Veterinarian Gladys Kalema-Zikusoka has been studying mountain gorillas in Uganda for two decades, and she founded the nonprofit group Conservation Through Public Health in an effort to educate people about the critically endangered mountain gorilla population. Her work involves monitoring and treating diseases in gorillas and educating the public about the connection between gorillas and human health. Dr. Kalema-Zikusoka works to strike a balance between conservation and economics, noting that while ecotourism helps the local economy, it also exposes the gorillas to human diseases that could have devastating consequences for the species. CNN (4/22)
Veterinarian Lynne Nelson and researcher Charles Robbins of Washington State University study the only research colony of grizzly bears in the U.S., and their work may help unravel some mysteries of human health. Before hibernation, the bears must pack on more than 100 pounds. Then they enter a state of reduced activity when their heart rate drops to 15 beats per minute and only two of their four heart chambers function, yet they can still stand and change positions. Using echocardiograms, blood tests and other tools, the researchers hope to identify the factors that make these changes possible. The Spokesman-Review (Spokane, Wash.) (free content)/Washington State
Bearded dragons are the source of 132 human cases of salmonella infection across 31 states in the past two years, according to the CDC. Forty-two percent of those infected required hospitalization and many patients were young children, according to CDC veterinarian and epidemiologist Casey Barton Behravesh. Star Tribune (Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minn.)/The Associated Press (4/24)
This is really too bad as beardies are so lovable and are easily handled. The puppies of the lizard world.
The snowy owl that gained attention in Washington, D.C., for its habit of perching on ledges around the city was released along the Wisconsin-Minnesota border after surgery and weeks of rehabilitation. The owl was reportedly hit by a bus, and it was prepared for release at the University of Minnesota’s Raptor Center. Veterinarian Julia Ponder, the center’s executive director, released the owl. Pittsburgh Tribune-Review/The Associated Press (4/19)
A well-known mountain lion that roams a Los Angeles park is apparently suffering the effects of rodenticide exposure, say scientists who collected samples from the animal last month when they were changing batteries in its GPS collar. “When people put these bait traps outside their homes or businesses, they may not realize that the poison works its way up the food chain, becoming more lethal as the dose accumulates in larger animals,” said wildlife ecologist Seth Riley. Brattleboro Reformer (Vt.)/The Associated Press (4/17)
It’s possible that the ability to fly protects bats from infection with the 60-plus viruses they carry, many of which are zoonotic, according to a recent study published in the journal Emerging Infectious Diseases. The thinking is that during flight, a bat’s metabolic rate soars to 15 to 16 times the resting level, raising body temperature in a way that might protect the animal from illness. This could also explain why millions of bats have succumbed to white-nose syndrome during hibernation. NBC News (4/16)
According to a National Wildlife Federation report, at least 14 species are still suffering the effects of the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Unusually high annual death rates, residue in tissues, anemia, lung and liver problems and more have been documented in some species, including dolphins. BP, which operated the oil rig that was the source of the spill, says the report does not reflect scientific studies of the ecosystem, arguing that evidence that some species have not been harmed was left out of the report. National Geographic News (free registration) (4/8)