Rabid beaver bites park visitor

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BUSHKILL — A park visitor was bitten by a rabid beaver on Thursday Aug. 2, while swimming in the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area, just south of Eshback Access, which is about six miles south of the Dingmans Ferry Bridge.

The NPS provided no further details, but according to other published reports identified the victim is a Columbia County, N.Y., Boy Scout leader. He suffered bites his backside, his leg and arm. The scouts accompanying their leader killed the animal as it clung to its victim even after he reached shore. Examined later, the beaver tested positive for rabies.

Rabies is a disease that kills both humans and animals and is most often transmitted through the bites of infected animals. Any mammal can become infected with rabies. Not all sick animals have rabies; however, rabies should be considered in any case where an animal is acting aggressively for no apparent reason (i.e., is not protecting young, food sources, or territory) or is confused and not afraid of humans. At this time, it is unknown if other animals in the park are affected.

If you see sick or dead wildlife, do not approach or touch them and notify a park employee or call the park’s 24-hour emergency communications center at 570-426-2457. Visitors should keep pets vaccinated and on a leash at all times and notify park staff if contact with wildlife occurs or is suspected. Anyone who may have had contact with or was bitten or attacked by a wild animal in the park is also asked to call the number above to report the incident. Visitors are reminded to observe and appreciate wildlife from a distance.

Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area is working with National Park Service Office of Public Health and Wildlife Health Branch to protect the health and safety of visitors and wildlife in the park by testing any sick or dead wildlife and notifying the public when rabies is detected in the park.

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