Hare-less: Yellowstone's Rabbits Have Vanished, Study Says
A new study by the Bronx Zoo-based Wildlife Conservation Society found that jack rabbits living in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem have apparently hopped into oblivion. The study, which appears in the journal Oryx, also speculates that the disappearance of jack rabbits may be having region-wide impacts on a variety of other prey species and their predators.
According to the study, historical records from more than 130 years ago indicate that white-tailed jack rabbits were once locally abundant in Greater Yellowstone, a 60,000 square kilometer (23,166 square mile) ecosystem that contains both Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks. However, the WCS study found that no jack rabbit sightings could be confirmed in Yellowstone since 1991 and only three in Grand Teton since 1978.
No one knows what caused the rabbits to disappear, according to the study's lead author, Dr. Joel Berger, a Wildlife Conservation Society conservationist, and professor at the University of Montana. "It could be disease, extreme weather, predation or other factors," Dr. Berger said. "Since the rabbits blipped off without knowledge, there has simply been no way to get at the underlying cause."
The case of the missing Minnesota moose
Scientists say that the moose are dying from "tipover disease," less a diagnosis than a description of how moose simply weaken and crumple to the ground, often to be finished off by wolves or other predators. Minnesota moose seem to be dying when and where they shouldn't -- in the prime of life, or in the fall, when they should be fat, and amid plenty of food. The causes are still largely unknown.
Minnesota's moose are dying
"These are animals in the prime of life that just look like they laid down and died," said Mike Schrage, a wildlife biologist with the Fond du Lac Band of Ojibwe.
"The vast majority of them are dying from some unknown malady. We just have not been able to identify what that is," said Lenarz. "Some are dying from what's called brain worm. Some are probably dying from winter ticks. Some are dying from who-knows-what disease or parasites out there, but it isn't any single smoking gun."
Local marine mammal mortality rate alarms fisheries officials
With the total number of dead, decomposing dolphins washing up on Southeast Texas shores increasing to 64 this month, National Marine Fisheries officials Wednesday have declared an "unusual mortality event" for the entire Texas coast.
Biologists looked back at other cases along the coastline, and found 45 more similar to those found on Jefferson and Galveston coasts, bringing the total to 109, said Blair Mase, marine fisheries Southeast Regional Marine Mammal Stranding coordinator.
Last year, an unusual mortality event for the north Texas coast was called after 68 dolphins washed up in March, according to Enterprise archives. A cause for the die-off wasn't found because many of the dolphins were so decomposed, according to the archives.
Sea Otter Deaths in California Alarm Officials
An unusually high number of sea otter deaths this month off the California coast has state and federal wildlife officials worried that the sea otter population, in decline since the mid-1990's, may be experiencing troubles more serious than previously thought.
Six dead sea otters have washed ashore in the last several days, bringing to 45 the number of dead or stranded otters in California in April. That is more than double the average number for the month in the last decade, the officials said.
''We have had other times when mortality was high, but we attributed it to various things, and it tapered off,'' said Greg Sanders, the southern sea otter recovery coordinator for the United States Fish and Wildlife Service. ''But at this point we are breaking all previous records and we have not found a pattern.''
See also, Why are California sea otters dying?
Crystal River Colorado bighorns in trouble
Young bighorn sheep along the Crystal River near Redstone aren’t surviving to adulthood.
The population of about 100 adult sheep ranging from just south of Carbondale to Marble are reproducing, but 85 to 95 percent of the young aren’t surviving to adulthood, according to Colorado Division of Wildlife Officer John Groves.
“We’re not exactly sure what’s causing it,” Groves said, but bighorn lambs are dying off at about four to six weeks old.
See also, Disease claims Nev. bighorn sheep herd
The Russian scientist planned a simple experiment to see if eating genetically modified (GM) soy might influence offspring. What she got, however, was an astounding result that may threaten a multi-billion dollar industry. Irina Ermakova, a leading scientist at the Institute of Higher Nervous Activity and Neurophysiology of the Russian Academy of Sciences (RAS), added GM soy flour (5-7 grams) to the diet of female rats. Other females were fed non-GM soy or no soy at all. The experimental diet began two weeks before the rats conceived and continued through pregnancy and nursing.
But the real shock came when the rats started dying. Within three weeks, 25 of the 45 (55.6%) rats from the GM soy group died compared to only 3 of 33 (9%) from the non-GM soy group and 3 of 44 (6.8%) from the non-soy controls.
The soy she was testing was Monsanto’s Roundup Ready variety. Its DNA has bacterial genes added that allow the soy plant to survive applications of Monsanto’s “Roundup” brand herbicide. About 85% of the soy gown in the US is Roundup Ready.
Biologist withdraws rabbit claim
By MATTHEW BROWN
A Montana biologist has withdrawn his claim in a recent study that a rabbit species has disappeared from the Yellowstone area.
Joel Berger, a senior scientist with the Wildlife Conservation Society, said Thursday that he has been contacted by at least six biologists and naturalists refuting his conclusions about the white-tailed jack rabbit. He said they provided photos and anecdotal evidence the rabbit still lives in the area.
"Yes, there were some left," Berger said. "I've got egg on the face, absolutely."
Wildlife researchers have learned that moose die from many causes. the puzzling demise of seemingly healthy moose has led them to mount a new study of moose mortality.
By Greg Breining
In northeastern Minnesota during the past year, at least five emaciated but otherwise healthy-looking cow moose simply keeled over. So inexplicable and spontaneous were their deaths that researchers call them "tipovers."
Originally posted by SaviorComplex
...after the initial stories, we hear nothing. Rare is there follow-up...
...what I am saying is we should examine this closely before we start panicking.
Originally posted by loam
For obvious reasons, anytime there are unexplained die-offs of mammals, it should raise some level of concern.
Ignoring even thin evidence seems like folly to me.
Originally posted by forestlady
Loam, I'm so glad you posted this. Throughout the last year, I have posted and given sources, that a Major Extinction event is already in progress - the biggest extinction since the dinosaurs. I was laughed at and ridiculed by almost everyone when I posted this information. Now, maybe, hopefully, people are waking up a bit more.
Not only do almost all scientists agree that a great extinction is currently happening, but also the U.N., Worldwatch, and a host of other reputable agencies agree. And it's been known about for a number of years. Here is a really great source of info:
It has tons of articles listed, by Reuter's, Science and Scientific American magazines, National Geographic and a host of other well-known, reputable publications.
Almost all scientists believe that this is the worst extinction event since the dinosaurs and may be even worse. This is a very serious problem and I'm glad to see the horrified responses by folks on this thread, since it shows we are beginning to take this seriously.
I've also read quite a bit about how dangerous GM foods are, that they are killing off alot of animals, insects, etc. It's even been proposed by many scientists that GM crops are what is killing the bees, though this has been somewhat covered up. It has been found that the bees had remnants in their stomach of these plants and that they were undigestible.
IMHO, I suspect that GM crops are at least responsible for much of the die-offs.
Originally posted by stikkinikki
I know this is just anecdotal but my wife and I have been trying to have kids but after 4 miscarraiges we will gratefully foster and adopt. No one really talks about miscarriages when they have them but we have found out they are much more common than your school aged sex ed classes ever let on.