Stehn carries a juvenile crane too weak to stand to
veterinarian help in Port Lavaca, TX.
week we discovered that a rare disease has likely caused some
of the 18 crane deaths here this winter.
report on the juvenile
we picked up in January in Dunham Bay tested positive for Infectious
(IBD). The virus was found in 2002 in a few of the cranes
released into the nonmigratory flock in Florida, but this is the
first time the virus has appeared in the Aransas flock.The Aransas
may get exposed and have to deal with IBD.
are the unknowns of IBD? We have no idea how this Aransas IBD
may be affecting the cranes, since the virus from
the Aransas juvenile is a different type than the Florida virus.
IBD is one of those
things about which not much is known — except
that it can devastate flocks of domestic
chickens. We don't know how common or uncommon it is, or how it
affects most wildlife populations.
there can be a bright side, it's that we are learning something.
The Health Lab* was able to isolate the virus.
This means they can
now try to grow it, test it, and take pictures
of it. (No one had ever been able to isolate IBD from the Florida
presence of IBD at Aransas this winter emphasizes the importance
of having this endangered species living
in at least two flocks, with those flocks too far apart to mingle.
the blue crabs will come back into warmer waters as March brings
warmer temperatures. The cranes will be glad to eat their favorite
food again as they prepare for their journey north to Canada.
Aransas National Wildlife Refuge
Geological Survery National Wildlife Health Lab