The West Nile virus has been detected for the first time in the Wisconsin hen population. According to Wisconsin Natural Resources Department, three out of 16 birds who have introduced hunters have tested positive for annual monitoring of sick and dead birds on the virus.
The fry chicken was collected from northern Wisconsin in counties Ashland and Douglas. The West Nile virus was tested positively by a person and two tested positive for West Nile and Eastern equine encephalitis viruses.
The West Nile virus, which originated in Africa, was first discovered in Wisconsin in 2002. The hunters have recently been concerned about mosquito disease. In 2017, they reached 185,336 friction chicken, the lowest harvest in more than thirty years.
There is some concern at the decline that the West Nile virus may blame. Despite the discovery, the upland wildlife ecologist DNR Mark Witecha said it is too early to say whether the disease is affecting the bird population.
"This all states that the grouse in Wisconsin is exposed to West Nile virus, but we certainly cannot say any conclusions about the prevalence or impact of the disease from this one attempt," he said.
The state is testing "the favorable" of the virus, but Witecha said that they received only eight submissions for grouse that were sampled between 2002 and 2017. The reason for a recent decline in the bird remains uncertain, t however, the grouse population usually changes every 10 years.
"The decline came before we basically thought that so what kind of concern was raised," Witecha said.
It is difficult to determine the impact of friction on friction hen. However, Witecha said that the disease was extremely deadly in species like crows and bluejays.
"With other species like turkeys, it seems that he has no impact," he said.
Brent Rudolph, director of conservation policy with the Ruffed Grouse Society, said Wisconsin, Michigan and Minnesota are working in a three-year study to better understand how the disease affects chicken friction across the region.
"It will be extremely difficult to understand with a lot of confidence what is happening and certainly in a county or individual area within a state, but by co-ordinating across the region it should help us to understand better. some of the factors that trigger higher prevalence, higher exposure to West Nile across the three states which, of course, have some similarities, but also differences in habitat and hen numbers and distribution of hunters and so on, " Rudolph said.
Rudolph said there are between 70,000 and 90,000 hunters at each of the three states that grow grouse. It added to the bird as an indicator of forest health and its ability to provide adequate habitats for wildlife.
The Wisconsin DNR distributed 500 sampling kits to debtors. Hunters returned 238 samples, which were sent to a laboratory in Georgia for testing. Witecha said they are expecting preliminary results this summer.
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