California wildlife officials warn that a new unexplained neurological illness is causing some black bear cubs in the state to exhibit overly friendly “doglike” behavior with humans.
Several have been fearlessly eating and camping out in backyards as humans look on. The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) says one young bear that was picked up was lethargic and underweight, displaying head tremors and a subtle head tilt.
Encephalitis, or brain inflammation, appears to be the cause. “At this point, we don’t know what causes the encephalitis, so we don’t know what, if any, health risks these bears might pose to other animals,” said CDFW wildlife veterinarian Brandon Munk.
The Kenya Wildlife Service is investigating a mysterious skin disease that has killed more than 10 giraffes in the far northeast of the country. The illness was first reported last May, with six of the animals dying within the following five months. It eventually spreads to the mouth, where it interferes with the giraffes’ ability to eat.
The local reticulated giraffes, also known as Somali giraffes, have been recently under threat from poaching because livestock markets in the region have been closed due to the pandemic. Locals also believe the animals’ meat boosts libido, making them a target for slaughter.