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Animals

Protecting your Flock during Fall Migration

We know you’ve heard it before: seasonal migratory patterns bring an increased risk of disease-carrying birds interacting with commercial or backyard poultry. But the health and safety of our U.S. poultry flock is important enough to make it worth repeating. Birds, particularly waterfowl like ducks and geese, can carry avian influenza without showing any symptoms or signs of disease. Because the risk of introduction never goes away, having strong biosecurity practices on poultry operations can help prevent the spread of infectious disease before it starts. The 2014-2015 U.S. Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) outbreak is never far from my mind. It forced us to reevaluate our preparedness and response capabilities, from a federal, state, and industry standpoint. Today, we are all better prepared to handle and quickly respond to avian influenza detections.

Wildlife Partners Unite to Protect Iconic Species from Deadly Plague

Last month, researchers, wildlife biologists and managers from several federal, state and local agencies gathered at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services’ (USFWS) National Black-footed Ferret Conservation Center to celebrate a breakthrough in wildlife management— the development of an oral vaccine bait that helps protect prairie dogs against deadly sylvatic plague and assists in the recovery of endangered black-footed ferrets (BFF). Sylvatic plague, caused by Yersinia pestis, is a bacterial disease transmitted by fleas that afflicts many mammalian species, including humans.

Unleashing a New Tool to Stop an Unexpected Invader

The National Feral Swine Damage Management Program, within the USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service’s Wildlife Services (WS) program, has unleashed detector dogs as a new tool to help stop the spread of feral swine, one of the United States’ most destructive and ravenous invasive creatures.

Navigating Pet Travel? Let APHIS Help.

When planning an international trip, we often want to bring the whole family – including our pets.  But, did you know taking Fido or Fluffy can be a complex, multistep process that requires advance planning and preparation?  To help make this process go smoothly, USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) has a few simple steps to follow – and a comprehensive website to walk you through the process.

Being Serious about Saving Bees

Pollinators are a vital part of agricultural production. In the United States, more than one-third of all crop production – 90 crops ranging from nuts to berries to flowering vegetables - requires insect pollination. Managed honey bee colonies are our primary pollinators, adding at least $15 billion a year by increasing yields and helping to ensure superior-quality harvests.

Keeping Our Military Pilots Safe from Wildlife Strikes

“Very hot, sandy and dry” is how APHIS Wildlife Services (WS) biologist Matt Miller describes the area around the 386th Air Expeditionary Wing in Southwest Asia. Matt is one of three wildlife biologists (see below) who returned home in early April after serving 4 months in the Middle East helping to keep our military pilots safe:

Gypsy Moths Want to Devour Your Favorite Destinations

Memorial Day Weekend means hitting the road for many of us – vacations, camping, or even moving to a new home. But watch out for an invasive pest that also enjoys new destinations—the destructive gypsy moth. Gypsy moth caterpillars can defoliate, weaken and kill more than 300 different species of trees and shrubs. Since 1970, more than 83 million acres have been defoliated by the gypsy moth in the U.S.

Neither Rain nor Sleet nor Snow Stops Wildlife Disease Biologists from Collecting Samples

On a cold and blustery day, APHIS wildlife disease biologist Jared Hedelius sits in his truck by the Bighorn River in Montana and waits. Although the temperatures outside are well below freezing, the mallards on the river are busy searching for food, oblivious to Jared’s swim-in live trap just a few feet from the shoreline. Soon, enough ducks have entered the trap and Jared leaves his warm truck and heads to the water. He sets up his equipment and begins collecting samples.