developing symptoms on Sept. 17. She has since been discharged, according to the department.

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WOMAN in Idaho attacked and rescuer gored by MULE DEER ~ Florida confirms locally acquired case of DENGUE FEVER ~ CDC notified that HUMAN RABIES VACCINE supply limited ~ Mississippi confirms fourth WEST NILE VIRUS death this year ~ U.S. Fish & Wildlife approves removing Wyoming’s GRAY WOLF population from Endangered List ~ Canada: Bow hunter in Ontario survives BLACK BEAR attack ~ AUTHOR’S NOTE.

Mule deer buck. Courtesy National Park Service.

Idaho 10/03/11 washingtonpost.com: A woman was able to escape an attack by a mule deer after a passer-by and his daughter fought off the buck, grabbing the antlers and striking it with a hammer until it fled, state wildlife officials said. Sue Panter was on a stroll near her home in rural southeastern Idaho when the buck attacked, raking her body with his antlers and goring her legs, officials said. Michael Vaughan and his 17-year-old daughter, Alexis, spotted the struggle early Friday and tried to intervene, the state Department of Fish and Game said in a statement Sunday. Vaughan’s daughter got out of their vehicle and started punching the deer, while he grabbed the buck by the antlers, which allowed Panter to escape, according to the agency. Vaughan said that while he wrestled with the buck, his daughter retrieved a hammer and struck the deer. Vaughan’s daughter then drove Panter and her father to a hospital, where they were treated and released on Friday. The man’s legs were punctured three times during the struggle, wildlife officials said.

Mule deer buck fight.

The buck in the attack was a young adult, which on average weigh about 250 pounds, officials said. It was unclear why the animal attacked the woman. Such confrontations are unusual, but the behavior that was reported is typical of deer that have been reared as pets, according to state wildlife officials. “A possibility is that this deer was found in the wild and taken home and raised by somebody,” said Senior Conservation Officer Korey Owens. “Then it’s become habituated to humans so it’s not afraid of humans anymore, that’s a possibility.” These unprovoked attacks by domesticated, or “pet deer,” are very rare but have been reported in Idaho, said Blake Phillips, regional conservation officer for state Department of Fish and Game’s southeast region.

Panter was “really traumatized” when the hospital called authorities to report the attack, Senior Conservation Officer Korey Owens said Monday. Panter had played dead during the attack hoping that would discourage the deer, wildlife officials said. Her husband, who was at work, told him she had tried to remain in the roadway as the deer gored her, wildlife officials said. “She felt that if she got pushed off the road and into the cornfield, no one would see her struggling or even know she was there,” Panter told wildlife officials. Officials were searching for the buck, which will be euthanized and tested for rabies and other diseases.

Aedes aegypti

Florida 10/04/11 patch.com: by Mike Wells – The Hillsborough County Health Department is investigating a locally acquired case of dengue fever in the Seminole Heights area of Tampa. This case follows a recently identified case from the same household who was infected while traveling in the Caribbean. An additional Seminole Heights resident, who traveled on the same trip to the Caribbean, was also infected with dengue fever while there. Dengue fever (pronounced den’ gee) is a disease transmitted to humans by the bite of an infected mosquito. Dengue is not spread directly from person-to-person. Mosquitoes usually bite at dusk and dawn, but the mosquitoes that carry dengue bite during the day as well – especially indoors, in shady areas, or when the weather is cloudy. In the Western Hemisphere, the Aedes aegypti (pronounced edis egyp-tie) mosquito is the main transmitter of dengue viruses.

Aedes albopictus

In some cases, the Aedes albopictus mosquito has also transmitted the disease. Both of these mosquitoes are present in Hillsborough County, however, there have not been any locally acquired dengue cases here in recent history. – For complete article including prevention tips go to http://seminoleheights.patch.com/articles/mosquito-born-dengue-fever-strikes-in-seminole-heights

National 09/30/11 cdc.gov: News Release – CDC has been notified that Novartis Vaccines currently has a limited supply of their human rabies vaccine, RabAvert, in their inventory. However, there is a normal supply of RabAvert in the wholesaler/distributor channels. At this time, there are no changes to the ACIP recommendations for either pre or post-exposure prophylaxis. Novartis does have a limited supply of RabAvert in inventory and can make product available to physicians who are not able to order through a wholesaler/distributor and who need RabAvert for post-exposure prophylaxis. Novartis expects to have additional supply of product available in November. CDC is working together with FDA and the vaccine producers to ensure that no rabies vaccine shortage develops. – For complete release go to http://www.cdc.gov/rabies/resources/news/2011-09-30.html?source=govdelivery

Mississippi 10/03/11 clarionledger.com: Seven newly reported cases of West Nile virus bring the total in Mississippi this year to 46. On Monday, the state Department of Health reported a death in Leflore County. So far this year, four people have died from the virus. The seven new human cases were in Jones (2), Leflore, Madison, Rankin, Sunflower and Winston counties.

Wyoming 10/04/11 fws.gov: News Release – Following approval of a revised wolf management plan by the Wyoming Game and Fish Commission, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service today proposed to remove the gray wolf population in Wyoming from the Federal List of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife. Due to recovery efforts and the provisions of the revised state plan, the Wyoming wolf population is healthy and stable, current and future threats to wolves have been addressed, and a post-delisting monitoring and management framework has been developed. Today’s formal proposal follows an agreement with the state of Wyoming that serves as the blueprint for returning wolf management to state control — announced in principle in July and with more detail in August. If this proposal is finalized, the gray wolf would be delisted in Wyoming under the Endangered Species Act (ESA), and future management for this species, except in National Parks and National Wildlife Refuges, would be conducted by the appropriate State or tribal wildlife agencies. “After years of hard work by the Fish and Wildlife Service and our partners to achieve the successful recovery of wolves in the northern Rockies, Wyoming wolves are ready to stand on their own under the management of the professional wildlife biologists of the Wyoming Game and Fish Department,” said Fish and Wildlife Service Director Dan Ashe. “We expect Wyoming’s wolf population will be maintained well above recovery levels under State management, and we have worked with the State to develop a strong post-delisting monitoring and management plan to ensure that this remarkable conservation success endures for future generations.” The Northern Rocky Mountain wolf population is biologically recovered, with more than 1,650 wolves, 244 packs and over 110 breeding pairs. It has exceeded recovery goals for 11 consecutive years, fully occupies nearly all suitable habitat, and has high levels of genetic diversity. – For complete release go to http://onlinepressroom.net/fws/

Canada:

Ontario 10/04/11 kenoradailyminerandnews.com: by Reg Clayton – A Kenora area hunter is lucky to be alive after fighting off a (black) bear attack, Sept. 26. The 48-year-old man was treated for puncture wounds to his arm, shoulder and neck at Lake of the Woods District Hospital and released later the same afternoon. The bear was mortally wounded during the encounter and did not survive. A Ministry of Natural Resources official credits the man for taking action to save his life.  “It was a dangerous situation,” affirmed MNR Lake of the Woods supervisor Leo Heyens. “He did all the right things. If he hadn’t fired an arrow or fought back, yelling and making himself look big, it could have been more serious.” The hunter is a close friend of Paul Batiuk of Batiuk Guiding and Outfitting. Batiuk explained the man was archery hunting for moose alone while he and son Kyle guided another group of six hunters. The identity of the individual has not been released at his request. “He just wants to get back to work and normal life,” Batiuk related. “The experience has changed him you can tell, he will hunt again but says he will never hunt alone.”. . . Batiuk described the bear as a mature boar estimating its weight at about 300 lbs. but given the size of its head and paws he says in a normal year such a bear would weigh much more, between 400 and 450 lbs. – For complete article go to http://www.kenoradailyminerandnews.com/ArticleDisplay.aspx?e=3321928

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USDA sharpshooters may thin DEER population at USMC’s Camp Lejeune in North Carolina ~ Mississippi confirms another WEST NILE VIRUS death and six new HUMAN cases ~ Two in Maryland bitten by FERAL CAT with RABIES ~ Pennsylvania animal shelter workers bitten by STRAY KITTEN with RABIES ~ Illinois confirms two more CATS with TULAREMIA ~ Travel Warnings for The Philippines ~ AUTHOR’S NOTE.

Whitetail deer. Photo by lcwtoys. Wikimedia Commons.

North Carolina 10/01/11 marinecorpstimes.com: by Gina Cavallaro – The living conditions at Camp Lejeune, N.C., have become a little too comfortable for thousands of white-tailed deer. There are so many, and they’re causing so many problems, that base officials are considering the use of sharpshooters from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to end the problem. Lejeune has documented 120 deer-vehicle collisions since 2009, and officials estimate the hungry animals have destroyed 500 acres of landscaped vegetation in the base’s urban areas. Deer make people sick, too. In 2009, Lejeune medical personnel treated 24 cases of Lyme disease and 11 cases of Rocky Mountain spotted fever, both illnesses caused by deer that also carry ticks and other parasites. In 2010, the number of Lyme disease cases jumped to 39 and there were six cases of Rocky Mountain spotted fever.

Camp Lejeune’s own hunting program has helped somewhat, but officials have concluded that hunting alone is not enough to bring the burgeoning population of white tail deer under control. The sharpshooters, or “firearms experts” as the government agency calls them, have helped control deer populations in dozens of wildlife areas, including places like Camp David, the presidential retreat on Maryland’s Catoctin Mountain, and in Valley Forge, Pa., where over the course of 16 nights, a team took out 600 deer. A three-person team comprises a driver, shooter and spotter from the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service’s Wildlife Services program.

But don’t confuse these shooters with Marine scout snipers. The USDA experts are wildlife biologists who are schooled in the movements and behaviors of animals. They also work at Marine Corps air stations to help control populations of birds that can do more harm to an aircraft than a deer can do in a vegetable garden. There is no start date yet for the sharpshooter plan, but with hunting season underway in eastern North Carolina, the deer may soon find it hard to hide.

Mississippi 09/26/11 ms.gov: News Release – Today the Mississippi State Department of Health (MSDH) reports one death in a previously reported West Nile virus (WNV) case in Jasper County and six new human cases in Hinds, Madison, Rankin (3), and Washington counties, bringing the state’s total to 39 cases for 2011 with three deaths. So far this year, cases have been confirmed in Forrest (4), Hinds (6), Jones (4), Madison (6), Pearl River (6), Rankin (5), Washington (2) and one case each in Coahoma, Jasper, Lincoln, Tallahatchie, Tate, and Wayne counties. Three deaths have been confirmed, in Jasper, Jones, and Pearl River counties. In 2010, Mississippi had eight WNV cases and no deaths.

Maryland 10/01/11 delawreonline.com: A cat that attacked two people in the parking lot of Rising Sun High School has tested positive for rabies, Cecil County Health Department officials said today. The cat — unprovoked — bit both of the people it attacked Friday and died during the incident. Its body was sent to the state Health Department Laboratory, where the confirmation was made. Health Department spokeswoman Janis D. Shields said both people now are receiving the four-dose series of vaccines used to treat rabies, a viral disease that — if untreated — is fatal to humans and animals. Shields said the vaccines are given on the day of exposure, and on the third, seventh and 14th days following. Anyone scratched or bitten in the past 10 days by a female cat with calico markings in the area of the high school should contact their doctor or report to an emergency room for treatment, officials said. The high school is at 100 Tiger Drive, near the intersection of Maryland 272 and 273 in the center of northern Cecil County.

Pennsylvania 09/29/11 wpxi.com: Workers at a Westmoreland County animal shelter are being treated for rabies after they got bitten by a stray kitten. The kitten had a small bite when someone took the animal to Animal Protectors in New Kensington almost 3 weeks ago. But it didn’t begin to show symptoms of rabies until it bit a worker and a volunteer over the weekend. Both were both vaccinated immediately. Vets at the shelter told Channel 11 News that the kitten was put down after tests confirmed it had rabies.

Illinois 09/30/11 news-gazette-com: by Tim Ditman – The Champaign-Urbana Public Health District says two more cats have tested positive for Tularemia disease. One of those cats is in Champaign. The other is in Urbana. Three cats from Savoy had previously tested positive for the disease. Four of the five sick cats have either died due to the disease or have been euthanized. Health district epidemiologist Awais Vaid says the cause of the outbreak is still under investigation.

Travel Warnings:

The Philippines 10/02/11 pia.gov.ph: News Release  — In a release by the Department of Health, Center for Health Development-Metro Manila (CHD-MM) Regional Director Eduardo Janairo reported that cases of leptospirosis are fast rising as series of typhoons continue to bring flood waters in various areas of Metro Manila. Janairo said the disease brought about by rats can be very deadly as it is transmitted through humans from contaminated waters, especially rat urine.  “Once it comes into contact with cuts and open wounds in the skin, a person may develop high-grade fever, muscle pain and nausea. If complications may arise, it can lead to renal failure, respiratory distress and eventually death,” said Janairo. CHD’s Regional Epidemiology and Surveillance Unit records showed 391 cases of leptospirosis, with 31 deaths from January to September 8, 2011. Among the cities with the most number of recorded cases of leptospirosis are: Manila (79), Quezon City (76), Caloocan (3), Malabon (4), Navotas (27), Valenzuela (21), Parañaque (22), Pasay (19), Makati (12), Las Piñas (10), and Taguig (10).

AUTHOR’S NOTE

Posts will be limited

through October 15

due to

carpal tunnel syndrome.

New Jersey officers believe BEAR that killed a HORSE is also dead ~ Pennsylvania DEER farmer loses 90% of herd to EHD ~ Seven California HORSES have WEST NILE VIRUS ~ Mississippi confirms nine new HUMAN cases of WEST NILE VIRUS ~ Officials believe two Virginia children contracted DENGUE FEVER in The Bahamas ~ RABIES reports from Alabama, New Jersey, and Virginia ~ and WEST NILE VIRUS reports from New York (2) ~ Canada: Officials shoot MOUNTAIN LION seen stalking HUMANS.

Black bear. Courtesy National Park Service.

New Jersey 09/17/11 njherald.com: by Steven Reilly – The bear that attacked and killed a pony on a Frankford farm Friday morning is still at large, but State Police and New Jersey Fish and Wildlife officers suspect the shotgun blast Nick Civitan managed to get off mortally wounded the bruin. Civitan has been over his property with neighbors a few times looking for the bear, or any sign of which way it went after the early-morning encounter, but so far there are no clues. “The fish and game people told me to keep an eye on the turkey vultures and watch where they start to circle,” Civitan said. The use of traps has been ruled out, Civitan said, based on the size of the bear. “They figured a bear that size doesn’t get to be that size by doing something stupid like climb in a trap,” Civitan said. “The wildlife officer said that the trauma from the shotgun shot would also help prevent the bear from coming back here.” The extraordinary behavior of the bear was tied to the sudden cold weather over the past two nights, Civitan said he was told. With temperatures dropping to the mid-40s, the bear’s natural instinct to consume as many calories as possible to gain weight kicked in and that led to the bold attack on Friday.

Pennsylvania 09/15/11 mcall.com: by Gary R. Blockus – Larry Kleintop stood in his barn on Wednesday night and pointed out a picture his cousin had taken in August. He looked at it with pride, but with a tear in his eye. Kleintop, of Danielsville, is a dairy farmer with more than 400 head of cattle, but he is better known as the owner of Mountain View Deer Farm. At the end of July, he had a herd of 100 deer, which are used for breeding or sold to preserves and ranches. Kleintop touched the photo of a massive deer and said, quietly, “This was going to be my first 500-pound deer.” The 3-year-old buck weighed 458 pounds and had 57 points. “This one just started growing,” he said sadly of the biggest deer he had raised in 33 years of operation. “It would have continued to grow until the beginning of October.” Instead, the monster buck succumbed to epizootic hemorrhagic disease, as did 89 of the herd, from Aug. 1 through Sept. 1. It’s the first outbreak of EHD in Pennsylvania since 2007, according to the state Game Commission. Outbreaks also have been confirmed in New York and New Jersey (see Sept 1, 2011 post: Dead DEER in New Jersey may be victims of MIDGE FLIES). It’s particularly alarming in Pennsylvania, where the archery season for antlerless deer hunting opens locally on Saturday. And, although officials say EHD is not a public health issue, they advice against eating the meat of animals that were ill.

EHD is a virus transmitted by midges, tiny flies that are most often called gnats or no-see-ums. The virus is prevalent in the South, where deer have built up a resistance and it is not as lethal as it is in areas of the Northeast. One of the veterinarians Kleintop uses to help breed his deer theorized the hurricane and tropical storm winds from the South brought the virus-carrying midges. Tropical birds, such as sooty terns, and seafaring birds such as the jaeger and frigate bird, were sighted near Philadelphia following Hurricane Irene’s passing, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer. The virus is restricted to cervids, the family of mammals composed of deer, elk and moose, and it does not infect other mammals, including humans. The 400 head of cattle that Kleintop maintains as a dairy farmer cannot contract the disease. – For complete article go to http://www.mcall.com/sports/outdoors/mc-deer-disease-09152011-20110915,0,6463707.story

California 09/19/11 thehorse.com: by Erica Larson – Seven horses in California have been confirmed positive for West Nile virus (WNV) so far in 2011, according to a statement from the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA). One of the seven was euthanized as a result of the disease, the statement said, while the other six animals are recovering. The statement reported that the affected animals are located in the following counties: Fresno (two confirmed cases), Kern, Los Angeles, Placer, Merced, and Tulare. The report did not note if the WNV-positive horses had been vaccinated against the disease.

Mississippi 09/19/11 ms.gov: News Release – Today the Mississippi State Department of Health (MSDH) reports nine new human West Nile virus (WNV) cases in Forrest, Hinds, Jasper, Jones, Lincoln, Madison (3), and Rankin counties, bringing the state’s total to 33 for 2011. So far this year, cases have been confirmed in Forrest (4), Hinds (5), Jones (4), Madison (5), Pearl River (6), Rankin (2) and one case each in Coahoma, Jasper, Lincoln, Tallahatchie, Tate, Wayne, and Washington counties. Two deaths have been confirmed, in Jones and Pearl River counties. In 2010, Mississippi had eight WNV cases and no deaths.

Virginia 09/18/11 patch.com: by Beth Lawton – Two children from Northern Virginia—one from Lorton, the other from Springfield—have recovered from Dengue fever. Both had vacationed separately in the Bahamas this summer and were sick upon returning to the United States, The Washington Post reported. Both the 14-year-old boy from Lorton and the 10-year-old boy from Springfield have fully recovered.

Alabama 09/16/11 alabama.gov: News Release – A hunting dog and a rabid raccoon became involved in a struggle within the Talladega city limits recently, with each animal biting one another. The raccoon died, and the dog’s owner followed through by bringing the dead raccoon’s body to his veterinarian for rabies testing. Public health authorities recommend that anyone touching a dead animal use caution, wear gloves, and remove and place the carcass in a bag before transporting it. For additional information please contact the Alabama Department of Public Health, Bureau of Communicable Disease, Division of Epidemiology, at 1-800-677-0939 or Alita Chappell, Environmental Services, Talladega County Health Department, (256) 362-2593.

New Jersey 09/17/11 thedailyjournal.com: The city’s Health Department is warning people to be vigilant after a man was attacked Tuesday by a rabid black cat on East Avenue, between Garden and Forest Grove roads. The man alerted the city’s animal control officer after the cat scratched him while he was getting into his car, said Jeannie Garbarino, the city’s principal environmental health specialist. An animal control officer was able to capture the cat and the city’s health department got the animal tested for rabies. The state Department of Health and Senior Services Rabies laboratory confirmed Friday the cat was rabid and the man is getting treatment to prevent further complications, Garbarino said. State health officials note cats have accounted for 90 percent of the domestic animal rabies cases in New Jersey since 1989. For the last five years there has been an average of 17 cats infected with rabies annually, according to state health statistics. Any bite involving a human, a pet, or a dead animal should be reported to the health department at (856) 794-4131.

Virginia 09/17/11 chron.com: A bat found dead in the Cumberland Gap National Historical Park in Virginia’s Lee County has tested positive for rabies. The Virginia Department of Health says the rabid bat was confirmed by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The bat was found in a cave last month by a National Park Service employee. Health officials serving Lee, Scott and Wise counties and the city of Norton are asking residents and visitors to leave live bats alone, avoid touching dead bats and make sure their pets are vaccinated against rabies.

New York 09/18/11 topnews.us: by Ria Pael – According to a recent statement by the Columbia County officials, a crow has tested positive for the West Nile virus in Valatie. Reporting about the infected crow, the Columbia County Health Department has also added that, thus far, there has been no detection of the West Nile virus in the residents of the Valatie area.

New York 09/18/11 watertowndailytimes.com: by Steve Virkler – The state Department of Health on Monday notified Lewis County Public Health that a mosquito sample collected in the town of Lowville during routine surveillance activities this summer had tested positive for West Nile virus. No cases of the virus in humans or other animals have been reported. According to Times records, this is the first reported instance of the disease in Lewis County since a crow in Lowville tested positive in 2006. A crow in Watertown tested positive for the virus in 2007.

Canada:

British Columbia 09/18/11 timescolonist.com: Parks Canada officials shot and killed a cougar Saturday evening after it was spotted stalking people on Cox Bay Beach in Tofino. The cougar “posed a risk to public safety” because it continued to stalk several adults throughout the day, Parks Canada said in a statement. Parts of Pacific Rim National Park have been under a wolf and cougar advisory since Aug. 13 due to increase in “carnivore activity.” The advisory remains in effect, Parks Canada said. Anyone who spots a cougar in Pacific Rim National Park should call 1-877-852-3100. Cougars spotted outside the park should be reported to the Conservation Officer Service at 1-877-952-7277.