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“Dave, would you do another legal declaration on the wolf for us?” The weary voice on the phone belonged to Mike Jimenez, Northern Rocky Mountain Wolf Management and Science Coordinator for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS). He was calling from Wyoming to ask me to prepare a document to address a legal challenge to the FWS’s August 2012 delisting of the wolf (Canis lupus) in Wyoming, a highly controversial move. Mike’s tone reflected the reality that — as so many wildlife biologists know and live each day — wildlife management is mainly people management. This contention could not be truer for managing any wildlife species than for managing the wolf. Dubbed “the beast of waste and desolation” by Teddy Roosevelt...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: The Wildlife Professional
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Florida panthers are among the world’s most endangered — and elusive — animals. For approximately four decades, scientists have been researching this small population of panthers that inhabit the dense forests and swamps of south Florida. Because of their wide habitat range along with an absence of clear visual features, these animals are difficult to detect and identify. In 2013, however, researchers released a study that used camera trap images collected between 2005 and 2007 to generate the first statistically reliable density estimates for the remaining population of this subspecies. Camera traps — remotely activated cameras with infrared sensors — first gained measurable popularity in wildlife conservation...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: The Wildlife Professional
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On Earth Day of this year, the British Petroleum-operated Deepwater Horizon oil drilling rig exploded in the Gulf of Mexico, 41 miles off the Louisiana coast. The blast killed 11 workers, injured 17, launched a massive oil spill, and triggered an environmental catastrophe—the full impact of which may not be realized for years.
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: The Wildlife Professional
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Granted interim status in November, 2013, The Wildlife Society’s (TWS) Molecular Ecology Working Group aims to promote scientific advancement by applying molecular techniques to wildlife ecology, management, and conservation. The working group—composed of sci - entists from diverse backgrounds—met for the first time in Pittsburgh at the TWS Annual Conference held in October. Our overarching goal is to enhance awareness of molecular ecology and genetic applica - tions to wildlife biology and act as an informational and networking resource. During the group’s interim status, which runs for three years, we intend to focus on a broad scope of molecular ecology that is applicable to wildlife including genetic and ge...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: The Wildlife Professional
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When I began my career as an assistant waterfowl biologist in 1956, wildlife disease was not a major concern for conservation agencies. Some states— such as California, Michigan, New York, Wyoming, and Colorado— had small internal wildlife disease programs to investigate wildlife mortality events, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) had a program focused on migratory birds.
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: The Wildlife Professional
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Early in July 2013, a colleague in New Caledonia reported the stranding of a green sea turtle on the far northwest of the island. The animal had washed up dead on a rocky beach with multiple large tumors on its neck and hind flippers. To all appearances, the turtle had fibropapillomatosis (FP), a tumor disease affecting marine turtles globally. This was the first known case of FP on the island—an alarming find, and another example of the creeping expansion of this disease in green turtles around the world.
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: The Wildlife Professional
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After achieving promising results in laboratory trials, researchers at the USGS National Wildlife Health Center (NWHC) and University of Wisconsin at Madison will soon begin field testing a new oral vaccine for sylvatic plague, a devastating disease affecting prairie dogs and other mammals, particularly the endangered black-footed ferret. Our team has developed and is currently registering a sylvatic plague vaccine (SPV) that uses raccoon poxvirus (RCN) to express two key antigens of the Yersinia pestis bacterium, the causative agent of plague.
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: The Wildlife Professional
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A parasitic fungus, similar to the one that caused the extinction of numerous tropical frog and toad species, is killing salaman-ders in Europe. Scientists first identified the fungus, Batrachochytrium salamandrivorans, in 2013 as the culprit behind the death of fire salamanders (Salamandra salamandra) in the Netherlands (Martel et al. 2013) and are now exploring its potential impact to other species. Although the fungus, which kills the amphibians by infecting their skin, has not yet spread to the United States, researchers believe it's only a mat-ter of time before it does and, when that happens, the impact on salamander populations could be devastating (Martel et al. 2014). Reports of worldwide declines of amphibians...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: The Wildlife Professional
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In February 2011, a rancher in the rural southern part of Hawaii Island reported a large mammal on her land. Her call mobilized several agencies led by the Big Island Invasive Species Committee (BIISC), a partnership to prevent, detect, and control the establishment and spread of invasive species, to sit up and take notice. Agency biologists installed camera traps to identify the animal, and a few months later verified the diagnostic field marks of a chervid with spots. The animal in questions was a chital, or axis deer (Axis axis)--a species native to tropical and subtropical India. Although the deer are abundant on the islands of Molokai, Lānai, and Maui, officials knew they weren't capable of swimming across...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: The Wildlife Professional
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New research with satellite telemetry shows that the endangered Hawaiian goose, or nene (Branta sandvicensis), appears to be making a comeback&mdsah;and a puzzling one at that.
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: The Wildlife Professional
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In the recent film Contagion, a medical thriller released in fall 2011, the fictitious MEV-1 virus—passed from bat to pig to humans—spreads across the globe as easily as the common cold, killing millions of humans and causing mass hysteria as medical researchers race to find a cure. Though it's Hollywood hyperbole, the film holds a kernel of truth: Researchers believe that the close proximity of Malaysian hog farms to forested areas—the natural habitat for fruit bats—allowed the previously unknown Nipah virus to spill from bats into pigs and subsequently into people, resulting in more than 100 human deaths (Epstein et al. 2006). There is no doubt that in recent times we have seen an unprecedented number of emerging...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: The Wildlife Professional
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Enacted in 1937, the Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration Act – more commonly known as the Pittman-Robertson Act – is one of the oldest and most reliable sources of funding for wildlife conservation in the United States. The result of organized support form sportsmen, fish and wildlife agencies, firearms manufacturers, conservation organizations, and even garden clubs, the PR Act created an excise tax on so-called “long guns” and ammunition used by hunters, thereby establishing the first sustainable source of revenue dedicated to conservation and land management efforts throughout the country. Later, legislators amended the PR Act to include an excise tax on pistols, revolvers, bows, arrows, and other archery equipment.
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: The Wildlife Professional