A team of conservation scientists from the Royal Veterinary College, the Wildlife Conservation Society - WCS, Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations, and the University of Veterinary Medicine Vienna published a letter in this week’s edition of the renouned journal Science on the threat of the virus peste des petits ruminants (PPR) to conservation. PPR is a viral disease of sheep and goats, of great significance to the livelihood of rural communities, biodiversity conservation, and national and global economies.
Repeated mass mortality events in wild steppe and mountain ungulates of the Middle East and eastern Asia is raising significant concerns about the conservation impact of this virus. The authors say there is an urgent need to explicitly include wildlife protection as an objective of the PPR global eradication campaign.
According to the researchers, among them Chris Walzer from the Conservation Medicine Unit of the Research Institute of Wildlife Ecology of the Vetmeduni Vienna, the mass mortality of wildlife in the steppes is due to climate change, the spread of pathogens and habitat and resource reduction for wildlife due to agriculture and other human activities. To better understand this disease, Science for Nature and People Partnership SNAPP Steppe Health is gathering a diverse group of animal health and conservation professionals to measure and mitigate the impact of pathogens, such as PPR virus, at the livestock/wildlife interface.
The Scientific Letter PPR virus threatens wildlife conservation by Xavier Fernandez Aguilar, Amanda E. Fine, Mathieu Pruvot, Felix Njeumi, Christian Walzer, Richard Kock and Enkhtuvshin Shiilegdamba was published in Science.
(Web editor, 25 October 2018)