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Figure 2 from PNAS paper: Distemper, extinction, and vaccination of the Amur tiger

For more than a year, the world has closely followed the development, approval and deployment of various coronavirus vaccines that could bring an end to the global pandemic, debating every side effect and hurdle. But vaccines aren’t only used to spare humans from the ravages of disease; increasingly, they’re being used to conserve wild species threatened with extinction.
A male dhole scans the forest to look for prey by Anish Andheria

Cornell's Dr. Martin Gilbert discusses how infectious disease likely represents an important threat for endangered dhole populations and that such diseases could even be capable of causing local extinctions.
A Bengal Tiger shown lying down

An interdisciplinary team of researchers, including the Cornell Wildlife Health Center’s Dr. Martin Gilbert, collaborated to assess the impact of habitat loss and fragmentation on tiger populations.
A collage of endangered species that includes three big cats, elephant and rhino

The third Friday of May is Endangered Species Day. Primarily as a result of human activities, our planet’s biodiversity is shrinking at an unprecedented rate. The Cornell Wildlife Health Center is proud to support a diverse range of species and ecosystems through our work.
Tiger lying down © Ronald Gilbert

A research team, including the Cornell Wildlife Health Center’s Dr. Martin Gilbert, published a case report describing the death of a Bengal tiger in Bhutan from neurocysticercosis (the presence of larval tapeworm stages in the brain). Bengal tigers are endangered, with only 103 individuals estimated to remain in Bhutan, with more in other range countries including India and Nepal.
A herd of wild sheep

Announcement

The Wild Carnivore Health Program was awarded a grant from the Wild Sheep Foundation to introduce a program of pathogen surveillance focused on argali and Siberian ibex to help maintain viable herds of wild sheep and goats in Kyrgyzstan and elsewhere in Central Asia.
An Amur Tiger shown resting

Canine distemper threatens a key group of Amur tigers, but an unconventional vaccination program could help. Researchers have found that vaccinating tigers for canine distemper virus can play a key role in improving conservation outcomes for small, isolated tiger populations at risk.
Tiger shown walking with trees and grass in background by Ronald Gilbert

While Indian tigers have the highest genetic variation compared to other subspecies of the feline across the world, their populations continue to be fragmented by loss of habitat, leading to inbreeding and potential loss of this diversity.
Tiger camera trap image courtesy of Nature Conservation Division, DoFPS, MoAF, Bhutan

For Your Information

Neurological disease in wild tigers has recently gained prominence following a series of fatal canine distemper virus infections affecting tigers in Russia and elsewhere. However, new research into a similar case affecting a wild Bengal tiger in Bhutan diagnosed a brain lesion caused by a human tapeworm - the first time the condition has been recorded in a non-domestic cat species.
A Bengal Tiger looking very regal by Blake Meyer

For Your Information

Tigers are among the most charismatic of endangered species and garner significant conservation attention. However, their evolutionary history and genomic variation remains poorly known, especially for Indian tigers. With 70% of the world's wild tigers living in India, such knowledge is critical for their conservation.