Saturday, August 31, 2019
The Number Of Tigers Have Increased In India But This Virus Is Giving Authorities Sleepless Nights
Updated: Aug 04, 2019, 18:23 IST
A potential virus called Canine Distemper Virus (CDV), which can be transmitted from CDV-infected dogs living in and around wildlife sanctuaries, is giving sleepless nights to wildlife biologists and raising concern among them.
A serious, contagious disease caused by a virus that attacks the respiratory, gastrointestinal and nervous systems of puppies and dogs, Canine distemper is the reason behind their worry.
The Hindu reported that according to a recent study, 86 per cent of the tested dogs around Ranthambhore National Park in Rajasthan carried CDV antibodies in their bloodstream.
It implies that the tested dogs were either infected at the time of testing or had been infected at some earlier stage in their life.
Wildlife biologists and enthusiasts maintain that there is an increased risk of disease transfer from the dogs to tigers and leopards that live in the park.
Notably, at least 20 lions from Gir forest lost their life to the viral infection in 2018, following which a guideline has been prepared by the National Tiger Conservation Authority to prevent it from spreading to other animals.
“The main aim should be to vaccinate the free-ranging and domestic dogs in the area around national parks. A lot of NGOs have started started animal birth control programmes. They need more support from the government,” Dr. Jimmy Borah, Consultant, Species Conservation and Law Enforcement, Panthera, was quoted as saying in The Hindu.
“The disease needs to be recognised and more targeted studies need to be initiated to collect baseline data on CDV from wherever they are reported from in wild carnivores. Understanding the role of domestic animals as contributors to a local CDV reservoir is imperative precursor in considering control measures,” he added.
Incidently, there were only a few CDV suspected cases in India when in 2015, because of which the seriousness of the matter was not realised. However, with the CDV confirmed deaths of lions in Gir, it has now attracted both attention and concern among wildlife circles.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi had recently led the country in celebrating the increased number of tigers in India. People across spectrum came together in this celebration and the internet was flooded with warm messages and snapshots from the wild.
The tigers in India, however, still continue to face a number of threats to their existence, such as the loss of habitat, decline of prey and poaching. The threat from Canine Distemper Virus needs to be checked before it spreads further, putting our tigers at fatal risks.