FEB 26, 2017 10:21 AM PST

Deadly Virus Wipes Out 1/4 of Endangered Mongolian Saiga Antelope Population

WRITTEN BY: Anthony Bouchard

It would seem that a deadly virus dubbed ‘Peste des Petits Ruminants’ (PPR) is wreaking havoc on a population of antelopes from Mongolia, and has caused the death of more than 2,500 individual animals since just December of 2016 alone.

2,500 of 10,000 remaining Mongolian Saiga Antelopes confirmed dead from a deadly virus.

Image Credit: WCS via NYT

The population in question is that of the endangered Mongolian Saiga, which is estimated to only have a population of 10,000 or so in the region due to continuous habitat loss and for constantly being poached for their valuable horns, which are used in medicine, so this massive die-off related to the deadly virus is sparking a lot of concern for environmental conservationists.

The numbers weren’t always this way; they used to be plentiful, with populations easily reaching the millions, but human activity has really dealt and unrecoverable blow to the animals.

Just doing the math, the disease has wiped out 2,500 of 10,000 estimated living individuals today is equivalent to ¼ of the population, and worse, the death toll is expected to continue to rise through to the Spring of this year. The only saving grace the animals have right now is the fact that the disease seems to be dying away.

"This is the first deadly infectious disease outbreak known to have occurred in the Mongolian saiga," said Dr Amanda Fine, a veterinarian and associate director of the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) Wildlife Health Program in Asia. "In the past, pasteurellosis was recorded as a cause of mortality in some saiga but never with such rapid spread and deadly results. The situation is tragic and widespread."

Experts are on-scene trying to learn more about what has caused the massive outbreak by collecting samples by way of autopsies, among other methods.

The hope is to find patterns as to what kinds of the animal are most at risk, whether it has to do with age or gender, and to find a way to try and protect the species from future outbreaks like this one, as they tend to leave behind a lethal blow to the population.

Perhaps some kind of immunization technique can be implemented that can not only help to save the Mongolian Saiga, but also livestock and creatures from nearby populations, which can help prevent the spreading of diseases like this one.

Note: This video was uploaded in January, and the death toll numbers have risen since it was published.

Source: WCS via NYT

About the Author
Fascinated by scientific discoveries and media, Anthony found his way here at LabRoots, where he would be able to dabble in the two. Anthony is a technology junkie that has vast experience in computer systems and automobile mechanics, as opposite as those sound.
You May Also Like
MAR 18, 2022
Cannabis Sciences
Amoebae's Role in Polyketide Production: Implications for Biotechnological Production of THC
MAR 18, 2022
Amoebae's Role in Polyketide Production: Implications for Biotechnological Production of THC
Researchers published a study confirming the discovery of a new process for producing active complex compounds in amoeba ...
APR 24, 2022
Plants & Animals
Mediterranean Diet Reduces Risk of Preeclampsia in Pregnant Women
APR 24, 2022
Mediterranean Diet Reduces Risk of Preeclampsia in Pregnant Women
In recent years, the idea that the Mediterranean diet is a healthy lifestyle option has become increasingly clear. Compr ...
MAY 26, 2022
Technology
What is LiDAR? How Archaeologists See Through Forests to Find Ancient Ruins
MAY 26, 2022
What is LiDAR? How Archaeologists See Through Forests to Find Ancient Ruins
LiDAR, archaeologists joke that it’s ‘the dream’ when approaching large-scale field surveys, especiall ...
JUN 05, 2022
Earth & The Environment
Which forces control the elevation of mountains?
JUN 05, 2022
Which forces control the elevation of mountains?
Let’s face it, mountains are awesome. They’re awesome to look at and even more awesome to climb. There are f ...
JUN 06, 2022
Plants & Animals
Preventing Food Waste with Digital Citrus Fruits
JUN 06, 2022
Preventing Food Waste with Digital Citrus Fruits
Food waste is an unfortunate and common occurrence. While the vast majority of food waste comes from unused food in home ...
JUN 19, 2022
Plants & Animals
Therapy Dogs Help Lower Cortisol Levels in School-Aged Children
JUN 19, 2022
Therapy Dogs Help Lower Cortisol Levels in School-Aged Children
Therapy pets have become increasingly common because of their range of established health benefits. They can have a rang ...
Loading Comments...