In this issue:
Animal Health Surveillance
Tracking wild dogs
Bat super immunity
Alien plants and animals
WormFaxNSW – January issue is now on-line
Animal Health Surveillance – NSW – October–December 2015 » Issue 2015/4
Tracking wild dog movements online
“Wild dogs have been fitted with GPS collars for a new project in the State’s south. You, and members of the public, can track the collared animals’ movements here via weekly updates over the next year.
This southern NSW initiative gives local stakeholders in wild dog management the chance to see data previously only available to researchers. Information collected by each collar will be used to make practical improvements to management, informing the necessary scale of operations and directing efforts to where they will be most useful, by measuring activity ranges and identifying high risk incursion pathways over a 12 month period.
Riverina and Murray LLS engaged staff from Biosecurity NSW to help design and implement the new applied research program following success of previous Vertebrate Pest Research Unit projects in northern NSW. Staff from Forestry Corporation and National Parks are also collaborating in the project.
For more information about this research project, contact firstname.lastname@example.org and keep an eye on the web page! Another 22 dogs will be added to the program in coming months”.
(Source: NSW DPI’s internal blog (‘DPI Active’), 25/2/16)
Bat super immunity to lethal disease could help protect people
A CSIRO news release: http://www.csiro.au/en/News/News-releases/2016/Bat-super-immunity-to-lethal-disease-could-help-protect-people?featured=27F6622E2C954B819F5E36ECE881FA68
“23 February 2016
For the first time researchers have uncovered a unique ability in bats which allows them to carry but remain unaffected by lethal diseases.
Unlike humans, bats keep their immune systems switched on 24/7 and scientists believe this could hold the key to protecting people from deadly diseases like Ebola.
Bats are a natural host for more than 100 viruses, some of which are lethal to people, including Middle Eastern Respiratory Syndrome (MERS), Ebola and Hendra virus, however, interestingly bats do not get sick or show signs of disease from these viruses.
Published today in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) , this new research examines the genes and immune system of the Australian black flying fox, with surprising results.
“Whenever our body encounters a foreign organism, like bacteria or a virus, a complicated set of immune responses are set in motion, one of which is the defense mechanism known as innate immunity,” leading bat immunologist at CSIRO’s Australian Animal Health Laboratory Dr Michelle Baker said.
“We focused on the innate immunity of bats, in particular the role of interferons – which are integral for innate immune responses in mammals – to understand what’s special about how bats respond to invading viruses.
“Interestingly we have shown that bats only have three interferons which is only a fraction – about a quarter – of the number of interferons we find in people.
“This is surprising given bats have this unique ability to control viral infections that are lethal in people and yet they can do this with a lower number of interferons.”
The team also compared two type 1 interferons – alpha and beta.
The research showed that bats express a heightened innate immune response even when they were not infected with any detectable virus.
“Unlike people and mice, who activate their immune systems only in response to infection, the bats interferon-alpha is constantly ‘switched on’ acting as a 24/7 front line defence against diseases,” Dr Baker said.
“In other mammalian species, having the immune response constantly switched on is dangerous – for example it’s toxic to tissue and cells – whereas the bat immune system operates in harmony.”‘
Alien plants and animals drive native species to extinction
‘Accidentally or deliberately introduced species are the second most common threat associated with recent global extinctions of animals and plants .. ‘
‘Australia has the highest rate of recent mammalian extinctions in the wild’
Apple vs FBI
The ‘FBI has demanded in a court that Apple provide the technology to help the agency crack the passcode of a locked iPhone 5c used by one of the terrorists involved in the attack in San Bernardino.’
‘Apple CEO Tim Cook had said the government was asking for a backdoor to the iPhone. “The FBI may use different words to describe this tool, but make no mistake: Building a version of iOS that bypasses security in this way would undeniably create a backdoor,” he wrote.”
Apple, like any other, has its faults, but it seems they are damned if they do (comply with the FBI’s demand) and damned if they don’t.
The Macalope responds:
Changes to negative gearing – adverse effects on parallel parking