Ohio Waterfowl Were Poisoned

Ducks vs. EthanolHow do I put this nicely? Ducks drop dead every day. So do geese, grebes and other waterfowl. Several diseases, such as avian cholera, are capable of sweeping through large flocks, leaving many bodies behind. Most stories about waterfowl deaths end in the cause being something quite natural, if unpleasant for the neighbors.

That’s why this story out of Ohio is odd. About 50 mallards, domestic cross-breeds and Canada geese were poisoned in an urban area. Little blue pellets of poison were found. No suspects yet.

The NBC4i story has more details.
The WCBE story gets right to the point.

Photo: A healthy mallard duck drake, no where near Columbus, Ohio. Photo by Erwin and Peggy Bauer, courtesy USFWS

August Research Round-up

NYS bobcat– Ohio Department of Natural Resources is studying how and why bobcats have returned to the state, by tracking 21 collared bobcats, The Madison Press reports. Previous research showed that there are two distinct populations of bobcats in the state. DNA analysis showed that the bobcats in both populations are from Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Kentucky. Read more in The Madison Press, here.

– David “Doc Quack” Riensche, an East Bay Regional Park District biologist, has been studying western pond turtles in in the eastern foothills of Mount Diablo outside Clayton, California for three years, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. The study has collected information on where the turtles winter and lay eggs. Western pond turtles are the only turtle native to California, but they face competition from non-native turtle species. Read more in the San Francisco Chronicle, here.

– Nearly 100 research volunteers surveyed the Cherokee Nation in Oklahoma for bats for this year’s “Bat Blitz,” organized by the Southeastern Bat Diversity Network, the Catoosa Times reports. One of the goals of the blitz is to document bat diversity before white nose syndrome harms bat populations in Oklahoma. Read more in the Catoosa Times.

Photo: This bobcat was in New York State. Photo courtesy NYS DEC

Ashe: Exotics Are the States’ Job

The recent incident in Ohio, where a man released many of his exotic animal pets (including large carnivores) and then shot himself, will not lead to any changes in federal regulations of exotics, said Dan Ashe, director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service at an informal talk at the Society of Environmental Journalists conference in Miami last week.

“Exotic pets will continue to be regulated by the states,” Ashe said. He added that the states have traditionally played the lead role in regulating exotic pets, and that they should continue to fill that role.

You certainly know your own state’s regulations, but do you know how they compare to the regulations in other states?

According to Born Free USA, West Virginia and Wyoming have no regulations on possessing exotic animals. States with some regulation, but without a license or permit requirement include Alabama, Idaho and South Carolina. In Ohio, the site says, “No person may bring into the state a non-domestic animal unless the possessor: obtains an entry permit; health certificate certifying the animal is free of infectious diseases; and a certificate of veterinary inspection. Persons in the state possessing non-domestic animals do not need to obtain a permit.”

For more information on what the requirements in those states are, see the state by state listing at Born Free USA Web site.

Photo: Dan Ashe at the Society of Environmental Journalists conference. State Wildlife Research News. Click here for terms of use.

Lake Erie Watersnake Declared Recovered

The Lake Erie watersnake is the 23rd species to be delisted from the Endangered Species Act due to its recovery. Not as glamorous as the bald eagle or American alligator, the Lake Erie watersnake is a harmless snake species found on offshore islands in western Lake Erie.

An article in the Cleveland Plain Dealer says the round goby, an invasive fish, and a public education campaign were keys to the species’ recovery:

The arrival of round gobies in Lake Erie Рa bottom dwelling fish that came from the Black and Caspian seas via ballast water from ships Рcrowded out native fish like madtom, stonecat, and longperch, but helped Lake Erie watersnakes rebound.

 Read the US Fish and Wildlife press release here. (Most media coverage is a rehash of the release.) The release has links to a fact sheet on the snake, and the final rule. The Cleveland Plain Dealer story goes beyond the release.

The state of Ohio will retain the snake on its list of endangered species.

Photo: A very cooperative Lake Erie watersnake (bottom of photo), photo courtesy of the US Fish and Wildlife Service

White nose syndrome in Ohio, New Brunswick

The Ohio Department of Natural Resources has confirmed the presence of white nose syndrome in bats hibernating in an abandoned mine in the Wayne National Forest in Lawrence County, Ohio. The infected bats were found during surveys in February and March. The Southeastern Wildlife Disease Study in Athens, Georgia evaluated samples taken at the mine and confirmed the presence of the syndrome.

The press release was issued by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, and can be found here. So far the local news reports are just reprinting the press release.

In other white nose syndrome news, the syndrome has struck a third Canadian province, New Brunswick. The infected bats were found hibernating in a cave in Albert County, New Brunswick about two weeks ago. The syndrome seems to be hitting the New Brunswick bats harder than it did bats in Quebec or Ontario.

There are stories on the discovery in the Bangor Daily News (Maine), and on CBC News (Canada).

Photo credit: Wayne National Forest and US Fish and Wildlife Service
Photo: A bat during the survey that discovered WNS in Ohio.