Snow Leopard

Snow Leopard
Snow Leopard cub (7 mos old) - Cape May County Zoo

Sunday, October 16, 2011

A Domestic Dog Virus Takes Out A Rare Cat

I hate to have report stuff like this but at the same time, I feel like the world "at-large" has no idea about what our wild cat population faces. This includes many small, unknown cat species.  In this case, it involves a subspecies of our Siberian Tiger, an already endangered cat. 

Mystery Tiger Deaths Solved: Canine Distemper Plagues Siberian Tigers

In June 2010, an emaciated and disorientated female Amur tiger(Panthera tigris altaica) named Galia wandered into the Russian town of Terney seeking any prey she was still strong enough to kill. Authorities were forced to put her down, a sad day for a subspecies that numbers maybe 250 to 300 animals in the wild.
The story got worse as all three of Galia’s 3-week-old cubs were also found nearby, dead, their bellies empty.
Galia was the fourth similar death of a radio-collared Amur (or Siberian) tiger in the 10 months leading up to her shooting. At the time, there was no indication of what caused the tigers’ illness, and the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), which has been heavily involved in Amur tiger conservation, voiced fears of a mystery illness, possibly an epidemic spreading through the species.
Now, thanks to a cross-continental team of experts from the WCS and Russian health and veterinary organizations, we have an answer: Galia was infected with canine distemper, a viral disease which causes fever, diarrhea, labored breathing, dehydration and seizures, among other symptoms. It is usually fatal in the wild. The virus likely left Galia too weak to hunt, either for herself or for her young, and she probably entered the village looking for domesticated dogs, which would be easier to kill than wild game. The team presented their findings in September at a Russian symposium on wildlife diseases.

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