Surgical sterilization of free-ranging wolves.
The objective of the study was to determine whether surgical sterilization of both males and females in wolf pairs alters basic wolf social and territorial behaviors. Wolves were located from the air by snow-tracking methods and were tranquilizer-darted from a helicopter. Surgeries were performed either in a tent at the capture site or in a heated building in a nearby village. Six vasectomies and seven uterine horn ligations were performed in January and February of 1996 and 1997. Two females died: one likely related to the capture procedure, the other of a peritonitis unrelated to the surgery. One wolf had a litter. None of the wolves have shown changes in behavioral patterns. Surgical sterilization can be effective, but other, less invasive, fertility control techniques should be investigated. (+info)
Outbreak of influenza A infection among travelers--Alaska and the Yukon Territory, May-June 1999.
On June 18, 1999, CDC and Health Canada received reports from public health authorities in Alaska and the Yukon Territory about clusters of febrile respiratory illness and associated pneumonia among travelers and tourism workers. This report presents information about the outbreak. Laboratory evidence, including rapid influenza A antigen-detection tests and viral cultures from respiratory specimens, has implicated influenza A virus as the cause of illness. (+info)
Large summertime influenza A outbreak among tourists in Alaska and the Yukon Territory.
We investigated a large summertime outbreak of acute respiratory illness during May-September 1998 in Alaska and the Yukon Territory, Canada. Surveillance for acute respiratory illness (ARI), influenza-like illness (ILI), and pneumonia conducted at 31 hospital, clinic, and cruise ship infirmary sites identified 5361 cases of ARI (including 2864 cases of ILI [53%] and 171 cases of pneumonia [3.2%]) occurring primarily in tourists and tourism workers (from 18 and 37 countries, respectively). Influenza A viruses were isolated from 41 of 210 patients with ILI at 8 of 14 land sites and 8 of 17 cruise ship infirmaries. Twenty-two influenza isolates were antigenically characterized, and all were influenza A/Sydney/05/97-like (H3N2) viruses. No other predominant pathogens were identified. We estimated that >33,000 cases of ARI might have occurred during this protracted outbreak, which was attributed primarily to influenza A/Sydney/05/97-like (H3N2) viruses. Modern travel patterns may facilitate similar outbreaks, indicating the need for increased awareness about influenza by health care providers and travelers and the desirability of year-round influenza surveillance in some regions. (+info)
Genetic and plastic responses of a northern mammal to climate change.
Climate change is predicted to be most severe in northern regions and there has been much interest in to what extent organisms can cope with these changes through phenotypic plasticity or microevolutionary processes. A red squirrel population in the southwest Yukon, Canada, faced with increasing spring temperatures and food supply has advanced the timing of breeding by 18 days over the last 10 years (6 days per generation). Longitudinal analysis of females breeding in multiple years suggests that much of this change in parturition date can be explained by a plastic response to increased food abundance (3.7 days per generation). Significant changes in breeding values (0.8 days per generation), were in concordance with predictions from the breeder's equation (0.6 days per generation), and indicated that an evolutionary response to strong selection favouring earlier breeders also contributed to the observed advancement of this heritable trait. The timing of breeding in this population of squirrels, therefore, has advanced as a result of both phenotypic changes within generations, and genetic changes among generations in response to a rapidly changing environment. (+info)
Pleistocene brown bears in the mid-continent of North America.
Current biogeographic models hypothesize that brown bears migrated from Asia to the New World ~100 to 50 thousand years ago but did not reach areas south of Beringia until ~13 to 12 thousand years ago, after the opening of a mid-continental ice-free corridor. We report a 26-thousand-year-old brown bear fossil from central Alberta, well south of Beringia. Mitochondrial DNA recovered from the specimen shows that it belongs to the same clade of bears inhabiting southern Canada and the northern United States today and that modern brown bears in this region are probably descended from populations that persisted south of the southern glacial margin during the Last Glacial Maximum. (+info)
Anticipatory reproduction and population growth in seed predators.
Mast seeding, the intermittent, synchronous production of large seed crops by a population of plants, is a well-known example of resource pulses that create lagged responses in successive trophic levels of ecological communities. These lags arise because seed predators are thought capable of increasing reproduction and population size only after the resource pulse is available for consumption. The resulting satiation of predators is a widely cited explanation for the evolution of masting. Our study shows that both American and Eurasian tree squirrels anticipate resource pulses and increase reproductive output before a masting event, thereby increasing population size in synchrony with the resource pulse and eliminating the population lag thought to be universal in resource pulse systems. (+info)
Persistent maternal effects on juvenile survival in North American red squirrels.
Maternal effects can have lasting fitness consequences for offspring, but these effects are often difficult to disentangle from associated responses in offspring traits. We studied persistent maternal effects on offspring survival in North American red squirrels (Tamiasciurus hudsonicus) by manipulating maternal nutrition without altering the post-emergent nutritional environment experienced by offspring. This was accomplished by providing supplemental food to reproductive females over winter and during reproduction, but removing the supplemental food from the system prior to juvenile emergence. We then monitored juvenile dispersal, settlement and survival from birth to 1 year of age. Juveniles from supplemented mothers experienced persistent and magnifying survival advantages over juveniles from control mothers long after supplemental food was removed. These maternal effects on survival persisted, despite no observable effect on traits normally associated with high offspring quality, such as body size, dispersal distance or territory quality. However, supplemented mothers did provide their juveniles an early start by breeding an average of 18 days earlier than control mothers, which may explain the persistent survival advantages their juveniles experienced. (+info)
Prevalence of asthma and risk factors for asthma-like symptoms in Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal children in the northern territories of Canada.
BACKGROUND: Few studies have investigated the prevalence and risk factors of asthma in Canadian Aboriginal children. OBJECTIVE: To determine the prevalence of asthma and asthma-like symptoms, as well as the risk factors for asthma-like symptoms, in Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal children living in the northern territories of Canada. METHODS: Data on 2404 children, aged between 0 and 11 years, who participated in the North component of the National Longitudinal Survey of Children and Youth were used in the present study. A child was considered to have an asthma-like symptom if there was a report of ever having had asthma, asthma attacks or wheeze in the past 12 months. RESULTS: After excluding 59 children with missing information about race, 1399 children (59.7%) were of Aboriginal ancestry. The prevalence of asthma was significantly lower (P<0.05) in Aboriginal children (5.7%) than non-Aboriginal children (10.0%), while the prevalence of wheeze was similar between Aboriginal (15.0%) and non-Aboriginal (14.5%) children. In Aboriginal children, infants and toddlers had a significantly greater prevalence of asthma-like symptoms (30.0%) than preschool-aged children (21.5%) and school-aged children (11.5%). Childhood allergy and a mother's daily smoking habit were significant risk factors for asthma-like symptoms in both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal children. In addition, infants and toddlers were at increased risk of asthma-like symptoms in Aboriginal children. In analyses restricted to specific outcomes, a mother's daily smoking habit was a significant risk factor for current wheeze in Aboriginal children and for ever having had asthma in non-Aboriginal children. CONCLUSIONS: Asthma prevalence appears to be lower in Aboriginal children than in non-Aboriginal children. The association between daily maternal smoking and asthma-like symptoms, which has been mainly reported for children living in urban areas, was observed in Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal children living in northern and remote communities in Canada. (+info)