PGC Ruffed Grouse Film Wins Big

 

Between 2001 and 2005, the ruffed grouse population suffered a 63 percent decline in Pennsylvania. No one was sure why but in 2015 through 2016, Game Commission biologist Lisa Williams and her team confirmed their suspicions about Pennsylvania’s state bird being affected by the West Nile Virus (WNV).
Grouse chicks were hatched from eggs gathered in the wild, and then inoculated with WNV. Within the first week 40 percent of the chicks died. After two weeks, an additional 40 percent of the chicks showed so much organ damage that they probably could not have survived in their natural environment.
After the challenge study was completed, the laboratory findings were then tested on wild grouse in Pennsylvania by looking for WNV-positive antibodies in harvested grouse. This testing is the first of its kind where lab results were then tested in wild populations.

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