Canine virus threatens tiger population

Published: 30th June 2013 09:44 AM  |   Last Updated: 30th June 2013 09:44 AM   |  A+A-

Tigers are going to the dogs. Sounds unbelievable, but true. An incurable pathogen named canine distemper virus, (CDV) is fast spreading from dogs to the tigers, making them uninhibited and in the process, turning them into potential man-eaters.

The most dangerous consequence of all is that the tiger population could be completely wiped out by the virus.

 The National Tiger Conservation Authority has issued an advisory to all tiger range states, asking them to look out for abnormal behaviour among the big cats.

The advisory stated that the affected animals have a tendency to display strange behaviour and noted the serious symptoms of CDV.

“It is incurable, causing high fever, watery eyes, lethargy, vomiting,  and diarrhoea, progressing to seizures, paralysis and death. The infected animals have also been observed to display strange behaviour, with disorientation, inability to predate and a marked loss of fear,” the advisory said. The brain damage caused by CDV results in fatalities among tigers.

As CDV-infected tigers become fearless, they could venture out into areas of human habitation and pose serious danger in villages and towns.

With their shrinking habitats forcing tigers to venture out to look for prey, cattle and stray dogs around the national parks become the first victims.

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