RED WOLF population in decline once again ~ Woman in NEW MEXICO dies of PLAGUE ~ SQUIRREL in COLORADO tests positive for PLAGUE ~ CANADIAN woman victim of BEAR attack ~ MUSKRAT in COLORADO tests positive for TULAREMIA ~ TULAREMIA found in four NORTH DAKOTA counties.   Leave a comment

From Natural Unseen Hazards Blog on July 28, 2015

Red Wolf and pups. Courtesy US Fish & Wildlife Service.

Red Wolf and pups. Courtesy US Fish & Wildlife Service.

Southeast US 07/25/15 wral.com: by Emery P. Dalesio – A revised population estimate puts the world’s only wild population of endangered red wolves at their lowest level since the late 1990s amid recent moves to protect the bigger, predatory relatives of dogs from hunters’ misdirected bullets. Once common in the Southeast, the red wolf had been considered extinct in the wild as of 1980 for reasons including hunting and lost habitat. In 1987, wildlife officials released captive-bred red wolves into the wilds of a federal tract in North Carolina. For years, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service estimated that about 100 wolves roamed the land in coastal Dare, Hyde, Washington, Tyrrell and Beaufortcounties and also drifted onto neighboring private property. Now the federal agency has drastically cut its population estimate to between 50 and 75 wild red wolves. The revision was the result of fewer breeding adult wolves producing fewer babies to replace those animals that die, FWS supervisory wildlife biologist Rebecca Harrison said. “The decrease is a reflection of two years in a row of very low pup production in combination with the standing mortality,” Harrison said. While in the past wildlife officials have found 30 to 50 pups a year, last year 19 were found and this year only seven, Harrison said. The wolves breed a single litter of pups annually that are born in the spring.

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An outside study last year of the red wolf recovery program by the nonprofit Wildlife Management Institute said it couldn’t determine the specific reasons for the red wolf decline. Over the past decade, there was a tripling of wolf deaths from gunshots, the report said. Illegal killings of red wolves was the leading cause of deaths over the first 25 years of the program, the report said, with shootings and poisonings making up 30 percent of their deaths. Most of the red wolf shooting deaths of breeding-aged red wolves happened during the last three months of the year just before the animals breed, the report said. Deer season also increases hunters in the forests in the fall. The threats to red wolves from gunfire have increased as coyotes — which are often confused for their bigger, endangered cousins — multiplied across the state into the red wolf’s range. North Carolina’s Wildlife Resources Commission in 2013 decided to allow coyote hunting at night on private land and under certain circumstances on public land. Conservationists said that resulted in the shooting deaths of red wolves since even experts often couldn’t distinguish them from coyotes in a distant flashlight’s glare. –  Read more at http://www.wral.com/wild-red-wolf-count-falls-as-fewer-parents-making-fewer-pups/14794393/#LKVu6mCc32VcrhaU.99

PNEUMONIC PLAGUE:

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New Mexico 07/24/15 santafenewmexican.com: by Anne Constable – State Health Department officials said Friday that a 52-year-old Santa Fe County woman died after testing positive forplague, and workers were going door to door in her neighborhood to inform other residents of the risk. But the Health Department would not release the name of the hospital where the woman was treated or the section of the county where she lived. The state’s Scientific Laboratory Division is conducting a test to confirm the woman’s suspected case of pneumonic plague, the rarest of the three forms of the bacterial disease, which is usually contracted from flea bites or rodent droppings. If the lab test proves positive, this would be the first human case of plague in New Mexico this year. Last year, there were two human cases of plague in New Mexico, and both patients — a 43-year-old woman from Rio Arriba County and a 57-year-old man from Torrance County — recovered. Between 2010 and 2014, there were nine cases in the state, three of them in Santa Fe County. Santa Fe leads the counties in New Mexico for human plague, with 59 out of 271 cases across the state from 1949 to 2014. – For complete article seehttp://www.santafenewmexican.com/news/health_and_science/health-officials-santa-fe-county-woman-s-death-could-be/article_1bc73a49-0570-577f-8710-0e1fd23e5944.html

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Colorado 07/25/15 kdvr.com: by Chris Jose –Jefferson County Public Health received confirmation on Friday that a squirrel located at 15th and Jackson (in Golden) tested positive for bubonic plague. Postings are being placed around the area today with information reminding citizens to take simple precautions to avoid exposure. Plague is a highly infectious bacterial disease carried by various types of wild rodents and is transmitted primarily by flea bites. Squirrels, rodents, prairie dogs and other mammals, such as rabbits and cats are susceptible to plague because they carry fleas. – For video and complete article seehttp://kdvr.com/2015/07/25/squirrel-in-golden-tests-positive-for-bubonic-plague/

CANADA:

BEAR ATTACK:

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Ontario 07/26/15 timminstimes.com: Ontario Provincial Police say a 60-year old woman was treated and released from hospital for injuries after being attacked by an “aggressive bear” nearMatheson on Friday afternoon. Police said two women were walking in the cottage area of Watabeag Lake when they encountered the bear. The OPP news release said one of the women was attacked by the bear and sustained injuries requiring medical treatment at the Matheson hospital. The nature of the woman’s injuries was not described by police. “OPP officers attended the area and located the bear,” said the police news release. “The bear displayed aggressive tendencies toward the officers and the bear was destroyed by the officers as a result.” The woman who was attacked is from the Guelph area. Watabeag Lake is located approximately 40 kilometers south west of Matheson. – See http://www.timminstimes.com/2015/07/26/friday-afternoon-bear-attack-near-matheson

TULAREMIA (RABBIT FEVER):

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Colorado 07/24/15 denverpost.com: by Anthony Cotton – A dead muskratfound recently at the Lily Lake area in Rocky Mountain National Parktested positive for tularemia, park officials said Friday. According to Colorado health officials, as of late May, there were 11 reported human cases of tularemia. A naturally occurring bacterial disease transmitted by infected insects and ticks to rabbits, hares, muskrats, beavers and other small rodents, tularemia can also spread to humans and can cause serious clinical symptoms. – For complete article seehttp://www.denverpost.com/news/ci_28374467/colorado-health-officials-tularemia-cases-record-breaking-pace

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North Dakota 07/24/15 valleynewslive.com: The ND Department of Health and the ND  Department of Agriculture, Animal Health Division, have received reports of two confirmed human cases of tularemia in LaMoure andBurleigh counties; one unconfirmed but likely positive human case in Stark County; a case in a squirrel from the Roosevelt Zoo in Minot; and cases in two primates from the Dakota Zoo in Bismarck. The Roosevelt and Dakota Zoos are taking precautions to protect their animals, staff and visitors from the disease. Visiting a zoo does not pose an increased risk to the general public. However, people are advised to follow guidelines against touching animals that are posted by the zoos, and to avoid direct contact with wild animals, such as rabbits and rodents, which are known carriers of tularemia. Tularemia, also known as rabbit fever, is caused by bacteria that are commonly transmitted to humans and animals by ticks and deer flies. Pets can also become infected if they consume the remains of an infected animal. Other means of infection in humans include skin contact with blood or tissue  of infected animals, inhalation of contaminated dust or aerosols, and ingestion of contaminated food or water. – For complete article seehttp://www.valleynewslive.com/home/headlines/Tularemia-Identified-In-Four-North-Dakota-Counties-318509531.html

RABIES:

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California 07/25/15 Monterey County: Adomestic cat that was reported dead on July 2nd by its owner, a City of Monterey resident, has tested positive for a strain of the rabies virus that is carried by bats. – Seehttp://www.mercurynews.com/health/ci_28537775/monterey-health-department-confirms-rabid-cat-died-from

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