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National Wildlife Health Center

Capturing oiled birds

Oil Spills

WildCare is part of the Oiled Wildlife Care Network. Oil causes ongoing problems for wildlife long after the initial clean up efforts. Photo by Mary Pounder

White-nose syndrome in bat

White-nose Syndrome in Bats

White-nose syndrome (WNS) was first noted among dead and hibernating bats found in caves near Albany, New York, beginning in February 2007. Affected bats had a white substance, later identified as a fungal infection, on their face and wings. Since March 2008, biologists estimate that over a million bats have died from this disease. While it has not yet spread into the warmer, drier Western states, white-nose syndrome mortality has been documented in 11 states in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic, and in two Canadian provinces. It appears to be moving into the Southern States. Photo by Al Hicks, NY Dept. of Environmental Conservation

Wild Beehive

Colony Collapse Disorder in Bees

Beginning in October 2006, some beekeepers began reporting losses of 30-90 percent of their hives. Photo by David Peterson

Wildlife in the News

  • February 8, 2013: As part of a court-approved settlement, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has committed to publish certain Endangered Species Act (ESA) listing actions in its 2013-2018 Listing Workplan. Read more...
  • January 24, 2013: Common pesticides 'can kill frogs within an hour'. New research suggests the chemicals are playing a significant and previously unknown role in the global decline of amphibians. Read more...
  • January 15, 2013: Plastics and the chemicals they absorb are documented to pose a double threat to marine life because of the pollutants the plastics have absorbed while floating in the open seas. Read more...
  • January 14, 2013: Findings published in the January issue of the journal Emerging Infectious Diseases, reported on raccoons from WildCare that tested positive for a specific virus in the polyoma family, called RacPyV, or raccoon polyomavirus. Read More...
  • January 9, 2013: An outbreak of a previously unknown virus that causes fatal brain cancer in raccoons tested at WildCare has been detected by pathologists at UC Davis. Read more...
  • January 8, 2013: A number of local bird rescue groups are reporting an outbreak of salmonella among pine siskins, small songbirds that are common at Bay Area bird feeders this time of year. WildCare lab tests and confirmed that they died of salmonella. Read more...
  • January 2, 2013: Due to climate change, plant and animal species are shifting their geographic ranges and the timing of their life events - such as flowering, laying eggs or migrating - at faster rates than researchers documented just a few years ago. Read more...
  • December 24, 2012: California sea otters will start the new year with a vast new range of territory far south of their government-imposed grounds north of Point Conception. Read more...
  • December 22, 2012: A new study documents mice and other small mammals avoid dead or injured conspecifics, offering improvements in behavioral wildlife management. Read more...
  • December 12, 2012: Other public health and conservation groups have joined WildCare's fight this week to ban super-toxic rodenticides. Read more...
  • November 17, 2012: The Health and Safety Executive in the UK is consulting on the overuse of rodenticides. The HSE is concerned that the poisons are killing other wildlife – notably birds. There are also fears that the extensive application of rodenticides is resulting in rats becoming immune to the poisons. Read more...
  • November 8, 2012: Wildlife trafficking is a global issue involving national security, public health and economic security, and requires a concerted global response, says Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton. Read more...
  • October 30, 2012: The world’s first family tree linking all living birds and revealing when and where they evolved and diversified since dinosaurs walked the earth has been created by scientists from the University of Sheffield. Read more...
  • October 25, 2012: Four acts to amend the California Department of Fish and Game legislation were signed by Governor Brown in August. Chaptered versions of AB 2402, AB 2609, SB 1148 and SB 1249 are available on the California Legislative Counsel’s website. AB 2402, sponsored by Assemblymember Jared Huffman would change the name to the California Department of Fish and Wildlife. Read more...
  • October 3, 2012: the California Department ofFish and Game Wildlife Investigations Lab offers a Perspective on Rodenticides that confirm hundreds of cases of secondary poisoning in wild animals as varied as San Joaquin Kit Foxes and Golden Eagles. Read more...
  • September 13, 2012: The "siloed" structure of U.S. health agencies is hindering efforts to spot and combat "one-health" animal-to-human afflictions, such as West Nile Virus, New York University sociologist Colin Jerolmack has concluded after conducting an organizational analysis of their operations. Read more...
  • July 18, 2012: Biologists and economists use the term ecosystem services to refer to the ways nature supports human endeavors. Forests filter the water we drink; birds and bees pollinate crops… If we fail to understand and take care of the natural world, it can cause a breakdown of these systems and come back to haunt us in ways we know little about. Read more...
  • July 11, 2012: The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has announced a proposal to open one new refuge to hunting and to expand hunting opportunities at 16 national wildlife refuges in 14 states. If approved, the proposal would provide additional public hunting opportunities in fulfillment of the National Wildlife Refuge System Improvement Act of 1997. Read more...
  • June  25, 2012: California condors (Gymnogyps californianus) still suffer from lead poisoning caused by scavenging the carcasses of animals shot with lead-based ammunition. Unless this source of lead is eliminated, the birds will never survive without human help, a new study finds. Read more...
  • June 23, 2012: In the May issue of the Journal of Medical Entomology, scientists led by Robert E. Thach, PhD, report they have identified the Eastern Gray Squirrel as a major reservoir for tick-borne diseases. Read more...
  • June 17, 2012: California health officials say we are seeing more West Nile Virus activity statewide than we have in the past several years – almost double the number of counties reported by this time last year. Read more...
  • June 14,  2012: Professor Janet Foley, a researcher at U.C. Davis and specialist in vector-borne disease, is initiating a citizen-science approach to studying mange in Western Gray Squirrels in San Bernardino. Residents are being asked to participate in the research study by going to a UC Davis-sponsored website to provide their observations. Read more...
  • June 13, 2012: Researchers at Oxford University have monitored millions of behaviours of wild great tits (Parus major) in order to try and reconstruct the 'big picture' of how individual birds are connected. A 'Facebook for animals' reveals birds form tight-knit social cliques just like humans. Read more...
  • June 9, 2012: Most physicians see animals and their illnesses as somehow “different.” In an essay adapted from their forthcoming book “Zoobiquity: What Animals Can Teach Us About Health and the Science of Healing,” Barbara Natterson-Horowitz, a cardiology professor at U.C.L.A. and writer Kathryn Bowers share a "one-health" point of view. Read more...
  • May 17, 2012: The One Health Global Network (OHGN) is a 'network of networks' that works to bring partners from One Health initiatives together from around the globe. This webportal is currently under development, but it was recently opened to the public. Read more...
  • March 23, 2012: The Obama administration offered new guidance Friday on where wind farms should be located to reduce the number of bird deaths while promoting increased use of wind power. Read more…
  • March 15, 2012: New research shows a link between an increase in the death of bees and insecticides, specifically the chemicals used to coat corn seeds. Read more…
  • March 15, 2012: Ohio lawn and garden care company Scotts Miracle-Gro has pleaded guilty to breaching federal pesticide laws by using an unapproved insecticide, toxic to birds, on bird seed sold nationwide for two years. Read more...
  • March 12, 2012: One hundred organizations in 35 states today formally petitioned the Environmental Protection Agency to regulate toxic lead in hunting ammunition to protect public health and prevent the widespread poisoning of eagles, California condors and other wildlife. Read more...
  • March 9, 2012: The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) announced that the education and training of veterinarians in wildlife and zoological medicine was the focus of legislation recently introduced on Capitol Hill. H.R.3886, The Wildlife Veterinarians Employment and Training (VET) Act, will provide grants to institutions to expand the education and training of veterinarians in wildlife and zoological medicine. Read more...
  • March 7, 2012: The California Department of Fish and Game has released the 2012 Burrowing Owl Staff Report on Burrowing Owl Mitigation, a revision of a 1995 report on the species. Read more...

  • February 29, 2012: The US Geological Survey reports that California sea otters appear to be experiencing an unprecedented increase in mortality from attacks by sharks, according to federal and state scientists. Read more…

  • February 27, 2012: Studies of wind farms built in California and Spain have documented fatalities among birds. Some evidence suggests that poor planning and outmoded turbine design was largely responsible. Bats, however, are susceptible to "'barotrauma", a sense of disorientation caused by the rapid change of air pressure created by a turbines rotating blade. An unexpectedly high number of bat fatalities have been recorded across the US and Europe over the past decade. Read more…

  • February 27, 2012: The New Orleans news website nola.com reports that federal officials tallied 48 marine mammals stranding this year. There continues to be concern that the high numbers of dead animals may be linked in some way to health problems either caused or exacerbated by toxic chemicals left behind by the BP Gulf oil spill. Read more…

  • February 22, 2012: The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) reports that importation of wild animals (mostly as exotic pets) in the United States has introduced such diseases as amphibian chytridiomycosis, exotic Newcastle disease, and monkeypox, which have put wildlife, livestock, and public health, respectively, at risk. Read more…

  • February 21, 2012: Parasites and pathogens infecting humans, pets and farm animals are increasingly being detected in marine mammals such as sea otters, porpoises, harbour seals and killer whales along the Pacific coast of the U.S. and Canada. Read more…

  • February 10, 2011: White-noseSyndrome.org is a North Anerican response to the devastating bat disease. The WNS National Plan charts course for action across the U.S. Read more…

  • February 9,  2012: EcoHealth Alliance scientists created the first-ever global disease hotspots map to identify at-risk regions to help predict and prevent the next pandemic crisis. 

  • January 31, 2012. A desert kit fox population suffering an outbreak of distemper near the Genesis Solar Energy Project was exposed to coyote urine in an attempt to repel the foxes from the site, according to documents released by the California Energy Commission. Read more...

  • January 27, 2012. In a new study published on Thursday in the journal Science, a team of scientists at Michigan State University describes how viruses evolved a new way of infecting cells in little more than two weeks. The report is being published in the midst of a controversy over a deadly bird flu virus that researchers manipulated to spread from mammal to mammal. Read more...

  • January 26, 2012. California condors die in the wild chiefly from lead poisoning and other human-caused problems, a new study shows. Scientists at the San Diego Zoo Institute for Conservation Research documented wild condor deaths at all sites where the birds are released, in Central and Southern California, Arizona and northern Mexico, from the start of the reintroduction program in October 1992 through December 2009. They attributed 53 of 76 condor mortalities, or 70 percent, to human influences. Read more...

  • January 23, 2012. In partnership with state, tribal, and federal agency partners, the Obama administration released the first draft national strategy help reduce the impacts of climate change on wildlife species, ecosystems, and the people and economies that depend on them. Read more...

  • January 7, 2012: This week, researchers at San Francisco State University published a paper with a finding that bees on their own campus have been invaded by parasitic flies, who lay their eggs in the bees abdomen which causes the bees to become disoriented. Read more...

  • January 4, 2012: Northern California scientists say they have found a possible explanation for a honey bee die-off that has decimated hives around the world: A parasitic fly that hijacks the bees' bodies and causes them to abandon hives. Read more...
  • December 21, 2011: Scientists who visited more than a dozen sites where Little Brown Bats nest in the western part of Vermont found thriving colonies that appear to be resistant to white-nose syndrome, a disease caused by an aggressive fungus. Read more...
  • December 20, 2011: The legal exotic pet trade... an animal can go from roaming a rainforest on one side of the globe to sleeping in a child's bedroom on the other within the span of about four days without breaking any laws -- and without having undergone any screening for disease. Read more...
  • December 19, 2011: In July, government scientists discovered a nest of seabird chicks, Common Murres, on the Channel Islands off California's coast. This is the first time baby birds of this species have been seen here since 1912. Read more...
  • December 8, 2011: When Franklin D. Roosevelt said we have nothing to fear but fear itself, he could have easily been talking about songbirds. A new study shows that the mere sound of predators reduces both the number and survival rate of songbird offspring, regardless of the true threat. Read more...
  • November 21, 2011: Live bullfrogs imported to San Francisco from frog farms in Taiwan carry a chytrid fungus linked to vanishing amphibians around with world. The disease can spread to native amphibian populations if an infected frog escapes captivity or is set free, or if the water from its holding tank is released into the environment. Efforts to ban the importation of non-native for food purposes have consistently met resistance. Read more...
  • October 24, 2011: In an increasingly interconnected world, fungal diseases are spreading at an alarming rate and have led to deadly outbreaks in amphibian, bat, and bee populations. And in the last decade, researchers note, some of the most virulent strains have infected people. Read more...
  • October 8, 2011. San Francisco became the first major city to enact standards aimed at lowering bird-building collisions. Mayor Edwin Lee signed into law the new Standards for Bird Safe Buildings following unanimous approval from the city’s Board of Supervisors. Read more...
  • October 1, 2011. The increasing threat from emerging infectious diseases has led to the creation of a United Nations task force responsible for devising an integrated approach for managing the health of ecosystems, wildlife, livestock, and people within a one-health framework. Read more...
  • September 13, 2011. The integrated One Health approach is critically important to a healthy and prosperous future. One of the primary goals for the OHC is to facilitate and promote vital projects that give us the opportunity to transform the way human, animal, and environmental health-related disciplines and institutions work together. Read more...
  • July 13, 2011. The 15 million wasp eggs scattered across neighborhoods in Sacramento and San Luis Obispo counties represent a rare return to historical methods of pest control. Read more...

  • July 11, 2011. Genetically modified corn and soybeans have been developed to be tolerant of the herbicide Roundup, allowing farmers to spray weeds without harming the crop. This is having a negative impact on Monarch Butterflies, that feed on milkweed in their larval stage. Read more...

  • July 6, 2011. Ecologists are battling one another over the value of nonnative species. Last month, Mark Davis and colleagues argued in Nature that native plants and animals don't necessarily deserve special protection over nonnative species, especially in light of the fact that climate change and other environmental pressures are rapidly reducing many species' options. Read more...

  • June 19, 2011. The true value of nature can be shown for the very first time thanks to groundbreaking research by UK scientists. The research forms the basis of a major new independent report – the UK National Ecosystem Assessment (UK NEA) – which reveals that nature is worth billions of pounds to the UK economy. The report strengthens the arguments for protecting and enhancing the environment and will be used by the government to direct policy in future. Read more...

  • June 6, 2011. To better protect children, pets and wildlife, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced today that it is moving to ban the sale to residential consumers of the most toxic rat and mouse poisons, as well as most loose bait and pellet products. Read more...

  • May 21,2011. Chronic wasting disease (CWD) has spread among wild populations of deer in many areas of the country. Attempts to stop its spread have been ongoing and costly. Now a naturally occurring disinfectant has been found to exist within common lichens that might actually be able to stop prions in the wild. Read more...

  • May 17, 2011. The US Fish & Wildlife Service unveiled a national management plan to address the threat posed by white-nose syndrome (WNS). Read more...

  • May 13, 2011. Honeybees are taking emergency measures to protect their hives from pesticides. By sealing up cells full of contaminated pollen, bees appear to be attempting to protect the rest of the hive in an extraordinary example of the natural world adapting swiftly to our depredations, according to a prominent bee expert. Read more...

  • May 6, 2011. White-nose syndrome in bats has just been reported in 12 European countries. But unlike the American epidemic, the European infection has not been associated with mortality. This suggests the fungus has been in Europe a long time, and that European bats may have coevolved with the fungus. Read more...

  • April 17, 2011. An article in the Sacramento Bee reports about a new generation of highly toxic, long-lasting poisons that kills not only rats, mice and ground squirrels, but whatever feeds on them, too. Read more...

  • March 14, 2011. A new study shows American birds of prey are at high risk of poisoning from pest control chemicals.The research, published in Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry, considers the threat posed by diphacinone as its usage increases following restrictions on the use of similar pesticides. Read more...

  • March 10, 2011. Recent discoveries are shedding light on possible answers to the puzzle of Colony Collapse Disorder in honeybees. Suspect are commercial agricultural pesticides such as clothianidin, parasites such as the varroa destructor and possibly a combination of a virus and a fungus, which was found in all collapsed colonies in a U.S. study last year. Read more...

  • February 11, 2011. "Get the lead out," takes on a new meaning this month, with news that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has banned the use of lead ammunition to control nuisance birds such as crows, blackbirds and grackles. Read more...

  • February 3, 2011. Researchers have found a clue to the puzzle of White-nose Syndrome in Arturo Casadevall's theory based on the ability of mammals' bodies to control, and elevate, their temperatures. Read more...

  • January 28, 2011. Southern sea otters recently passed two grim milestones, report wildlife officials, demonstrating that the threatened marine mammal is not faring well in California waters. Read more...

  • January 26, 2011. Mercury contamination in California's San Francisco Bay, a legacy of California mining, has been called "public enemy No. 1". Mercury mining and gold recovery, combined with present day oil refineries, chemical manufacturing plants and wastewater treatment plants have contributed enough mercury to threaten wildlife and prompt a fish consumption advisory in the Bay Area. Read more...

  • December 28, 2010. Penn State researchers have found that native pollinators, like wild bees and wasps, are infected by the same viral diseases as honey bees and that these viruses are transmitted via pollen. Read more...

  • December 13, 2010. A study published today in Environmental Health News has confirmed that an extra-potent class of rodenticides that has flooded the market in recent decades kills owls and other wildlife. Owls are dying under gruesome circumstances, bleeding to death from stomach hemorrhages in an agonizing and days-long decline. Brand names of these highly-toxic "single-dose" rodenticides include Havoc, Talon, Contrac, Maki, Ratimus and d-CON Mouse Pruf II. Read more...

  • December 12, 2010. The Decade's Top Ten New Species. As 2010 draws to a close, scientists have been looking back over the array of new species that have been discovered since the beginning of the century. Read more...

  • December 2, 2010. A study published today in Nature reported the Impacts of Biodiversity on the Emergence and Transmission of Infectious Diseases and found that current unprecedented declines in biodiversity reduce the ability of ecological communities to provide many fundamental ecosystem services. Overall, despite many remaining questions, current evidence indicates that preserving intact ecosystems and their endemic biodiversity should generally reduce the prevalence of infectious diseases. Read more...

  • September 21, 2010. From “one medicine” to “one health” and systemic approaches to health and well-being. The inextricable interconnection of humans, pet animals, livestock and wildlife and their social and ecological environment is evident and requires integrated approaches to human and animal health and their respective social and environmental contexts. Read more...

   

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Baby squirrel. Photo by Alison Hermance
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