Thursday, September 30, 2010

NEW JERSEY NEWS: Task Force Recommends Cull

Hopewell Township's Deer Task Force recommends a hunt to control its deer population.

The task force, created in 2009, summarized its report at Monday night’s Township Committee meeting. Former township Mayor Bill Cane, co-chairman of the task force with Denise Moser, said the report reflected the opinion of most of the task force members.

The report said increased hunting and other measures are needed to reduce Lyme disease, which is spread by deer ticks, motor vehicle accidents involving deer and damage to crops and landscaping.

The report pointed to impacts on the community.

The report says there has been an annual average of 170 reportable cases of Lyme disease in the township from 2007 to 2009 and an annual average of 567 deer-vehicle collisions during that same three-year period. Some township farmers have reported crop losses due to deer at more than $5,000 annually, the report said.

One person spoke about natural areas.

Tom Niederer, a township resident and past president of the New Jersey Forestry Association, said, “White-tailed deer are the greatest threats to our forest. Part of the stewardship of the forest is wildlife management, including deer control. Our forests will decline precipitously unless something is about the deer.”

The recommendation has been made, but a decision is still forthcoming.

Source: Hopewell Valley News

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

MICHIGAN NEWS: Bluetongue Detected in Lower Peninsula

There appears to be another isolated case of EHD in the western part of Michigan's lower peninsula.

An often fatal viral disease, Epizootic Hemorrhagic Disease, has been found in white-tailed deer in Berrien, Cass and Ottawa counties in the past two weeks, according to the Michigan Department of Natural Resources and Environment.

The disease, relatively rare this far north, is characterized by extensive hemorrhages and is transmitted by a biting fly called a midge. White-tailed deer usually show signs of being sick about seven days after exposure, with their symptoms developing fast.

The disease is common in the southern U.S. where deer population appear to have evolved some immunity. It is still rare in the northern U.S. and is often fatal.

Cooley said owners who discover dead deer suspected of having EHD should call their nearest DNRE office to report it. DNRE officials can collect more fresh specimens to test the disease to determine its spread. Carcasses also can be buried at a sufficient depth so that body parts are not showing, or they can be disposed of at landfills that accept household solid waste.

The first documented case of EHD in white-tailed deer in Michigan was in 1955.

Additional cases occurred in 1974 and 2006, 2008 and 2009 in various counties in the state.

I suspect EHD outbreaks in the northern U.S. will become more common in the coming decades with climate change, but I do not have any good data to back this speculation up.

Source: South Bend Tribune