Lichens can cure chronic wasting disease in wildlife

This is another example of the way Mother Nature always provides a cure for any disease it creates. Scientists and ecologists have been fighting for about half a century with some kind of disorder they discovered in moose, wild elk, white-tailed deer and mule deer, on the American continent. This disease is called “chronic wasting disease” or CWD and it consists of important weight loss and abnormal behavior. After a certain period of time the infected animal will die. This disease is produced by a “prion”, which is a fraction of a protein that has infectious properties and can destroy some parts of the brain. Being so small and resistant, it is very difficult to destroy and it seems that more and more cases of CWD spread through the simple contact of the infected animal with a healthy one, or through infected soil. Also, there are no medicines for this disease, as it does not respond to antibiotics or any anti infection drugs.

This is the main reason of joy for the scientists who discovered that, in the lab, some enzymes found in lichens can break down the prions. Another very important fact is that lichens are naturally found in the wild, so the balance of nature won’t be disturbed by them. The lichens are neither a plant, nor an animal, but a symbiotic organism, made from algae, fungi and bacteria. This complex structure is probably the secret of their healing effect. It still remains to be seen if what has been discovered in lab conditions is going to prove right in nature. The ecologists and scientists hope that if the affected wildlife will consume the healing lichens, then the symptoms of chronic wasting disease will disappear and the animals will thus be saved from a tragic death. Although CWD has not spread to humans, the quicker it is eradicated, the better.

Risk Business and the Canadian Forest

The Canadian Boreal Forest Agreement is like the name describes it an agreement made between groups that are looking to protect the environment and the forestry industry. They are looking to keep 30 million hectares untouched and submit 42 million more to allow harvesting of trees only. The deal was made public just this month of May and it is, to this date, the largest attempt to protect the forest.

Representatives of many different associations have stated that they are looking forward to working as a team in order to be able to still meet human needs but also keeping mind not to pollute or destroy the environment.

Other groups are wary about the agreement because they believe not much will be actually done due to the different timber companies that are indisposed to following any forced rules. Therefore given the discrepancies between the visions of the different groups, there might not be much done in the future.

Some of the companies that are involved in the deal currently hold the rights to a great portion of the forest but they are willing to give up certain areas if the environmentalists stop boycotting their products.

The deadline for the agreement to come to a conclusion is one year from today; both parts need to discuss the different issues. They are trying to determine what regions of the forest should be turned in to parks that would be either national or provincial. However one of the main problems affecting the agreement itself is the fact that aboriginal groups were not taken into consideration for this matter and they are truly discontented by it. They have stated that the agreement should be terminated due to the fact that many of the areas in question are where the aboriginal communities are located and have authority over them.