Thursday, April 22, 2010

Don't Rescue So-Called "Orphaned" Wildlife

Concern for ‘orphaned’ wildlife is simply human nature. Most people who come across a deer fawn, a young bird or a newborn rabbit will initially watch in amazement and then immediately wonder if the animal is in need of help. Probably not, and the Georgia Department of Natural Resources’ Wildlife Resources Division encourages residents to resist the urge to ‘rescue’ these animals.
 
"Despite good intentions, young wildlife taken into captivity lose their natural instincts and ability to survive in the wild,” explains John Bowers, Wildlife Resources Division assistant chief of Game Management. “In most instances, young wildlife that appear to be helpless and alone are only temporarily separated from the adults. This natural behavior is a critical survival mechanism. Adults spend a significant amount of time away from their offspring to minimize predation,” explains Bowers.
 
Additionally, handling such animals and bringing them into the home poses health risks for both people and domestic pets. Despite the fact that they make look healthy, wildlife can transmit life-threatening diseases such as rabies and can carry unhealthy parasites such as roundworms, lice, fleas and ticks. Certain ticks are especially known to transmit diseases such as Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever and Southern Tick Associated Rash Illness to humans.
 
Individuals who are not trained in wildlife rehabilitation should not attempt to care for wildlife and additionally, Georgia law prohibits the possession of most wildlife without a permit. Residents that encounter a seriously injured animal or an animal that clearly has been orphaned should first try to contact a local licensed wildlife rehabilitator.  A list of rehabilitators is available at www.georgiawildlife.com (select “Find A Wildlife Rehabilitator” from the home page). People also can contact their local Wildlife Resources Division office to obtain a contact number for a licensed wildlife rehabilitator to provide proper care for the animal until it can be released into the wild.
 
Residents that encounter an animal such as a bat, fox, skunk, raccoon, coyote or bobcat during the daytime that appears to show no fear of humans or dogs, or that seems to behave in a sick or abnormal manner (i.e. weaving, drooling, etc.), should avoid the animal and contact the local county health office and/or a Wildlife Resources Division office for guidance. The animal may be afflicted with rabies, distemper or another disease. Residents should not attempt to feed or handle the sick animal. Pets, livestock and humans should be kept away from the area in which the animal was observed.
 
The two most important steps people can take to protect themselves and their pets from rabies is to 1) get pets vaccinated and 2) avoid physical contact with wildlife. As another precautionary step, adults should instruct children to NEVER bring wildlife home.
 
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Wednesday, April 21, 2010

American Humane Association: Cruelty to Animals Is NOT Free Speech or Entertainment

/PRNewswire/ -- The American Humane Association urges Congress to act immediately to protect animals from abuse, in light of Monday's U.S. Supreme Court decision to invalidate federal law that prohibited videos, photographs and other depictions of acts of cruelty to animals for commercial gain. The law, the Depiction of Animal Cruelty Act, was intended to prevent the creation and sale of dogfighting, other animal fighting, and "crush" videos that show real and intentional harm to animals for "entertainment" purposes.

"Congress must take immediate action to pass legislation that protects animals from the type of horrific cruelty this law was meant to prevent," said American Humane's interim president and CEO, George C. Casey. "Deliberately killing animals for entertainment has nothing to do with freedom of speech. Americans are within their right to keep blatant animal torture and killing out of the marketplace, and the Supreme Court should have made that the priority over the supposed protections of those who take sick pleasure in this material."

"We are extremely disappointed that the Court felt it necessary to throw out a law that so obviously was intended to stop criminals from using the First Amendment to defend their horrendous and illegal behavior," Casey said. "Now we call on Congress to act quickly to remedy this unacceptable situation."

American Humane's deep concern about this ruling directly relates to the organization's mission to protect both children and animals. The connection between violence to people and violence to animals is undeniable, and many studies indicate that animal maltreatment is part of a complex constellation of family violence. While not all children who harm animals go on to become violent adults, and not all adult animal abusers necessarily harm their partners or children, there is compelling evidence to view animal abuse as a signal for potentially more, and even more violent, antisocial behaviors.

American Humane urges Americans to learn about The Link® between violence to people and violence to animals at www.americanhumane.org/link and to demand that Congress pass new legislation making it unlawful to produce, sell or own videos and other entertainment materials showing illegal acts of animal cruelty.

The case addressed by the Supreme Court's ruling is the United States of America v. Robert J. Stevens. Stevens was convicted of selling videos of dogs fighting each other and attacking other animals. The section of the law in question states: "Whoever knowingly creates, sells, or possesses a depiction of animal cruelty with the intention of placing that depiction in interstate or foreign commerce for commercial gain, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than 5 years or both." The exceptions are "any depiction that has serious religious, political, scientific, educational, journalistic, historical, or artistic value."

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Tuesday, April 20, 2010

D.E.L.T.A. Rescue Vet Advises on Keeping Dogs and Cats Safe in Rattlesnake Season

/PRNewswire/ -- Rattlesnake season is here, and the veterinarian of the 501(c)(3) non-profit D.E.L.T.A. Rescue, the world's largest no-kill, care-for-life sanctuary, is offering critical advice on rattlesnake bite prevention -- and what to do in the event a pet tangles with a rattlesnake.

"As the temperature warms and days get longer, accidental encounters with rattlesnakes increase in the Southwest," explained D.E.L.T.A. Rescue veterinarian Gaylord Brown, D.V.M., who in his former private practice saw countless rattlesnake bites. "Dogs, due to their inquisitive nature, are more at risk of being bitten. However, people may not know that cats are also at risk."

Typically, a dog will blunder into a rattlesnake, causing the snake to strike in self-defense. As a result, most rattlesnake bites in dogs occur on the nose. Cats, being naturally more cautious and prone to striking at a threat with their claws, are more likely to be bitten on the front paw or leg.

The prospect of a beloved pet getting in a dust-up with a rattler can be terrifying. The good news: People can protect cats and dogs from being bitten in the first place. According to Dr. Brown, who answers questions on the "Ask the Vet" section of DeltaRescue.org (http://www.deltarescue.org/ask-the-vet), avoidance is the best way to prevent a rattlesnake bite. Dr. Brown cautions people to keep their dogs close when hiking, stay on well-marked trails and to make their presence known. If the snakes are closer to home, Dr. Brown advises homeowners to consider installing snake wire on the bottom two or three feet of fence around their yards -- as D.E.L.T.A. Rescue does at its sanctuary -- and to be particularly watchful at dusk and dawn, when rattlesnakes are most active.

But what if an encounter between a pet and a rattlesnake is unavoidable? Signs of a rattlesnake bite, says Dr. Brown, include acute swelling, pain, and dark, bloody drainage from the fang sites. A bite to the pet's face will almost always cause excessive drooling; with any rattlesnake bite, the pet will likely be depressed and begin panting. Once bitten by a rattlesnake, a pet must be kept quiet and still. Dr. Brown discourages tourniquets and says lancing or suction at the fang marks should only be done with mechanical suction devices by those trained in the technique.

"A person whose pet shows signs of having been bitten by a rattlesnake should seek medical attention with a veterinarian immediately," said Dr. Brown. "With treatment, survival rates are high, and most veterinarians in endemic snake areas have antivenin."

Those with further questions about snake bites or any other questions about veterinary health can register for free and post their questions directly to Dr. Brown at http://www.deltarescue.org/ask-the-vet. To learn more about D.E.L.T.A. Rescue and its work, visit http://www.deltarescue.org/.

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Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Response Products Voluntarily Recalls Advanced Cetyl M Joint Action Formula for Dogs Because of Possible Salmonella Health Risk

Response Products, Broken Bow, NE is voluntarily recalling Cetyl M for Dogs, lot numbers 1210903 and 0128010, due to a possible Salmonella contamination from the hydrolyzed vegetable protein component provided by Basic Foods of Las Vegas, NV. Tests conducted by Basic Foods to detect Salmonella produced negative results; however, Response Products has determined to recall the above-referenced lots.

People who handle dry pet food and/or treats can become infected with Salmonella, especially if they have not thoroughly washed their hands after having contact with the chews or any surfaces exposed to these products. Healthy people infected with Salmonella should monitor themselves for some or all of the following symptoms: nausea, vomiting, diarrhea or bloody diarrhea, abdominal cramping and fever. Rarely, Salmonella can result in more serious ailments, including arterial infections, endocarditis, arthritis, muscle pain, eye irritation, and urinary tract symptoms. Consumers exhibiting these signs after having contact with this product should contact their healthcare providers.

Pets with Salmonella infections may be lethargic and have diarrhea or bloody diarrhea, fever, and vomiting. Some pets will have only decreased appetite, fever and abdominal pain. Infected but otherwise healthy pets can be carriers and infect other animals or humans. If your pet has consumed the recalled product and has these symptoms, please contact your veterinarian.

Cetyl M for Dogs was distributed nation-wide through direct sales, retail stores, veterinarians and online retailers.

The above-referenced lots of Cetyl M for Dogs were distributed in either a 120-count bottle (shipped between January 8, 2010 and April 2, 2010) or a 360-count bottle (shipped between February 11, 2010 and April 2, 2010). The affected lot numbers are as follows: #1210903 and 0128010. The lot number can be found directly above the bar code on the label. These lots were sent out in the time periods as set out above. This product is in tablet-form, is approximately the size of a dime and is light brown in coloring.

To date, Response Products has received no reports of illness associated with the use of this product. Response Products recently learned that the FDA and Basic Foods of Las Vegas, NV, the producer of one of the components of the affected product’s vegetable beef flavoring, hydrolyzed vegetable protein, had detected Salmonella in Basic Food’s facility and had issued a recall on said component. The manufacturer of the vegetable beef flavoring used in Cetyl M for Dogs, tested the hydrolyzed vegetable beef protein for Salmonella and the results were negative. However, due to the concern regarding Salmonella in Basic Foods’ facility, it decided to recall two lots (only one lot affected our product) of said vegetable beef flavoring. The finished product manufacturer of Cetyl M for Dogs had tests performed on both the raw materials used to make our product and also the finished product, and all tested negative for Salmonella, however, it has issued a voluntary recall on two lots (see lot numbers listed above) of Cetyl M for Dogs.

Response Products requires that testing for Salmonella and other harmful pathogens is completed during the manufacturing process. Even though the testing performed at each level of the process showed negative results for Salmonella, in an effort to produce the highest quality product for our customers, Response Products ceased distributing the dog product in the above-referenced lots and is issuing a voluntary recall on its Cetyl M for Dogs in the affected lot numbers. In addition to the testing listed above, Response Products sent samples from said lots, as well as from lot produced after those lots, to an independent laboratory, and all samples received a negative result for Salmonella.

Response Products continues to investigate the cause of the problem and continues to be committed to producing a high-quality, effective product for dogs.

Consumers who have purchased the listed lots of Cetyl M for Dogs are urged to contact Response Products or the place of purchase for further direction. Consumers may contact Response Products at 1-877-266-9757, Monday through Friday, from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm CST.

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Monday, April 12, 2010

Bring on the birds - Simple solutions to turn your backyard into an avian oasis

(ARA) - Who doesn't love spring? Flowers bloom, trees bud and bright songbirds return to the area. The renewed resurgence of radiant life may make you want to get in on the action.

But if gardening's not your thing and you just don't see yourself as the type to go on a long outdoor hike, you can still engage in spring's revelry and bring beautiful birds to your own backyard. Convincing songbirds and favorites like hummingbirds to visit your yard is as simple as providing them with plentiful sources of food, water and nesting material.

The avian experts at Songbird Essentials, a leading provider of accoutrements and food for outdoor birds of all species, offer a few tips for attracting some popular, picturesque feathered friends to your neighborhood:

Birds need to eat a lot to survive every day. While natural food sources are plentiful in warmer months, they're just as happy to dine at your backyard buffet. You can attract delightful birds like yellow goldfinches, orioles and hummingbirds with the right mix of food and feeder types.

Start out by overlooking a few dandelions when you're weeding your yard. Goldfinches love dandelion seed. They also like company when they eat and will dine in large groups. Look for feeders, like the Three Tube Finch Feeder, that allow 24 or more birds to perch and dine at the same time. The Three Tube Finch Feeder certainly sets the stage for a spectacular show!

Orioles, with their glossy black coats trimmed in bright orange or yellow, will fill your backyard with distinctive whistles and songs. They migrate at night and arrive in your neighborhood tired, cold and hungry, so if you wait until you actually see them to put out food, you might miss them altogether. Set out oranges, sliced in half with the juicy side out, before you see the first oriole of the season. Or try feeding them all new BirdBerry Jelly, a human grade product that's better for the birds. It's all natural - no preservatives - and is lower in sugar content than most jellies. The unique grape/blackberry flavor attracts orioles and other species and keeps them coming back for more.

Try using a feeder like Songbird Essentials' Grand Slam Oriole Feeder made of recycled plastic. It holds four orange halves and has two serving bowls for jelly. Other birds that love jelly include woodpeckers, robins and warblers.

Hummingbirds, while not great singers, are among the most intriguing and adorable birds to watch. Nearly every region of the U.S. has at least one native species of these tiny, speedy little birds. There are several ways you can tempt them into your yard; try these tips:

* Provide plenty of nectar feeders - the more the merrier. Dr. J.B.'s Hummingbird Feeder is a good choice; it is dishwasher safe and easy to clean, has an extra wide mouth for easy filling and is bee resistant. Bob Sergeant, president of the Hummer Bird Study Group, the world's largest association dedicated to the study and preservation of hummingbirds, simply says; "This is the best hummingbird feeder ever!" Plus, the hummers love it.

* Be sure hummers see red. Plant red open-throated plants. Or, if planting is not possible, tie a big red bow in your yard near your feeder.

* Let the water flow. Hummingbirds prefer moving water sources like sprinklers, fountains, waterfalls, misters or drippers. Attract hummingbirds by keeping water sources fresh and clean and positioning them near food sources.

* Provide natural nesting material. Hummingbirds won't nest in birdhouses or nesting boxes, they build their cup-shaped nests in trees. Encourage nesting by providing materials like Hummer Helper Nesting Material, recommended by the Hummingbird Society of North America. An all-natural product, Hummer Helper comes in an open wire frame that allows hummingbirds easy access to natural nesting material.

For more ideas on how to attract hummingbirds and songbirds to your backyard this season, visit www.songbirdessentials.com.

Courtesy of ARAcontent

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Thursday, April 8, 2010

Act Now to Reduce Nuisance Canada Geese Problems This Summer

The Canada goose is an adaptable bird and can live in a variety of locations, including open farmland and rural reservoirs to suburban neighborhood ponds, office complexes, parks and other developed areas. According to the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, Wildlife Resources Division, as the goose population increases and they become more common in urban areas so does the increase in nuisance complaints.
 
“Geese that have adapted to people, either because they are being fed or because they are so close to humans on a daily basis, can become an aggressive pest,” says WRD State Waterfowl Biologist Greg Balkcom. “Additionally, when you have a resident goose population that continues to grow unchecked – you exponentially increase the amounts of feces and feathers found in the area.”
 
Landowners who don’t want geese on their property can first try a variety of “harassment” techniques, including chemical repellents, mylar balloons, wire/string barriers and noise makers. These methods are proven to help reduce goose problems. However, they do require consistency from the property owner and are not always 100 percent effective.
 
In response to these concerns, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service issued regulations that allow for additional control measures, apart from harassment techniques and traditional hunting, to help address nuisance goose problems. One of those regulations is a permit for reducing goose reproduction through nest and egg destruction OR egg addling or oiling which prevent the eggs from hatching. 
 
“These permits are easy to attain, and can be useful in certain situations – such as a homeowner that may have geese nesting close to home” says Balkcom. “Additionally, it is a way to keep a minimum number of adult geese on the property without the population growing too large through years of unchecked reproduction.”
 
The permits are available at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s website at www.fws.gov/permits. The website also contains useful information on the methods for addling or oiling the eggs or destroying the nests and when each method may be appropriate.
 
The nesting season for geese is underway now, and landowners and land managers who have problems with geese (homeowners, golf course managers, city/county managers, etc.) - especially during the summer molting season - may be able to act now and reduce their nuisance problems later this year. 
 
It is important to remember that Canada geese are a protected species under state and federal law. It is illegal to hunt, kill, sell, purchase or possess Canada geese except according to Georgia's migratory bird regulations.
 
For more information, visit the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service website at www.fws.gov/permits. For a brochure on a variety of methods of dealing with nuisance geese, visit www.georgiawildlife.com (Select “Hunting”, “Game Management” and “Nuisance Canada Geese”).

Commercial Fishing Estimated to Kill Millions of Sea Turtles

The number of sea turtles inadvertently snared by commercial fishing gear over the past 20 years may reach into the millions, according to the first peer-reviewed study to compile sea turtle bycatch data from gillnet, trawl and longline fisheries worldwide.

The study, which was published online April 6 in the journal Conservation Letters, analyzed data compiled from peer-reviewed papers, government reports, technical reports, and symposia proceedings published between 1990 and 2008. All data were based on direct onboard observations or interviews with fishermen. The study did not include data from recreational fishing.

Six of the world’s seven species of sea turtles are currently listed as vulnerable, endangered or critically endangered on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.
“Direct onboard observations and interviews with fishermen indicate that about 85,000 turtles were caught between 1990 and 2008. But because these reports cover less than one percent of all fleets, with little or no information from small-scale fisheries around the world, we conservatively estimate that the true total is at least two orders of magnitude higher,” said Bryan Wallace, lead author of the new paper.
Wallace is the science advisor for the Sea Turtle Flagship Program at Conservation International and an adjunct assistant professor at Duke University’s Nicholas School of the Environment. Most of his co-authors are researchers at Duke’s Center for Marine Conservation.
Their global data review revealed that the highest reported bycatch rates for longline fisheries occurred off Mexico’s Baja California peninsula, the highest rates for gillnet fishing took place in the North Adriatic region of the Mediterranean and the highest rates for trawls occurred off the coast of Uruguay.

When bycatch rates and amounts of observed fishing activity for all three gear types were combined and ranked across regions, four regions emerged as the overall most urgent conservation priorities: the East Pacific, the Mediterranean, the Southwest Atlantic, and the Northwest Atlantic.
“Although our numbers are estimates, they highlight clearly the importance of guidelines for fishing equipment and practices to help reduce these losses,” Wallace said.
Effective measures to reduce turtle bycatch include the use of circle hooks and fish bait in longline fisheries, and Turtle Excluder Devices (TEDs) in trawling. Many of the most effective types of gear modifications, Wallace noted, have been developed by fishermen themselves.
Wallace said the Hawaiian longline fishery and the Australian prawn fishery have significantly reduced bycatch through close working relationships between fishermen and government managers, use of onboard observers, mandatory gear modifications and innovative technologies. TurtleWatch, a real-time database that provides daily updates on water temperatures and other conditions indicating where turtles might be found, has guided fishermen to avoid setting their gear in those areas.
Other approaches, such as the creation of marine protected areas and use of catch shares, also reduce bycatch, preserve marine biodiversity and promote healthy fish stocks in some cases, he said.
“Fisheries bycatch is the most acute threat to worldwide sea turtle populations today. Many animals die or are injured as a result of these interactions,” Wallace said. “But our message is that it’s not a lost cause. Managers and fishers have tools they can use to reduce bycatch, preserve marine biodiversity and promote healthy fish stocks, so that everyone wins, including turtles.”
The study stems from work Wallace began in 2005 as a postdoctoral research associate at the Duke University Marine Lab, where he helped develop the first global bycatch database for longline fisheries. That work was part of a three-year initiative called Project GloBAL (Global By-catch Assessment of Long-lived Species).
Co-authors on the new study – all of whom were part of the Project GloBAL team – are Rebecca L. Lewison of San Diego State University; Sara L. McDonald of Duke’s Center for Marine Conservation; Richard K. McDonald of the Center for Marine Conservation and the University of Richmond; Connie Y. Kot of the Center for Marine Conservation and the Marine Geospatial Ecology Lab at Duke’s Nicholas School of the Environment; and Shaleyla Kelez, Rhema K. Bjorkland, Elena M. Finkbeiner, S’rai Heimbrecht and Larry B. Crowder, all of the Center for Marine Conservation. Crowder is director of the center and the Stephen Toth Professor of Marine Biology at the Nicholas School. Lewison formerly was a research associate at the Duke Marine Lab.

By Timothy Lucas

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