Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Help protect wildlife health by reporting dead birds and other animals

MADISON – Wildlife officials working to assure healthy wildlife in Wisconsin are asking people to report unusual die-offs of wild birds, especially waterfowl and other water birds, to aid in wildlife disease surveillance. Die-offs of birds should be reported to the statewide Dead Bird Hotline 1-(800)-433-1610.
Death of a number of birds in one area is a strong indicator that disease may be present or there is a poisoning problem. Any number of dead crows, blue jays or ravens should also be reported as these species are the most likely to die from West Nile Virus (WNV), which can be transmitted to humans through mosquito bites.
“From a disease monitoring viewpoint a report of a number dead birds – rather than a single bird -- in a small area such as around a pothole, slough, bay, or section of lakeshore or within your neighborhood is a stronger indicator that a significant disease such as Avian Influenza may be present. Knowing our wildlife are healthy helps assure people remain healthy too,” said Julie Langenberg, VMD and leader of the Department of Natural Resources Wildlife Health Team.
Biologists are also interested in knowing about dead mammals -- other than road kills -- that are not badly decomposed or scavenged, and any wild animals displaying abnormal behavior or showing outward signs of illness such as weight loss, disorientation, or lack of fear. These can be reported to a DNR Service Center or a DNR wildlife biologist. The DNR Wildlife Health Team routinely performs necropsies on many wild species as part of its statewide disease surveillance efforts.
Wildlife health experts say people should handle dead animals in the following manner:
Wear gloves, or a plastic bag inverted over your hand; place the carcass in a sealable plastic bag.
Avoid direct skin contact with the carcass and wash your hands thoroughly after sealing the plastic bag.
Refrigerate the specimen or place it on ice (keep it cool but do not freeze) and call the Dead Bird Hotline or DNR staff for further instructions on what to do with the carcass.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Get the Lead Out! with LoonWatch and Wisconsin Clean Sweep

What’s in Your Tackle Box? You can Get the Lead Out! at select locations in northern Wisconsin throughout the summer. Anglers will now have the opportunity to drop off their old lead tackle and jigs at 20 recognized Wisconsin Clean Sweep locations. These lead tackle drop off opportunities are made possible through a partnership of Wisconsin Clean Sweep and the LoonWatch Program at Northland College’s Sigurd Olson Environmental Institute in Ashland, Wis. It takes just one lead sinker to kill an adult loon. Other birds affected by lead include the State Endangered Trumpeter Swan and our national symbol, the Bald Eagle. Luckily, there are alternatives to lead tackle. Instead of using toxic lead sinkers and jigs, anglers can use options made from tin, bismuth, steel, tungsten, or ceramic. “When anglers choose to use non-lead tackle, they are helping to eliminate the risk of wildlife fatalities through lead tackle ingestion,” said Stacy Schaefer, LoonWatch coordinator. “Dropping off lead tackle might seem like a small act, but it’s something we can all do that will help preserve our wild heritage.”Wisconsin Clean Sweep Program and the established collection locations made the partnership with the LoonWatch Get the Lead Out! initiative a natural fit. Everyone who drops off their lead tackle will receive a free sample pack of non-lead tackle, a Loon poster, and information about the Get the Lead Out! campaign. “I’m thrilled that we can work together with the Wisconsin Clean Sweep Program to protect northern Wisconsin’s wildlife,” Schaefer says.Below is the northwest Wisconsin Clean Sweep/LoonWatch partner collection dates and locations. For more information about each location or Wisconsin Clean Sweep, call (608) 224-4545. ·

Butternut, August 2, 10:30 am – 12:30 pm, Butternut School·

Grantsburg, June 19, 3:00 pm – 4:30 pm, Grantsburg Fairgrounds·

Hayward, August 4, 10:00 am – 2:00 pm, County Highway Shop·

Iron River, July 28, 3:00 pm – 5:00 pm, County Highway Garage·

Maple, June 13, 11:30 am – 1:00 pm, Maple Community Center·

Mellen, August 2, 3:20 pm – 5:30 pm, City Garage·

Minong, June 19, 10:00 am – 12:00 pm, Transfer Station·

Park Falls, July 13, 3:30 pm – 5:30 pm, St. Croix Rods·

Phillips, July 14, 10:00 am – 2:00 pm, County Garage·

Prentice, July 13, 11:00 am – 12:30 pm, Prentice School·

Roosevelt/Lublin, July 19, 1:30 pm – 3:15 pm, Town Hall·

Round Lake, July 16, 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm, Round Lake Town Hall·

Shell Lake, June 19, 2:00 pm – 4:30 pm, Shell Lake School·

Solon Springs, June 13, 3:00 pm – 4:30 pm, Transfer Station·

Stone Lake, July 16, 3:00 pm – 4:30 pm, Sand Lake Town Hall· S

Superior, June 16, 10:00 am – 2:00 pm, Head of the Lakes Fairgrounds·

Washburn, July 28, 10:00 am – 12:00 pm, County Highway Garage·

Webster, June 19, 10:00 am – 12:00 pm, Webster Fairgrounds·

Westboro, July 19, 9:15 am – 11:15 am, Town Shop·

Winter, July 16, 9:30 am – 10:30 am, County Highway Shop

For more Get the Lead Out! information, contact Stacy Schaefer, the LoonWatch coordinator at Northland College’s Sigurd Olson Environmental Institute, at (715) 682-1220 or loonwatch@northland.edu.