Archive for the ‘Animals’ Category

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Posted 28 November, 2016 by Wolf is my Soul in Animals, Dogs / Hundar, Photography

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Enough with the caveman policy of culling   7 comments

October 26, 2015 Source

by Ginny Sanderson

Culling has hit the headlines recently, and various species have topped the undesirables list. it seems to be fashionable across the globe to shoot first, ask questions later. From the Japanese randomly killing dolphins, to Australians going all out on sharks, I’d like to make a radical proposal to stop this madness.

cute-wolf-the-anubians-wolf-pack-18037071-1600-1200In Norway the new fad is to kill the wolves, despite 80% of population wanting to keep the species in their high numbers. The problem is with farming: it is claimed that sheep are killed by these animals. However, around 1500 out of 2 million Norwegian sheep are killed by wolves a year, and these small numbers are compensated for. A much higher proportion of their deaths is predicted to be the result of some dumb sheep thing like falling down a crevasse. Moreover, wolves supposedly present a danger to human life. Remarkably, for a somewhat foreward thinking, humanitarian country, the proposed culling in Norway still seems to think of the wolf as the big bad creep out of a Brothers Grimm fairytale. In reality they affect humans very little: no one’s been killed by a wolf since 1800.

These animals, which have called Scandinavia their home for thousands of years, are facing extermination by ignorance and fear-mongering. Absurdly, farmers have said the animal “contributes nothing.” Well besides balancing the ecosystem what do you expect wild animals to contribute to the human world? It’s like saying ‘hamsters are shit bankers, so to hell with the lot of them’. And quite frankly I think this statement is rash, existentially wolves may ‘contribute’ more than economics can measure. If it wasn’t for wolves, what would people get tattooed to represent their spirituality? Jokes aside, if people do not pay attention to this ridiculous occurrence its existence will only snowball, and these majestic creatures will become extinct.

badger-2-cute1-lst111532Similarly the Hufflepuff mascot is being culled by our meat obsession. Not to go all Morissey on you, but the British badger is effectively being killed so we can kill other animals. It’s not even working. The aim of the policy is to prevent TB spread in livestock. The randomised culling however has led to the remaining badgers spreading to TB areas and catching the disease, so the problem has just been aggravated. My only suggestion in this line of thinking, for a completely successful British cattle-farming, is to kill every animal apart from the ones we want to eat. In fact, kill all the cattle too because 94% of bovine TB spread is due to herd-to-herd transmission. If we’re going to roll with this fists-first attitude, why not go the whole hog (or cow)?

One could argue that it is a survival of the fittest, dog-eat-dog world. If the Dodo was too stupid and fat to survive, that’s not our problem. The issue I take with this reasoning is that it’s regressive and insulting to humanity: have we not evolved beyond the carelessness of survival techniques such as these? Aren’t we intelligent enough to realise when something is destructive – and what’s more, ineffective – and found a logical and peaceful way around it? It’s like we haven’t made any progress since we were hairy cavemen and ladies thrusting spears at woolly mammoths.

To me, culling is an unnatural, nonsensical and lazy policy which does not belong in the modern world.

Written March 2014

Hunters Say Trophy Hunting Helps Animals. Here’s Why They Are Wrong.   2 comments

October 05, 2015 Source

Ever since the death of Cecil the lion, the world’s been looking at trophy hunting a bit more closely. While many people have condemned the practice as cruel, ardent big game hunters have stood up to defend it, arguing that it’s a selfless act of conservation and that both animals and local people benefit from the hobby.

But with wildlife populations in Africa continuing to plummet — and with iconic species at risk of disappearing in our lifetime — these defenses don’t hold up. Here’s why.

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“The money goes to local communities.”

Big game hunters say they help support local communities and conservation efforts by paying for big game hunts. However, while hunters pay roughly $200 million each year for big game hunts in Africa, only around 3 percent of those funds go to local communities, and the amount dedicated to conservation efforts is nearly negligible. The overwhelming majority of hunting fees ends up lining the pockets of middlemen, large companies and local governments.

“Hunting helps wild populations.”

Big game hunters argue that killing can help a species by removing older animals from the population, or say that they trust governments to set sustainable hunting quotas.

Unfortunately, in practice these arguments don’t hold up. For one, some governments are more interested in how much a dead lion can bring them than in establishing sustainable hunting limits. For example, there are around 20,000 to 35,000 wild lions left in Africa, depending on whom you ask, and big game hunters legally kill around 600 each year. That’s an annual population loss of 2 to 3 percent, which is entirely unsustainable, even if you don’t add in deaths due to poaching and livestock protection.

And while nature likes to pick off the weakest members of a population, big game hunters target the largest, strongest members of a population. For lions, that means the male pride leader; for elephants, the oldest elephant with the biggest tusks. Killing these animals, who play a crucial role in their societies, puts the rest of their families at risk.

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For example, killing a male lion with an impressive mane leaves his fellow pride leaders open to challenges from other males. If a new male does come in, they could kill an entire generation of cubs, which means that the permit for one lion hunt leads to the death of several animals.

And the loss of older elephants means leaving male or female youngsters without guidance — which can actually lead to so-called teenage delinquents who are more likely to have negative interactions with humans, and therefore be killed.

The loss of any animal also means the loss of any offspring they could have parented, a knock to conservation that goes far beyond taking just one animal out of the population. And while some proponents of big game hunting advocate for only killing animals who have already contributed their genes to the population, most animals will continue to propagate until they die.

Of course, the biggest rebuttal to the hunting-helps-populations argument is in the numbers. Lions have lost 95 percent of their population since the 1940s. The African elephant population has dropped from several million at the turn of the century to roughly 500,000 today. During the past century hunting has been the primary — if not only — method of conservation, but the perilously low numbers of these animals proves that hunting is ineffective as a conservation method.

And even with these reduced populations, trophy hunters still kill around 105,000 animals in Africa every year, including 600 elephants and 800 leopards, at a time when every individual is crucial to the survival of the species.

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“Canned hunting helps repopulate animals.”

Some hunters tout canned hunting — an unsportsmanlike practice in which lions and other animals are bred in captivity then released into pens where they can’t escape so hunters can shoot them — as a sustainable alternative, arguing that canned hunting incentivizes captive breeding, which can be used to repopulate wild populations.

But animals bred at canned hunting facilities are completely unsuitable for release. Taken away from their mothers at just a few days old and raised by humans, the lions are incapable of surviving on their own. Many of them are inbred, which means breeding with wild lions could weaken the species’ gene pool. And releasing a captive-bred lion into wild lions’ territory could lead to fighting, upsetting the delicate balance — and the safety — of existing prides.

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“Hunting helps protect locals.”

Local communities often find themselves at odds with African wildlife. Elephants destroy crops; lions and other predators can target people or livestock. These animals are often killed — and tourism hunting is often encouraged — in the name of protecting humans from African wildlife.

But as human lands continue to increase, animals continue to be pushed into smaller and smaller territories. In many cases these negative interactions are the result of animals simply trying to survive. Iconic African wildlife is at risk of disappearing, and the solution is to learn to live with animals, not keep killing them.

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“It’s an industry that Africa couldn’t do without.”

While trophy hunting does bring in some capital to African countries, it makes up as little as 1.8 percent of tourism revenues. The majority of tourists come to see Africa’s wildlife, not kill it. And if big game hunting continues to deplete that wildlife, it could take down the other 98 percent of Africa’s tourism income.

An individual animal, particularly if it’s a member of the more iconic species, is worth far more to a country alive over the course of his lifetime than dead. Need proof? Look at Botswana. Beginning in January 2014, the country banned almost all hunting after comparing the conservation cost of big game hunting with the income generated from photo tourism: The photo tourism season is longer, makes better use of animals and employs significantly more locals. In the first year of the ban, the country brought in around $344 million from nonlethal tourism.

Of course, changes can take getting used to, but in an age when iconic species are at risk of being lost forever, killing any individual animal for sheer pleasure — especially in the name of conservation — is highly counterproductive.

To find out more, watch Blood Lions on Wednesday, Oct. 7 at 10 p.m. ET on MSNBC.

The views expressed here are The Dodo’s and do not necessarily reflect those of MSNBC.

By Ameena Schelling – Email: ameena@thedodo.com – Twitter: @amschelling

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Review of Wolves in Ireland by Kieran Hickey, TLS, April 2012.   2 comments

Source

August 30, 2015 by Seamus Sweeney

Going through my writings, I realise how little deals with something of great personal importance to me; nature and the natural world. Of course, semantic quibbling teaches us that “nature” and “natural” are weasel words. Talk about “the sounds of nature”, say, and you leave yourself open to all sorts of critiques and special pleadings. But talk about “the sounds of nature”, and special pleading aside, people know what you mean.

Other pieces about “nature” are no doubt in my oeuvre, but this is the one that springs to mind – a 2013 review of Kieran Hickey’s book on Wolves in Ireland. This is an academic text, and this review is something academic in bent. It was also my first piece to appear on the TLS website . This is the published text.

A burthensome beast

SÉAMUS SWEENEY

Kieran Hickey
WOLVES IN IRELAND
A natural and cultural history
155pp. Four Courts. ¤26.95.
978 1 84682 306 0

Published: 23 April 2012

At the Westminster Parliament in 1657, Major Morgan, representing Wicklow, enumerated the “three beasts to destroy that lay burthensome upon us. The first is the wolf, on whom we lay five pounds a head if a dog, and ten pounds if a bitch; the second beast is a priest, on whose head we lay ten pounds, and if he is eminent more. The third beast is the Tory, and on his head, if he be a public Tory, we lay ten pounds, and if he is a private Tory, we pay 40 shillings”.

Wolves and “wood kernes” (rebels living in forests) were often lumped together in English discourse on Ireland during the early seventeenth century, and Kieran Hickey provides much evidence that the authorities held an exterminationist approach to both creatures. The wolf is commonly supposed to have been eliminated in England and Wales during the reign of Charles II; in Ireland it persisted until the eighteenth century. Before the Cromwellian Wars the local population generally tolerated wolves; thereafter a combination of deforestation, a bounty system, a rising population, and a determination to tame “Wolf Land” all combined to doom the Irish wolf. The most commonly given date and place for the death of the last wild Irish wolf is 1786 in County Carlow.

The tallest breed of dog ever

Hickey, a lecturer in Geography at National University of Ireland, Galway, has written a history with abundant material on the zoology, folklore, history and cultural legacy of the wolf in Ireland. The Irish wolf-hound, the tallest breed of dog ever, and extinct in its original form (today’s wolf-hounds are reconstituted) is also discussed. There is, for a self-styled “cultural history”, little on literature. No mention of The Citizen’s wolfhound, Garryowen in Ulysses, and while we are told twice that W. B. Yeats was photographed posing in a wolfskin, we do not read of the wolves of “The Madness of King Goll” or “Three Marching Songs”.

Hickey is clearly more comfortable on the natural historical and the geographical (particularly wolf-related place names) than the cultural and historical elements. There are some striking solecisms. How different the history of these islands would have been if the Earl of Tyrone had indeed met “Queen Elizabeth’s grandson, John Harington” in 1599. And Hickey refers to the parliament which Major Morgan addressed as “the first united parliament of the three kingdoms”, which would have been a surprise to Oliver Cromwell.

Often the chapters on history and folklore read as an accumulation of somewhat random observations, a not atypical section reading: “The Greeks referred to the volcanic gases that came out of the ground as wolves, and the temple of Apollo in Athens was called the Lyceum, which means wolfskin. The wolf also features in Chinese mythology associated with astrology. Wolves feature heavily in the mythology of the indigenous tribes of North America”. Yet these cavils seems churlish, since Hickey himself cheerfully admits that the range of topics covered brings him outside his academic comfort zone. Indeed, he rather charmingly invites the reader to join in his research on the wolf in Ireland, estimating that many lifetimes would be required to fully work through the material he has gathered.

Hickey uses data such as the records of wolfskin exports from ports in the South-east to Bristol and historical references to wolves in various literary sources to try to extrapolate a population estimate. Of course, both of these methods have limitations that he openly acknowledges (it is very surprising that there are no references to wolves at all for County Donegal, the closest county to wilderness even now), but the natural historical detective work is impressive.

An area of about half the size of Ireland would be needed to support a viable breeding populationHickey also posits an intriguing counterfactual – that if wolves had managed to survive in Ireland up until the Famine, they possibly would have experienced a revival with the massive rural depopulation opening up much potential territory. A reintroduction is not feasible; using pack ranges from the United States (although European wolves tend to roam less), an area of about half the size of Ireland would be needed to support a viable breeding population.

Wolves have roamed Ireland in the last decade; but as escapees from captivity. There is no restriction on keeping wolves as pets, and Hickey cites recent escapes in Counties Fermanagh, Tyrone and Wexford as evidence of somewhat reckless atttitudes. The Welsh philosopher Mark Rowlands, when lecturing at University College Cork, ran daily by the Lee with his wolf Brenin, to the apparent indifference of farmers and passers-by. Perhaps modern Irish attitudes to wolves have returned to their pre-Morgan state.

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Scientists Find That Evolution Of Dogs Was Spurred By Climate Change   Leave a comment

From Inquisitr August 19, 2015

Dog & Wolf

Nature has been most helpful to scientists aiming to study climate change, and thus, changes to the planet are very well documented. It has long been thought by scientists though that while herbivores adapted to the change in climatic conditions, carnivores did not. The recent findings of a study regarding the evolution of dogs has, however, disabused us of that notion.

On Tuesday, Nature Communications released a study by a group of scientists that analyzed North American wolves and fossils that were as old as 40 million years. It was found that these prehistoric dogs had an evolutionary path that was directly linked to climate change. A lot of the main evolution points of these animals occurred in tandem with major shifts in the climate.

The North America known today is very different from 40 million years ago. Back then, the area was a warm woodland. Canine ancestors living in that North America were small animals and bore more of a resemblance to a mongoose. Native dogs 40 million years ago had forelimbs that were not suited to running and instead relied on ambush methods. After a few million more years, though, the forests thinned and gave way to grasslands as the climate became cooler and drier. Herbivores evolved right along with the times, and long-legged animals like the bison and deer proliferated. The prehistoric dogs also were found to evolve at this time from their smaller counterparts.

Evolution of Dogs

Now that there was enough room to run, and less possibility of springing from dense bushes to trap prey, predators adapted also. Upon examination of the over 32 species of fossils, it was determined that the dog’s elbow joints and forelegs evolved to facilitate long-distance running, offering more support and less flexibility. Their teeth became more durable as well, which is speculated to have made it easier to deal with dry raw hides or perhaps the grit of the high plains mixed in with their meat. The dogs evolved from ambushers to the likes of predators like foxes and coyotes, and eventually into wolves, who use more pursuit then pounce methods. These species are so closely linked in the evolution gene pool that modern day scientists still make surprising discoveries.

Christine Janis, who is a co-author of the study and professor of ecology and evolutionary biology at Brown University, said that this study may have a broader impact than on dogs alone.

“It’s reinforcing the idea that predators may be as directly sensitive to climate and habitat as herbivores.”

Our modern day domesticated dogs do not have the need to hunt for their own food, and thus, it is arguable if our current climate change will have much of an impact on them. However, these human-wrought climate shifts may still lead to a change in the physiology of predators.

In inarguable fact, though, is that the study has proven that climate change has had a dramatic impact on both predators and their prey.

[Photos Courtesy of Discovery News and Mauricio Anton / Brown University]

Company of Wolves: one of the most talked about social justice issues of the day   Leave a comment

From Open Graves, Open Minds August 12, 2015 by Lucy Northenra

Recent events suggest that Animal Rights is quickly becoming one of the most talked about social justice issues of the twenty-first century. Garry Marvin, Professor of Human and Animal Studies at the University of Roehampton will be opening up some of these issues for debate at the Company of Wolves Conference in September. Prof Marvin will be giving a keynote address on ‘Cultural Images of the Wolf and the Wolves’ Re-emergence in Europe’. Once again OGOM seems to have its finger on the pulse of contemporary society as these issues are red hot just now.

Those of you who are following the Cecil the Lion story will be know that Cecil’s death has sparked outrage worldwide, as people everywhere lament the damage that humans continue to inflict on the populations of not just lions, but the planet’s many endangered creatures. On Saturday night, the Empire State Building served as a timely, sky-high reminder of this devastating impact, as images and videos of threatened animals were projected onto the façade of the iconic New York City skyscraper. Cecil was one of the animals featured.

Large images of endangered species are projected on the south facade of The Empire State Building, Saturday, Aug. 1, 2015, in New York. The large scale projections are in part inspired by and produced by the filmmakers of an upcoming documentary called “Racing Extinction.” (AP Photo/Craig Ruttle)

You can read about this story in Huffington Post

Looking forward to debating some of these issues at the conference.


Letter: Stop trophy hunting in Canada   Leave a comment

From Montreal Gazette August 10, 2015

A grizzly bear is seen fishing for salmon along the Atnarko river in Tweedsmuir Provincial Park near Bella Coola, B.C.

A grizzly bear is seen fishing for salmon along the Atnarko river in Tweedsmuir Provincial Park near Bella Coola, B.C. JONATHAN HAYWARD / THE CANADIAN PRESS

Given the current outrage regarding Cecil the lion in Africa, the time has come for Canadians to address the issue of trophy hunting here in our country.

For too long, Canada has allowed locals and attracted tourists from around the world to pay large sums of money to hunt grey wolves, cougars, grizzly bears and other species purely for sport.

Many may have heard how Air Canada and other airlines have banned carrying trophy hunting animals from Africa. While at face value this news appears to be something to be encouraged about, the reality is that it is a sadly disappointing gesture.

They have only banned what they call the Big 5. These are animals considered on the at-risk list: rhinos, elephants, lions, leopards and cape buffalo.

So all other animals from Africa and around the world are free game.

How we treat our animals is a reflection of our society’s values and morals and as Canadians we must ask ourselves if we want to be defined by allowing the hunting of animals for sport.

Stephan Graf, St-Colomban 


Animals as Social Beings Is Not Such a Wild Idea   Leave a comment

From Vineyard Gazette on July 30, 2015 by Heather Hamacek

When Carl Safina went for hunting for big game it was for their minds, not their bodies.

With a PhD in ecology and a jaunty writing style, Carl Safina isn’t so much a science writer as he is a writer who is a scientist.

“Other animals are really leading lives that matter to them,” he said in an interview. “They desperately want to stay alive and keep their children alive. Their lives are vivid to them and valid in the world, as valid as humanity is. We need to let them be who they are and leave them some room.”

At the book festival this weekend, Mr. Safina will discuss his new book, Beyond Words: What Animals Think and Feel, which explores the lives of animals and humanity’s relationship with them. The talk begins at 12:45 p.m. Saturday at the Harbor View Hotel in Edgartown. He speaks again on Sunday at the Chilmark Community Center at 10:30 a.m.

His book zeroes in on three enigmatic mega faunas: elephants, wolves and killer whales. Each of these animals suffers from preconceptions that come along with their species as well as troubling histories with humans. Mr. Safina also weaves in examples of apes, domesticated dogs, tortoises and other creatures.

“I wanted to focus on animals that live in complex social structures,” he said. “Where being an individual really matters in the social structure.”

This structure parallels the human experience, but how the animals are like us is the wrong question, the author said. Instead, he wants readers to “open their eyes and hearts and see what life is like for these other creatures.”

Written from a conservational standpoint, Mr. Safina does not get carried away with emotional pleas to protect the animals. He stays true to his scientific background basing all of his arguments on detailed research, and admitting his own doubts when recounting stories.

“I try to make strong but easy to understand arguments based on science,” he said. “I try very hard to understand the research and put it in a way that’s easy to understand [for non-scientists].”

For Mr. Safina, his book fills an important niche in the literary world. Science is about curiosity and discovery, and by targeting his books to scientists and non-scientists alike, that wonder can be more readily shared.

“There’s not a lot of point in having science writing only in scientific journals read by scientists,” he said. “Especially with conservation, there is no point in keeping it hidden.”

Pack animals like wolves served as perfect subject matter. — Carl Safina

Mr. Safina said in the beginning he worried that people would think they already knew everything about the creatures he focused on and be deterred from exploring more. Ultimately, this wasn’t a problem.

“Most of us know these animals on sight, but that’s it,” he said. “It was easy to find things about the animals to tell people.”

Mr. Safina worked on the book for two years, spending time in the field gaining firsthand experiences with the creatures, as well as doing extensive research.

Through a journey from Ambroseli National Park in Kenya to the tundra of Yellowstone National Park and out into the waters off the coast of the Pacific Northwest, the author tries to help humans see how they affect non-humans, even those who live on another continent or no continent at all.

“My role, I feel, is to illuminate the relationship humans have with the rest of the world,” he explained. “The one we have now, it isn’t working for other creatures and it’s not going to be really working for us.”

While reading the book it is easy for readers to forget they are learning as they gambol with elephants, hunt with wolves and dive deep with killer whales. But the end result is a book that makes you think.

When Mr. Safina received the invitation to the book festival, he was delighted.

“When I was there [the Vineyard] in my early 20s I loved it so much, I was afraid to go back,” he said.

New wolf species discovered in Africa   Leave a comment

From treehugger on July 31, 2015 by Melissa Breyer

African golden wolf

© D. Gordon E. Robertson

Named the African golden wolf, the discovery increases the overall biodiversity of the Canidae family from 35 living species to 36.

What lurks in the DNA of East Africa’s golden jackal? Researchers took a look and discovered that in fact, although it looks remarkably similar to the Eurasian golden jackal, the African golden jackal isn’t a jackal at all.

Inspired by reports that the African animal was actually a cryptic subspecies of gray wolf, a new study was hatched by Klaus-Peter Koepfli of the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute and Robert Wayne of the University of California, Los Angeles.

To further explore the DNA evidence in the new study, they relied on frozen DNA samples of golden jackals from Kenya as well as samples from golden jackals in other parts of Africa and Eurasia. From all of the DNA evidence they collected, a different story of the canids’ evolutionary past emerged.

“To our surprise, the small, golden-like jackal from eastern African was actually a small variety of a new species, distinct from the gray wolf, that has a distribution across North and East Africa,” Wayne says. They named the newly recognized species the African golden wolf, bringing the overall biodiversity of the Canidae family (which includes dogs, wolves, foxes, and jackals) from 35 living species to 36.

“This represents the first discovery of a ‘new’ canid species in Africa in over 150 years,” says Koepfli.

The researchers think that earlier zoologists had mistaken African and Eurasian golden jackals for the same species because of the close similarity in their skull and tooth shape. But the genetic data suggests that the two separate lineages have actually been evolving independently for at least a million years – so much so that they aren’t even closely related. The African species is more closely linked to gray wolves and coyotes than jackals.

Koepfli says that the discovery is a good reminder that, “even among well-known and widespread species such as golden jackals, there is the potential to discover hidden biodiversity.”

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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