Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Tufts study focusing on how development and global warming affect wildlife medicine

Taken from a Worcester Telegram article, January 31, 2012, titled, "Outdoors: Rodent-control poisons killing local hawks, owls":

"Tufts is doing considerable research along with its renowned wildlife clinic work. One current study focuses on how development and global warming are significantly affecting wildlife medicine here.

"Annually receiving many wild animals in their clinic, Tufts is in a unique position to note significant patient-pattern changes. Both the species makeup and numbers of patients are changing. For example, the normal pattern of turtle patients at Tufts coincides with periods of their greatest movements across roads, where they’re all too frequently hit by vehicles.

"In spring, when they’re eagerly looking for females, male turtles are far more frequently injured. In recent years, they’ve been arriving for emergency treatment as early as April, about a month earlier than normal. From late May to July, most injured turtles are females, especially after rains, when they get hit while looking for soft soil to lay their eggs.

"In August and September, most injured turtles are males, again looking for females. Females are able to mate late and store sperm, which can fertilize their eggs even years later — in fact, up to a decade later. This last turtle movement and resultant injuries are now occurring as late as November.

"Tufts and other vet schools around the country are obliged to send their valuable wildlife treatment data to government authorities. Unfortunately, that treasure of information is just being stored with no one analyzing it. There’s neither money nor motivation for analysis. The turning in of that paperwork is a bureaucratic formality. There’s certainly enough stuff in there collectively around the country for a dissertation. Too much work and information that could benefit wildlife is currently being wasted. Dr. Pokras would like to see that changed."

Using technology
"Outdoorsmen and women should check our state’s new, entertaining and informative outdoors blog for communication with biologists, park rangers, agricultural and recreation experts about outdoor adventures. You can get their suggestions for hiking, hunting, birding, fishing, farm tours, boating, camping and more. Go to www.mass.gov/blog/environment to help make your outdoors experience both more fun and successful.

"EEA secretary Richard Sullivan announced the Get Outdoors Massachusetts Mobile Apps Contest inviting smart phone mobile application developers to create applications to help the public find outdoor recreation hot spots featuring natural resources in Massachusetts.

"The idea is for app developers to create a public connection to the commonwealth’s best outdoor activities and destinations. The submission deadline is March 30, and registration is free.

"Prizes include the opportunity for entrants to showcase their work to local technology executives, as well as a chance to join wildlife biologists on bald eagle banding expeditions or black bear surveys, a local farm bed-and-breakfast weekend stay, a year-long MBTA subway-bus LinkPass, and the opportunity to sell winning apps after offering them free to the public for a year. Winners will be announced on April 18.

"Many will appreciate the smart phone accessible service that will be developed at no cost to the taxpayer. For information, go to www.mass.gov/eea."

Further links:
Interesting case at Tufts: Snapping Turtle

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