Beaver Cause Local Health Concern
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Alaska 03/27/11 newsminer.com: by Dan Joling – (Excerpt) Inupiat Eskimo villagers in the Chukchi Sea village of Kivalina rely on wild animals to survive, but a recent arrival associated with climate warming is causing health concerns. Beavers have colonized the Wulik River, Kivalina’s main source for water. Beaver feces carry a microscopic protozoa that can cause giardia, known to campers elsewhere in Alaska as “beaver fever.” Diarrhea and vomiting are symptoms. Kivalina hunters using the Wulik as a corridor to inland caribou herds have been warned to boil water before drinking it. Beavers are among the unwelcome changes associated with climate change, said Michael Brubaker, lead author of reports documenting how two northwest villages have been affected. The appearance of North America’s largest rodent was a signal that a traditional water source had changed. “It’s a new health issue,” Brubaker said. “It affects people’s behavior. It can affect people’s health and it also affect s the cost of running water facilities.” Brubaker is director of community environment and safety for the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium, a health organization managed by tribal governments and their regional health organizations.
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