One Loon’s Death Is Stirring Fears Of Tropical Disease, Climate Change

"A New England loon has died from avian malaria, according to researchers who believe this to be the first known case of a loon dying of the tropical disease.

The loon was found floating last summer on Lake Umbagog, a 7-mile-long lake straddling the New Hampshire and Maine border, and was quickly brought to scientists for examination. In less than a week, the avian malaria was detected, surprising wildlife biologists and stirring conversations about climate change and its future impact on wildlife.

“Loons can live for decades, so losing any adult loon to a new cause casts a long shadow,” John Cooley, senior biologist for the Loon Preservation Committee, said. “So when we find a new cause like this malaria strain, it’s a real cause for concern. Obviously it’s the kind of new stressor that you worry about in anticipating what climate change could mean for loons.”"

Aislinn Sarnacki freports for the Bangor Daily News April 8, 2016.

Source: Bangor Daily News, 04/12/2016