Saturday, March 23, 2013

Tularemia suspected in beaver deaths in Urbana [Meadowbrook Park], State of Illinois

A beaver die-off at Urbana's Meadowbrook Park, thought to have been caused by tularemia, has emphasized the importance of keeping pets indoors or on a leash, for their own safety and that of wildlife.

It also has raised questions about the impact of drought, overpopulation and habitat destruction on wildlife. Officials say there are no reports of human illness.

What is known for sure is that seven of the beavers that thrived in and along McCullough Creek in the park died in the last year. The cause is less certain.

"There is no conclusive evidence," researcher Nohra Mateus-Pinilla said, "but it appears that the only thing that could have caused the die-off is an outbreak of tularemia."