Using Wolves as First Responders Against a Deadly Brain Disease

first_imgThe disease has infected many deer herds in Wyoming, and it spread to Montana in 2017. Both states are adjacent to Yellowstone, so experts are concerned that the deadly disease could soon makes its way into the park’s vast herds of elk and deer. The absence of wolves throughout much of the West may also have allowed the disease to take off. “Taking the sick and weak removes chronic wasting disease from the population, because any animal showing any signs of it will get killed and eaten by the wolves,” Dr. Dobson said. “The rest of the carcass gets cleaned up by the coyotes, the bald eagles, ravens and bears.”“Without predators and scavengers on the landscape, animal components last much longer, and that can definitely have an impact on the spread of disease,” Ms. Brandell said.Restoring the population of predators in national parks and wild lands would go a long way toward healthier ecosystems with less disease, Dr. Dobson said. Chronic wasting disease, a contagious neurological disease, is so unusual that some experts call it a “disease from outer space.” First discovered among wild deer in 1981, it leads to deterioration of brain tissue in cervids, mostly deer but also elk, moose and caribou, with symptoms such as listlessness, drooling, staggering, emaciation and death.- Advertisement – It is caused by an abnormal version of a cell protein called a prion, which functions very differently than bacteria or viruses. The disease has spread across wild cervid populations and is now found in 26 states and several Canadian provinces, as well as South Korea and Scandinavia.The disease is part of a group called transmissible spongiform encephalopathies, the most famous of which is bovine spongiform encephalopathy, also known as mad cow disease. Mad cow in humans causes a variant of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, and there was an outbreak among people in the 1990s in Britain from eating tainted meat.Cooking does not kill the prions, and experts fear that chronic wasting disease could spread to humans who hunt and consume deer or other animals that are infected with it. The origin of the disease is unknown. Andrew P. Dobson, a professor of ecology and epidemiology at Princeton who has studied predator cleansing, believes the illness is largely the result of ecosystems with too few predators and scavengers.He speculates that the disease may have come from deer living in proximity to sheep in Colorado or Wyoming, where it was first identified. Sheep have carried scrapie — effectively mad cow disease for sheep — for centuries. Dr. Dobson has theorized that after a contaminated animal died, it may have lain on the ground for a while in the absence of predators and scavengers, which would usually clean up carcasses.Elk and deer must have calcium, he said, and they may have eaten the bones of a contaminated animal and spread the disease. – Advertisement – Unless, perhaps, the park’s 10 packs of wolves, which altogether contain about 100 individuals, preyed on and consumed diseased animals that were easier to pick off because of their illness (The disease does not appear to infect wolves).“Wolves have really been touted as the best type of animal to remove infected deer, because they are cursorial — they chase their prey and they look for the weak ones,” said Ms. Brandell. By this logic, diseased deer and other animals would the be most likely to be eliminated by wolves.Preliminary results in Yellowstone have shown that wolves can delay outbreaks of chronic wasting disease in their prey species and can decrease outbreak size, Ms. Brandell said. There is little published research on “predator cleansing,” and this study aims to add support for the use of predators to manage disease.A prime concern about the spread of chronic wasting disease in the Yellowstone region is the fact that Wyoming maintains 22 state-sponsored feeding grounds that concentrate large numbers of elk unnaturally in the Yellowstone region. And just south of Grand Teton National Park lies the National Elk Refuge, where thousands of animals, displaced by cattle ranches, are fed each winter to satisfy elk hunters and tourists. Many wildlife biologists say concentrating the animals in such small areas is a recipe for the rapid spread of chronic wasting disease.When cases of the disease among deer ranged from 5 to 50 percent in Wisconsin and Colorado, those states were considered hot spots. But if the disease gets into game farms like the ones in Wyoming, “prevalence rates skyrocket to 90 or 100 percent,” said Mark Zabel, associate director of the Prion Research Center at Colorado State University.Prions are especially deadly. Unlike bacteria and viruses, prions can persist in soil for 10 years or more and live on vegetation. Even if a herd dies out or is culled, new animals moving in can become infected. Ken McDonald, Chief of the Wildlife Division of Montana’s Fish, Wildlife and Parks, expressed doubts that wolves would prevent chronic wasting disease.“Wolves help remove sick animals, but animals don’t get visibly ill for about 2 years,” he said. “So they are carriers and spreaders but don’t get the classic symptoms.”Mr. McDonald said that maintaining a large enough wolf population outside of Yellowstone to control chronic wasting disease would require so many wolves that it would be socially unacceptable, especially to ranchers and hunters.The state’s approach to controlling the disease, he said, is to increase the number of deer that can be killed in places where the disease is growing.Ms. Brandell, however, said that wolves may detect the disease long before it becomes apparent to people, through smell or a slight change in the movement of prey, which could be beneficial.“Wolves wouldn’t be a magic cure everywhere,” she said. “But in places where it was just starting and you have an active predator guild, they could keep it at bay and it might never get a foothold.” Are the wolves of Yellowstone National Park the first line of defense against a terrible disease that preys on herds of wildlife?That’s the question for a research project underway in the park, and preliminary results suggest that the answer is yes. Researchers are studying what is known as the predator cleansing effect, which occurs when a predator sustains the health of a prey population by killing the sickest animals. If the idea holds, it could mean that wolves have a role to play in limiting the spread of chronic wasting disease, which is infecting deer and similar animals across the country and around the world. Experts fear that it could one day jump to humans.- Advertisement – “There is no management tool that is effective” for controlling the disease, said Ellen Brandell, a doctoral student in wildlife ecology at Penn State University who is leading the project in collaboration with the U.S. Geological Survey and the National Park Service. “There is no vaccine. Can predators potentially be the solution?”Many biologists and conservationists say that more research would strengthen the case that reintroducing more wolves in certain parts of the United States could help manage wildlife diseases, although the idea is sure to face pushback from hunters, ranchers and others concerned about competition from wolves. – Advertisement –last_img read more

Trifleet Leasing forays into LNG container business

first_imgLNG World News Staff Image courtesy of Trifleet LeasingTrifleet Leasing, the Netherlands-based tank container leasing company, is entering the cryogenic tank containers business with a focus on liquefied natural gas (LNG).The company said in a statement on Wednesday that it started building up a cryogenic container fleet and offering a full range of related services as of the beginning of this year.In that regard, Trifleet Leasing ordered twenty 40-ft tanks with a volume of 46,000L as a first batch for the planned 2018 investments.The design and manufacturing of the tank containers have been commissioned to Cryovat in the Netherlands and GasCon in South Africa. The first 40-ft containers for LNG will be available for leasing within the first quarter of 2018, according to Trifleet Leasing.The company’s newly-established cryogenic business will not only offer tanks, but also related services, such as cryogenic pumps, hoses, installation systems and technical advice, it said.The new business will be headed by Jaap Kuijpers Wentink, who was previously managing director at the Crynorm Group, the Dutch maker of cryogenic equipment.last_img read more

Surprising stinker leads USA takeaways

first_imgUnited States Cameron posts surprising stinker: Five takeaways from the USMNT loss to Costa Rica Ives Galarcep @soccerbyives 04:33 9/3/17 FacebookTwitterRedditcopy Comments(1) Geoff Cameron Marco Urena USA Costa Rica Mike Lawrie United States WC Qualification CONCACAF United States v Costa Rica Costa Rica The defender was expected to be the anchor of the U.S. back line, but instead played his worst national team match in recent memory HARRISON, N.J. -— Was it overconfidence? Was it just a case of Costa Rica playing an excellent game and the U.S. national team getting unlucky? Is there a curse that keeps the U.S. national team from doing well in New Jersey (the USA is 1-4-3 in its past eight visits to the Garden State)?Whatever the reason, the Americans simply didn’t click like we thought they would, didn’t come together like we expected after spending all week hearing about how much chemistry the group had, and how much competition there is for places on the deep squad. Did they read too many positive press clippings, or did they settle into a comfort zone after going through the first eight months of the year undefeated?Costa Rica deserves credit, and in the midst of the post-loss panic among American fans there wasn’t much in the way of credit being given to the Ticos, who you could argue are a blizzard away from having won the past four qualifiers against the U.S. They came in largely healthy, with only the suspended Giancarlo Gonzalez and injured Joel Campbell as key absences, and they played like the team we might have seen at this summer’s Gold Cup before injuries hammered their roster. Article continues below Editors’ Picks Brazil, beware! Messi and Argentina out for revenge after Copa controversy Best player in MLS? Zlatan wasn’t even the best player in LA! ‘I’m getting better’ – Can Man Utd flop Fred save his Old Trafford career? Why Barcelona god Messi will never be worshipped in the same way in Argentina Somewhere, Jurgen Klinsmann might have taken some satisfaction from the result. Not because he wants to see the U.S. fail, but because Friday provided a stark reminder that CONCACAF is no cakewalk, especially when facing Mexico and Costa Rica.Trying to compare Friday’s loss to last November’s loss in Costa Rica, which led to Klinsmann’s firing, is a bit of a pointless endeavor, but before any lingering Klinsmann loyalists try emerging from the woodwork they might consider the reality that, for as disappointing as Friday’s loss was, the Americans still didn’t come close to looking as lost and uninspired as they did last November.While Friday’s loss doesn’t suddenly put Arena on shaky ground, it does signal the end of the honeymoon of Arena’s second marriage to the USA. He still deserves credit for rebuilding the team’s confidence and securing eight points from four qualifiers to pull the Americans back into position to qualify for the World Cup, but Friday’s loss should serve as a wake-up call to any U.S. players who might have been getting too comfortable, and who might have forgotten just how tricky CONCACAF can be.Here are some takeaways from Friday’s U.S. loss to Costa Rica:CAMERON ENDURES A SURPRISING STINKERGeoff Cameron USAAnyone looking at the U.S. starting lineup before Friday’s match would have put Geoff Cameron’s name last on the list of defenders to worry about playing poorly. After all, the Stoke City man has been the steadiest defender in the pool for several years, having managed to avoid the kind of shocking performance that seemingly every other center back in the U.S. pool had managed at one time or another in the past few years.Apparently it was Cameron’s turn on Friday, as he looked nothing like the sharp and well-positioned stalwart that dominated at Copa America in 2016. He obviously wasn’t the only one to blame for the U.S. team’s issues on Friday, but he was clearly the most surprising offender.If there was a sense of deja vu regarding Cameron’s performance, it might have been because it was last November when another top American defender had an absolute shocker against Costa Rica. John Brooks played the worst match of his national team career down in San Jose, and perhaps it’s not a coincidence that each of those poor performances came when one was forced to play without the other.PULISIC TAKES HIS LUMPSChristian Pulisic Costa Rica 09012017It was probably ambitious to think Christian Pulisic was going to slice through the Costa Rican defense like a knife through butter, but after having seen him be so effective in this year’s other home qualifiers it was still a bit surprising to see him struggle to break through on Friday.In fairness to the 18-year-old, he still made some things happen, and did beat defenders on occasion, with Keylor Navas’ highlight-reel save denying Pulisic a goal in the second half. That was not only the best chance, but arguably the only truly dangerous chance for the U.S. on a night when the final pass and precise shot were sorely lacking.Now we will see how Pulisic handles the adversity of falling short in a match where he was actually expected to deliver a big performance. His meteoric rise has seen him wow us with incredible games, often times coming when we wouldn’t have expected him to be so dominant, but his reputation has grown, and so have the expectations. We shouldn’t lose sight of the fact he’s still just 18, and ups and downs will occur, but now that he has earned the spotlight, it is up to him to keep showing he’s capable of handling it.HOWARD CAN’T CONJURE HEROICSTim Howard USA 09012017Tim Howard doesn’t often find himself facing questions about mistakes he’s made, largely because his long career has seen him play the hero many more times than he’s been the goat. Things were a bit different on Friday when, of all people, Arena made comments that suggested Howard hadn’t had his best performance.”The back line made some mistakes. We didn’t come up with any big saves. Our attack players weren’t dangerous on the night,” Arena said after the match, before later questioning Howard’s handling of Costa Rica’s first goal. “It didn’t look like he got much on the shot and Tim perhaps lost his angle on the goal and he was able to roll it in.”Replays backed up Arena’s assessment of the play. Howard appeared to get caught leaning as Marco Urena awkwardly struck a rolling shot toward the back post. It was an ambitious angle to take the shot on, and was probably more a hit-and-hope effort than inspired finish, which is probably why it surprised the goalkeeper, who was clearly leaning toward protecting the near post.Does this mean Howard’s starting job is in jeopardy? Arena split the goalkeeping starts in June, giving Guzan the nod in Mexico, but that was when there were only two days between the matches. Howard started both March qualifiers when there were four days in between. Might Arena give Guzan the nod now? Knowing Arena, it’s probably more likely he sticks with Howard and gives him a chance to atone for what was, by his lofty standards, a subpar performance.ARENA’S LINEUP MISCUESBruce Arena USA Costa RicaHow much of Friday’s performance was down to Arena’s lineup decisions? There were definitely some moves he made that, in retrospect, could be seen as risky and ultimately failed to pan out. Some other moves weren’t nearly as easy to pin on his decision.Starting Tim Ream next to Cameron was the one move Arena has to face the music on. Why? The two defenders had never been partnered together as center backs in a four-man defense before. Thus they didn’t have that familiarity and understanding necessary to make a two-man central defense work smoothly. They were each in the lineup when Arena deployed a three center back system against Mexico in June, but that sort of setup doesn’t require the same sort of understanding between two defenders like a four-man defense requires of its center backs.Giving Fabian Johnson the nod despite his recent lack of playing time due to injury looked like a mistake. Johnson was largely invisible against the Ticos, and as much as you can give some credit to Costa Rica, it was clear Johnson faded badly after a somewhat promising start to the match. Who could Arena have deployed on the wing? He could have put Darlington Nagbe there and started Kellyn Acosta in the middle. Sliding Clint Dempsey in for Johnson and pushing Bobby Wood wide could have been another option, though it would have sacrificed Wood’s effectiveness closer to goal.Not all of Arena’s moves were bad ones. Graham Zusi was the best U.S. defender on the night, rewarding Arena’s commitment to converting Zusi into a full-time right back. Nagbe looked sharp in the playmaker role even though Costa Rica left him with few outlets to truly break free and create. Some might argue that Pulisic should have played there, but aside from the fact Pulisic is better suited to attack a strong defense from the wing, he also spent a good amount of time trying to work the middle of the field and found no success there either.Was sitting Dempsey a mistake? Not really, because Dempsey wasn’t going to duplicate Wood’s two-way work and he showed at the Gold Cup that he can be an effective option off the bench. Also, starting Dempsey in both qualifiers was always going to be risky given his age, but now Arena has a relatively rested Dempsey for a tough trip to Honduras, a team he decimated in March.DID THE VENUE CHOICE MATTER?Costa Rica Fans Red Bull Arena 09012017The USMNT did not play poorly in Friday’s match because of Red Bull Arena, but the choice of venue didn’t do much to help the team. The stadium is arguably the best stadium in MLS, and having the USMNT in the New York City area was probably good for marketing and media opportunities, but it was hard to find many positives for the choice of venue on match day itself.Costa Rican fans came out in force, with the makeup of the crowd somewhere in the 25-30 percent rage of Ticos fans. It sounded like more when Costa Rica scored, but it’s also a given that the crowd noise would have gone through the roof had the Americans scored. Ticos players credited their fans with providing inspiration on the night, which only added to the theory that Red Bull Arena somehow cost the U.S.You can certainly make the case that putting a match anywhere that can give the opponent even a modest amount of fan support is playing with fire, with the embarrassing decision to have the U.S. play Honduras at RFK Stadium in 2001 — which led to a stadium two-thirds full of Honduran fans—serving as the clear precedent. Friday’s scene was nowhere close to that infamous 2001 USA-Honduras crowd, but it was still unsettling to hear the loud cheers erupt when Urena sealed the win with his second goal of the night.Did Red Bull Arena actually fail to motivate the U.S. players because of the environment? That’s a tough theory to get behind because the energy in the stadium as the match kicked off was electric, and U.S. fans were vocal throughout the match trying to urge their team on.That didn’t stop U.S. fans across the country from believing their home venues would have been better suited to host Friday’s final. What should be remembered though is that there’s a difference between lively and packed environments and scary and intimidating ones that could actually unsettle an opponent while energizing the home team. There are plenty of markets that can produce excellent and energized settings for the U.S., but none that are going to unsettle teams like Mexico and Costa Rica.Red Bull Arena had excellent crowd support for the home team, but as U.S. fans left the stadium after Costa Rica’s second goal, it became clear that there was a tangible presence of Tico fans in attendance, a presence that certainly didn’t hurt Costa Rica’s chances. That image, of Costa Rican flags waving around Red Bull Arena as the final whistle blew, should serve as the new reminder that venue selection for home qualifiers is a task not to be taken lightly.Yes, the New York City area was long overdue for a World Cup qualifier — with Friday’s the first ever played in New Jersey — but scheduling one of the team’s absolute toughest home tests in a venue with no track record for big U.S. matches was clearly a gamble. One that didn’t pay off.last_img read more