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Talkin' Pets News

April 27, 2024

Host - Jon Patch

Co-Host - Vet Tech Marcus Porter

Producer - Kayla Cavanaugh

Network Producer - Alex

Special Guest - American Idol Alum Alex Miller to promote and give away his new EP, My Daddy's Dad in hour 2 at 630pm ET

Although bird flu viruses mainly infect and spread among wild migratory water birds and domestic poultry, some bird flu viruses can infect and spread to other animals as well. Bird flu viruses have in the past been known to sometimes infect mammals that eat (presumably infected) birds or poultry, including but not limited to wild animals, such as seals, bears, foxes, skunks; farmed mink; stray or domestic animals, such as cats and dogs; and zoo animals, such as tigers and leopards. H5N1 bird flu viruses have been detected sporadically in some domestic animals, including cats during outbreaks in Thailand in 2004, Northern Germany in 2006, and Poland and South Korea in 2023. Additionally, cases have been reported in cats, dogs, goat kids (juvenile goats), and dairy cows in North America. In December 2023, H5N1 virus infections were reported for the first time in mammals in both polar regions: an infected polar bear, which died in Alaska, and in elephant and fur seals in the Antarctic. While it’s very rare for people to be infected with bird flu viruses through contact with infected wild, stray, feral, or domestic mammals, it is possible—especially if there is prolonged and unprotected exposure to the animal. There have been two instances in the United States where bird flu virus spread from mammals to people, involving a cat in 2016 and a cow in 2024.

If your domestic animals (e.g., cats or dogs) go outside and could potentially eat or be exposed to sick or dead birds infected with bird flu viruses, or an environment contaminated with bird flu virus, they could become infected with bird flu. While it’s unlikely that you would get sick with bird flu through direct contact with your infected pet, it is possible. For example, in 2016, the spread of bird flu from a cat to a person was reported in NYC. The person who was a veterinarian who had mild flu symptoms after prolonged exposure to sick cats without using personal protective equipment. If your pet is showing signs of illness compatible with bird flu virus infection and has been exposed to infected (sick or dead) wild birds/poultry, you should monitor your health for signs of fever or infection. During outbreaks of bird flu in wild birds and/or poultry, people who have had direct contact with infected or potentially infected animals, including sick animals that might have eaten bird flu-infected birds, should monitor their health for fever and symptoms of infection. Signs and Symptoms may include:

  • Fever (Temperature of 100°F [37.8°C] or greater) or feeling feverish/chills*
  • Cough
  • Sore throat
  • Difficulty breathing/Shortness of breath
  • Conjunctivitis (eye tearing, redness, irritation, or discharge from eye)
  • Headaches
  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Diarrhea

*Fever may not always be present. Call your state/local health department immediately if you develop any of these signs or symptoms during the 10-days after your exposure to an infected or potentially infected animal. Discuss your potential exposure and ask about testing. If testing is recommended, isolate as much as possible until test results come back and/or you have recovered from your illness. 

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Karen, a “vibrant and beloved” ostrich who made her home at the Topeka Zoo, has died after swallowing a zoo staffer’s set of keys, zoo officials said.

The untimely passing was announced by the Topeka Zoo on Friday after Karen “tragically succumbed to complications arising from consuming a foreign object.”

“The circumstances surrounding Karen's passing serve as a solemn reminder of the importance of vigilance and care in maintaining the safety of our animal inhabitants. In this instance, Karen reached beyond her exhibit fence to grab the keys of a staff member,” the Topeka Zoo said in their announcement. “She immediately swallowed the keys.”

Officials from the zoo consulted with experts across the country to undergo surgical and non-surgical efforts to minimize the impact of the keys but these efforts ultimately proved to be unsuccessful.

“The Topeka Zoo remains committed to ensuring the well-being of all our animals, implementing rigorous protocols to safeguard against such incidents in the future,” officials said.

Karen had been an “adored resident” of the Topeka Zoo since the opening of Giraffe & Friends in March of 2023, the zoo said. Karen was known for her water loving habits “like swimming in the pool, playing in the sprinkler, and, best of all, being our ‘dancing queen’” and the zoo said that guests and staff were able to form “deep connections with her, captivated by her playful antics.”

In the aftermath of Karen’s death, the Topeka Zoo said they have conducted a “thorough investigation” and is taking appropriate actions regarding the team member involved.

The zoo also confirmed that they will be reviewing and enhancing its protocols to further strengthen the safety measures in place for all its animal residents.

"We are devastated by the loss of Karen," expressed Fawn Moser, Interim Director of the Topeka Zoo. "She was not just an animal; she was a beloved member of our community. Our thoughts are with our dedicated animal care team, who formed deep bonds with Karen during her time with us."

Said the zoo: “The Topeka Zoo extends its deepest gratitude to the community for their outpouring of support during this difficult time.”

 

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In an amazing photo gone viral, a man tried to take photos of an octopus when the cheeky cephalopod grabbed the camera, and took a few of him!

The photo soared to the top of Reddit after being posted by filmmaker Ben Savard, the bespectacled man in the photo, and whom many Reddit users dubbed as a very "scientist-y looking person."

Savard told ABC that the incident happened recently while he was working for Middlebury College in Vermont, making a short film about the scientific studies going on at the school. While documenting a project in the neuroscience department, Savard asked the head student researcher -- also seen in the background -- if he could grab some underwater photos of the octopus.

"I set up a GoPro to take a bunch of still images every second, put it in the tank, and what you see is the result!" Savard told ABC. "The octopus picked up the camera, played with it for a while, turned it back at me for a quick second, and left it alone."

Though a few Reddit users asserted that the photo looked staged, Savard gave ABC the full photo series to disprove any naysayers. Later, he compiled those images into a GIF.

Savard says that the project he was documenting is "testing the extent to which octopuses can learn through observation."

And the spineless thief has clearly learned something about cameras, it seems.

 

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A small English town has immortalized a group of iconic British figures: Queen Elizabeth II and her corgis.

The memorial statue to the late monarch was unveiled on April 21 in Oakham, England — a bronze monument of the queen in royal regalia with her cherished dogs at her feet.

An official celebration marked the unveiling of the statue created by sculptor Hywel Pratley, which stands near the town's library, according to Rutland County Council's post on Instagram. The RCC wrote that the statue is the "first permanent memorial" to the late queen.

The ceremony was held on what would've been Queen Elizabeth's 98th birthday. She died at 96 in 2022 after a 70-year run as Britain's longest-reigning monarch.

The statue was commissioned by Dr. Sarah Furness, Lord-Lieutenant of Rutland, who appeared at the event along with other local dignitaries, high school bands and bagpipers, according to the RCC. The design for the corgi dogs was created by local children, the RCC stated.

“What most of us remember about Queen Elizabeth is her warmth,” Furness said in a speech, according to The New York Times. “By showing Queen Elizabeth’s love of dogs, we show her humanity."

Funding for the statue was raised from donations by the public and local businesses, according to the BBC. The ceremony brought fans of Queen Elizabeth from around the country.

“I miss (the Queen), and I wanted to come and see what the statue was like," spectator Jodie Paterson told the BBC.

The statue is the latest monument to the queen in the 18 months since her death. Another statue of the late monarch was unveiled at London's Royal Albert Hall in December 2023.

 

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Pasadena-based Tail Town Cats, operator of Tail Town Cat Café and Adoption Center, has been recognized as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit charity for their work involving cat and kitten adoption, prevention of cruelty to animals and public education surrounding animal welfare. Tail Town Cat Café and Adoption Center offers an up close and personal location for those looking to learn more about cats as well as those looking for a fun place to relax and make new feline friends. 

With this new designation, Tail Town becomes the second nonprofit cat lounge in the Los Angeles area. At 2,000 square feet it is also one of the largest nonprofit cat cafes in California, and the only cat café in the San Gabriel Valley. With the change in status Tail Town is also announcing an expanded membership program.

“Tail Town opened with the modest goal to connect foster cats with adopters in an open-air environment, but it’s grown into something that’s truly special: fun, wonderful, quirky and wild that brings an unexpected twist into what is found at other cat cafes,” said Gwendolyn Mathers, acting executive director of Tail Town Cats. “We are working on a number of new ideas that include developing an immersive experience in the lounge for visitors and lots of playful opportunities for the cats of course!”

Community support will be a substantial source of funding to help in Tail Town’s growth, and proceeds from lounge visits, events and space rental helps Tail Town operate and find homes for more kitties. Over the past three years Tail Town has adopted out 365 rescued cats, helping to find them amazing families and homes.

“The transition of Tail Town into a nonprofit will open so many opportunities for donations and fundraising, partnerships with companies and other awesome local businesses in our community, and provide a unique space for private events looking to support our work in rescue, education and adoption,” continued Mathers. “Nonprofit status also allows us to build our volunteer base though new avenues and offer more options for community service.”

With Tail Town functioning as a nonprofit, all one-time or recurring donations (including lounge and event visits) that are made though www.tailtowncats.com are tax-deductible to the fullest extent of the law. Wishlist gifts are also included. Current member-only benefits include the ability to visit for free on any day that the cat cafe is open, savings off event tickets and Tail Town merchandise. According to Mathers, monthly membership program features are growing.

“With the support of ‘regulars’ we are excited to expand our membership that gives back, offering fun new things to do with merchandise, members-only movie nights, different support tiers, swag, event perks and early access to our group sessions that sell out fast,” continued Mathers.

 

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An alligator may have been testing security at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa Florida when the reptile wandered onto one of its runways. 

Video posted on the base’s Facebook page shows the reptile being wrangled by Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission officers next to an airplane.

MacDill joked that the gator was pushed out of its home by Elvis, an even bigger gator known to frequent the area. 

The base thanked FWC for the help and added that the gator had been relocated to a more suitable location. 

According to the FWC, alligator courtship begins in early April and mating season takes place in May or June. 

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A video has captured Colorado Parks and Wildlife officers straddling a high wall and dangling a rope during their successful effort in rescuing two young mountain lions that had become trapped in a spillway.  CPW’s Southwest Region said the rescue unfolded as officials were preparing to release water down the Vallecito Reservoir spillway outside of Durango. 

"A release of water likely would have drowned the two lions," it said, noting that the Pine River Irrigation District allowed its officers onto hydroelectric plant property to attempt the rescue.  Video released by CPW then showed one of its officers dangling a rope from atop a wall and lifting one of the animals up from the spillway far below. 

"The first mountain lion held onto the rope all the way to the top of the spillway barrier and quickly ran off into the woods. The second lion, however, wouldn’t hold onto the rope and ran down the spillway all the way to where the Los Pinos River continues below the dam," it said. "Unwilling to swim to reach the bank, the young lion continued to pace around at the water’s edge and moved into a corner of the spillway." 

CPW says one of its officers then went down into the spillway himself and managed to get the mountain lion interested in the rope.  "With the lion interested in the rope, CPW staff were also able to use a catch pole and all together we lifted the lion over the concrete wall and quickly released it. However, the lion decided to hide under a truck for a few minutes," it said. 

One of the Colorado Parks and Wildlife officers had to enter the spillway himself to complete the rescue.  "After everyone backed off and it took time to regroup, the young lion ran off in the same direction as its sibling," CPW added. 

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A British tourist has been attacked by a bear while taking selfies in her car after spotting the animal as she travelled along a mountain road.

The 72-year-old tourist, from Scotland, saw two of the large animals as she took on the Transfăgărășan mountain road in Argeş County, Romania, yesterday and decided to roll down the window to take a snap. One bear hopped onto its hind legs outside the car and mauled her arm.

Luckily the woman's companion drove away quickly to escape further attack, and the OAP was taken to a nearby hospital for treatment after the attack in the Carpathian Mountains. She told local media: “I come from Scotland.” A reporter asked: “Your arm is okay?” The tourist replied: “No, it’s sore. We were in the car and we were going to take a picture. And the bears came up to the window.”

In her hospital bed, the tourist said: “I just wanted to take a picture of him.”

Doctors have since confirmed that the woman’s injuries are not life-threatening. Following the attack, the police organised themselves into several teams to drive the bears away from the area. They also advised residents and tourists to always keep a safe distance if encountering animals in the wild.

Back in October last year a shocking video captured the terrifying moment a bear attacked a security guard at a five-star holiday resort in Colorado, USA. The security footage showed the black bear walking through the kitchen before it returns back the way it came, going into another room.

A security guard at St. Regis Aspen Resort tentatively walks into the kitchen with a walkie-talkie in hand and slowly begins walking towards the room where the bear is. Catching him by surprise, the agile bear skids round the corner on its hind legs and shoves the security guard to the ground. It watches the man fall and leave, before turning round and heading down a corridor.

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Several military horses bolted during routine exercises near King Charles III’s main residence in London on Wednesday and ran loose through the center of the city, injuring at least four people and colliding with vehicles during the morning rush hour.

Chaos erupted when about seven horses from the Household Cavalry became spooked by noise caused by nearby construction workers while the animals were taking exercise in Belgravia, a swanky neighborhood just to the west of Buckingham Palace, British media reported.

The riderless horses galloped down main roads in central London, running into vehicles and stunning commuters as they headed to work. The horses were all captured shortly after and and are undergoing medical tests, officials said.

Pictures and videos shared widely across social media showed two of the horses running at speed down Aldwych, in between London’s historic financial center and the busy West End theater district.

One of the horses had its front covered by what appeared to be blood or red paint. The Army has not yet confirmed whether it was blood or what caused the injury.

Megan Morra, who was on her way to work, told the BBC that she saw one of the horses had a head injury.

“There was a lot of blood,” she said. “I was a bit distressed to be honest, looking at the poor horse.”

A taxi waiting near Buckingham Palace appeared to have a car window smashed by a spooked horse, while a parked double-decker tour bus had its windshield damaged.

“All of the horses have now been recovered and returned to camp,” an Army spokesperson said. “A number of personnel and horses have been injured and are receiving the appropriate medical attention.”

The London Ambulance Service said it treated four people across three separate incidents in the space of ten minutes after the horses ran amok around 8:30 a.m.

The horses are from the Household Cavalry, the ceremonial guard of the monarch and a regular feature of state functions in London.

Two of the horses were later contained in Limehouse, around 4 miles (6 kms) east of central London, City of London police said.

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The Human Animal Bond Research Institute (HABRI) today announced a new grant for research that investigates the contribution of pet dog ownership to resilience and well-being in adolescent children of military families. This grant was awarded to a team of researchers at Florida Atlantic University Christine E. Lynn College of Nursing’s Canines Providing Assistance to Wounded Warriors (C-P.A.W.W.) led by Laurie Martinez, Ph.D., MBA, MSN, RN, AHN-BC and co- led by Cheryl A. Krause-Parello PhD, RN, FAAN.

This important study will provide insight into how pet dogs support well-being and resilience in adolescents while a parent or guardian is in the National Guard, Reserve, is a veteran, or on active duty. Adolescents in military families face ubiquitous teen stressors and unique military challenges (e.g., parental deployment, frequent relocations). Dog ownership is suggested as a contextual resource of strength to counter the effects of adolescent military-specific stressors and promote positive outcomes.

“With approximately 66% of households in the U.S. owning a pet, military family pet dogs are an understudied innovative resource that may mitigate military-connected adolescent stress and nurture resilience and well-being,” explained Dr. Martinez, Principal Investigator of the study. “Exploring how pet dogs can serve as conduits to better mental health outcomes opens new pathways for daily health promotion.”

This longitudinal, observational pilot study will conduct scientifically validated surveys to investigate the role of pet dogs in the lives of military adolescents between the ages of 12 to 18. Researchers expect to find higher levels of resilience, improved well-being, reduced depression, and lower perceived stress in dog-owning adolescents compared to military adolescents who do not own a pet dog.

“We hope that this research will inform policies and programs aimed at improving health for children in military families,” said Steven Feldman, President, HABRI.

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Animal Protection NGO, Cruelty Free International, the leading organization working to end animal testing around the world, is asking U.S. citizens to support three key bills to advance humane science, save animals from testing, and give animals used in laboratories a chance to find a loving forever home.

U.S. residents are invited to contact their Representative about all three acts by using Cruelty Free International’s easy tool at https://crueltyfreeinternational.org/cruelty-free-us.

The Humane and Existing Alternatives in Research and Testing Sciences (HEARTS) Act (H.R. 1024) amends the Public Health Service Act to help ensure that animals are not being used in painful experiments when non-animal methods could be used in research proposals funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The bill also establishes a dedicated center within the NIH devoted to advancing new alternative methods and developing a plan for reducing the use of animals in federal funded research.

The Humane Cosmetics Act (H.R .5399) ends the use of outdated animal tests for cosmetic products manufactured and sold in the U.S., thus harmonizing legislation passed by 13 U.S. states and many countries around the world, including our biggest trading partner, the European Union, and our closest neighbors, Mexico and Canada.

The Companion Animal Release from Experiments [CARE] Act (H.R. 2878) requires all research facilities that receive funding from the NIH to develop and implement policies for the adoption of dogs, cats, or rabbits that are no longer wanted for research.

Together these bills can save animals’ lives, advance science, and positively impact human health, the environment, and the economy.

World Day For Animals In Laboratories is held annually to remember the millions of animals used in experiments every year. Official figures from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) show that, in 2021, a total of 712,683 animals[1] were used in experiments – including 71,921 monkeys, 44,847 dogs and 12,595 cats. However, USDA figures do not include mice, rats, fish or birds – the animals most commonly used in experiments. As a result, Cruelty Free International estimate the true number of animals used in experiments in the U.S. every year to be at least 14 million.

In 2021, Category E experiments, in which no relief is provided for animals experiencing pain or distress, involved 70,161 animals – 10% of the total tested on in the U.S. The most frequent victims of these painful experiments are hamsters and guinea pigs, but in 2021, 2,583 rabbits, 1,621 monkeys and 360 dogs were also subjected to Category E tests.

Head of Public Affairs – North America, Cruelty Free International, Monica Engebretson, says, “With the U.S. election campaign in full swing and occupying much of Congress’ attention, this makes the next few months even more crucial in bringing these bills to the attention of our Representatives who can make them law.

“Ever-evolving science and technology are creating opportunities to move closer to the goal of replacing animals in research and testing. Non-animal alternatives increasingly give better results and are of greater relevance to human conditions than animal methods, which rely on different species with different anatomies and physiologies. You can do this by supporting the following three bills. These options save animal lives, advance science, and positively impact human health, the environment, and the economy.”  

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The land of Old Faithful wasn’t always so lush. Two decades ago, Yellowstone National Park was the victim of defoliation, erosion, and an unbalanced ecosystem. But in 1995, everything changed. That was the year wolves were reintroduced to the park. Before then, government predator control programs had all but eliminated the gray wolf from America’s lower 48 states. Consequently, deer and elk populations increased substantially, resulting in overgrazing, particularly of willows and other vegetation important to soil and riverbank structure, leaving the landscape vulnerable to erosion. Without wolves, the entire ecosystem of the park suffered.

A short film, which has garnered more than 40 million views on YouTube, gives a captivating explanation for Yellowstone’s turnaround. British writer George Monbiot lends his voice to this documentary, and his zeal is infectious as he describes how wolves reinvigorated the park. “We all know that wolves kill many animals, but perhaps we’re slightly less aware that they give life to many others,” he says in the film. So much of our knowledge of these creatures focuses on their potential threat to humans, rather than their biological importance. As a top predator, wolves are one of Yellowstone’s linchpins, holding together the delicate balance of predator and prey. Their removal in the early 20th century disrupted food webs and set off something called a “trophic cascade,” in which the wolves’ natural prey (in this case, elk) multiplied, all the while consuming increasing amounts of foliage. The phenomenon occurred again in reverse when the wolves were reintroduced and the natural balance was restored.

When wolves were brought back to the park, they not only killed elk, but also changed their prey’s behavior patterns. The herbivores started to avoid areas like valleys and gorges where they could be easily hunted by predators. As a result, those areas began to regenerate, and species such as birds, beavers, mice and bears returned. Plant life once again thrived along the riverbanks and erosion decreased significantly. The stabilization of the riverbanks actually made the rivers and streams change course. With the reintroduction of just a small population of wolves, the landscape of the whole park transformed.

Earthjustice has been fighting in the courts and on Capitol Hill for more than 20 years to protect wolves. In recent years, anti-wildlife politicians have attempted to undermine the Endangered Species Act by slipping contentious policy riders into must-pass spending bills in an attempt to strip wolves of federal protections. In 2018, Congress added a record number of anti-wolf measures to House and Senate appropriations bills that fund the Department of the Interior, as well as to House defense authorization and energy bills. These measures would block Endangered Species Act protections for a variety of wolf populations, including:

  • Mexican gray wolves, despite the fact that there are fewer than 100 of these imperiled animals left in the United States
  • Gray wolves in Wyoming, Michigan, Minnesota, and Wisconsin, despite federal court decisions that found proposals to de-list these wolves illegal under the Endangered Species Act
  • Gray wolves across the entire lower 48 states, despite the fact that wolves currently occupy just a small portion of their former range in the U.S.

If we don’t act now, wolves could again be subject to the same hostile extermination practices that pushed them to the brink of extinction.      

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Nancy Gonzalez, the luxury-handbag designer with a roster of celebrity clients, has been sentenced to 18 months in prison after pleading guilty to federal charges of importing python and caiman (a type of crocodile) leather from Colombia to the U.S.

Gonzalez, a Colombian citizen, was extradited to the U.S. after being indicted by the U.S. Department of Justice for charges of illegal smuggling and conspiracy last year. Python and caiman are protected in both countries, according to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora. Gonzalez and other defendants allegedly had friends and employees carry handbags on flights from Colombia to the States, where they were allegedly sold.

The designer’s lawyer, Sam Rabin, told WWD that Gonzalez was “unnecessarily incarcerated in Colombia with drug dealers and terrorists” for a year while awaiting extradition. He went on to write, via email, that Gonzalez’s “crime was not obtaining the proper paperwork for some samples so she could meet deadlines to get her goods to buyer’s shows.” He alleges that “less than 1 percent of her purses were imported without documentation. None of the animal skins used in her products came from animals taken in the wild. The skins came from farm-raised animals to ensure that they did not impact the population of animals in the wild.”

Gonzalez, who is 70, could have faced up to five years in prison for the conspiracy charge and up to 20 on each smuggling charge, as well fines of up to $250,000, or twice the intended gain from the relevant conduct, depending on which is more, for each count. She also could have potentially been fined $500,000, or twice the intended gain from the relevant conduct, depending on which is greater, for each of the three counts if convicted.

Lawyers for Gonzalez pleaded her case as one of a single mother trying to compete with industry giants. “She was determined to show her children and the world that women, including minority women like herself, can pursue their dreams successfully, and become financially independent,” her attorneys wrote in a memo before the designer’s hearing, according to ABC News. “Against all odds, this tiny but mighty woman was able to create the very first luxury, high-end fashion company from a third world country.”

In her sentencing, Judge Robert Scola noted that U.S. officials warned the designer twice, in 2016 and 2017, to abide by specific rules and regulations and called her actions “egregious.” Ultimately, though, Judge Scola took into account the 14 months Gonzalez spent in harsh conditions in a Colombian prison, despite prosecutors pushing for a 30-to-37-month sentence. Gonzalez is out on bond at her daughter’s home in Miami until June 6, when she’s expected to surrender to authorities.

Before sentencing, Gonzalez told the court she only wished to hug her 103-year-old mother one more time. “From the bottom of my heart, I apologize to the United States of America. I never intended to offend a country to which I owe immense gratitude,” she said. “Under pressure, I made poor decisions.”

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Yesterday, a federal court upheld a preliminary injunction issued in November to protect grizzlies from wolf trapping and snaring in Montana during times when the bears are likely to be out of their dens. The current distribution of grizzly bears in Montana overlaps almost entirely with areas where the Montana Fish and Wildlife Commission allows wolf trapping and snaring. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals largely denied the State of Montana’s appeal, agreeing with the federal district court judge that there was a reasonably certain threat of imminent harm to grizzlies had the challenged wolf trapping and snaring season approved by the state last August proceeded as planned. The lawsuit is proceeding in federal district court in Missoula. The Ninth Circuit also ruled that the district court properly relied on evidence provided by the plaintiffs’ expert scientists, writing: “As a whole, Plaintiffs’ evidence supported that a large percentage—nearly 40%—of grizzly bears in Montana would be active during the proposed wolf trapping season in the same areas as wolves and would be highly attracted to the wolf traps, which would likely result in grizzlies being caught in those traps.”   “The State is in denial about climate change effects. The science clearly shows bears are entering dens later and emerging earlier exposing them to threats from baited traps and snares,” said Mike Bader, a consultant to the Flathead-Lolo-Bitterroot Citizen Task Force. “The State of Montana cannot be entrusted with management responsibility for grizzly bears because they are acting irresponsibly towards carnivores and predators.”

“With state wildlife “management” in the northern Rockies facing enormous public and legal scrutiny for posing relentless dangers to grizzly bears and other carnivores, now is not the time to strip grizzlies of much needed federal protections,” said Lizzy Pennock, carnivore coexistence attorney at WildEarth Guardians. “We must give grizzly bears a fair shot at recovery, and hostile state management like Montana’s has a long way to go before it measures up to what wildlife and the public need.” The ruling affirmed the preliminary injunction ordered by a federal district court judge in November, which was rooted in the district court’s determination that Montana’s wolf trapping and snaring regulations pose a reasonably certain threat of imminent harm to grizzly bears in violation of the Endangered Species Act. The injunction shortened Montana’s wolf trapping and snaring season throughout most of the state to January 1 to February 15 when grizzly bears were likely to be in their dens, providing crucial protections for the federally-threatened bear during the 2023-24 wolf trapping and snaring season in Montana. The State of Montana immediately filed an appeal of the decision, which led to this order.

Without the preliminary injunction, wolf trapping and snaring in grizzly bear habitat would have started as early as November 27, 2023 and continued through March 15 of this year. Per the injunction, the season ended February 1, meaning that Montana’s grizzly bears emerged from their dens this year to a much safer landscape. The preliminary injunction, which came just days before wolf trapping and snaring was set to begin, was issued in response to a motion filed by the Flathead-Lolo-Bitterroot Citizen Task Force and WildEarth Guardians on September 22, 2023. In this lawsuit, the plaintiffs show that the State of Montana is violating the federal Endangered Species Act by permitting indiscriminate steel leghold traps and strangulation snares to be set in known grizzly bear habitat during the non-denning seasons.    ++++++++++++

WildEarth Guardians commends a recent statement by Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) Director, Jeff Davis, who is protecting Colorado’s budding wolf population in spite of pressure from livestock owners.

Six cattle have been harvested by wolves since Colorado began restoring the native keystone species to the state in December 2023. The owners of those livestock are eligible for “100 percent fair market value compensation,” according to the Colorado Wolf Restoration and Management Plan, although to-date, no compensation claims have been submitted.

In recent days, ranching interests have called for two wolves implicated in the harvest of livestock to be killed. Based on collar data, the targeted wolves are likely in the process of starting a family, which is a tremendously exciting step forward for reintroduction and recovery efforts.. CPW Director Davis said “removing the male breeder at this point would be irresponsible management and potentially cause the den to fail, possibly resulting in the death of the presumed pups.”

“Director Davis is right to allow these wolves to live. Killing them would not only decimate Colorado’s wolf population, but could lead to more livestock-wolf conflict down the line by disrupting pack structure,” said Lindsay Larris, conservation director for WildEarth Guardians. “Colorado has eleven known wolves right now and some 2.8 million cows. We are sympathetic to the livestock owners’ losses, but that’s why there is a robust compensation program. We ought to be celebrating the fact that these wolves are denning and hopefully going to have pups. This is what Colorado voters wanted and what restoration looks like.”

This week, a reintroduced wolf was found dead in Larimer County; that incident is under investigation. In early April a wolf who dispersed from the Great Lakes died in a coyote trap in Elbert County.

Colorado Parks and Wildlife has compiled significant resources for Coloradans to coexist with wolves.

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The U.S. Department of Agriculture issued a federal order that any dairy cows being transported from one farm to another across state lines should be tested for bird flu. The new order comes one day after the Food and Drug Administration said that fragments of the bird flu virus were found in samples of pasteurized milk on store shelves. When the outbreak was first detected at the end of March, in an effort to keep the milk supply safe, farmers were instructed to discard the milk of sick cows, Don Prater, acting director of the FDA's Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, said during a joint media briefing.  Farmers were also told by the USDA to test symptomatic cows. The discovery of the virus in the commercial milk supply, however, indicates those approaches weren't enough.

It's unclear how the new mandate might curb the spread of the virus — a strain of the bird flu called H5N1 — among the nation’s cattle. The virus has already been detected in dairy cows in eight states: Idaho, Kansas, Michigan, New Mexico, North Carolina, South Dakota, Ohio and Texas. A big question for scientists now is, how long has it been going on and where else has it spread?

"I think it's safe to say that it's longer and much more extensive that has been realized," said Dr. Michael Mina, an epidemiologist and former professor of immunology and infectious diseases at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. The outbreak concerns scientists and public health officials because H5N1 can be especially deadly in people. However, once in people, the virus doesn't spread easily.

Dr. Nirav Shah, principal deputy director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said during the media briefing that there's no indication that the H5N1 flu strain is causing any uptick in illness among people or poses an immediate danger to the public.

One person, a dairy worker in Texas, was infected earlier this month. The CDC said that the case was mild and the worker developed conjunctivitis, or pink eye. Shah noted that another 44 people are being “actively monitored,” for illness.

In addition to testing dairy cows before transporting them, Wednesday's order also requires that state veterinary labs report any positive tests to federal health authorities.  “If [the cows] end up testing positive, they will have a 30-day waiting period before they could move and have to be tested again,” Mike Watson, administrator for the USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, said during the media briefing.

The worry is not whether people can catch the flu by drinking milk. The U.S. milk supply undergoes a mandatory pasteurization process, heating milk to a point where any bacteria or virus should be killed. Though the FDA has not completed studies specifically looking at whether pasteurization kills the virus that causes bird flu, the agency said that, "to date, we have seen nothing that would change our assessment that the commercial milk supply is safe." The FDA plans to release results of studies looking at pasteurization's effects on the bird flu virus in the coming days or weeks.

Read 45 times Last modified on Friday, 26 April 2024 00:42
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