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A tiger painted on a building in Thimphu; tigers are particularly revered in Bhutan. COURTESY MARTIN GILBERT

The Cornell Wildlife Health Center's Dr. Martin Gilbert collaborated with an international team of scientists to uncover the cause of a mysterious illness in an endangered wild tiger in Bhutan.
WildCats spotlight podcast thumbnail image showing a tiger with a face mask around it's head

Podcast

Listen to our Wild Carnivore Health Specialist Dr. Martin Gilbert and other big cat conservationists discuss the impacts of infectious diseases on tiger populations in the first episode of WildCats Pawcast, a brand-new podcast from WildCats Conservation Alliance.
A rhinoceros shown walking by Joel Jerzog/Unsplash

The Cornell Wildlife Health Center continues to enhance synergy among many of Cornell’s wildlife-focused programs, expand student learning opportunities, and capitalize on earnest interdisciplinary approaches to addressing key wildlife conservation and related public health challenges.
Sumatran tiger crouching to drink water

Dr. Martin Gilbert, Wild Carnivore Specialist at the Cornell Wildlife Health Center, has worked extensively documenting the threat of canine distemper virus (CDV) to endangered Amur tigers in the Russian Far East. He is now working to determine the threat of CDV to other tiger subspecies.
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 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.
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.
Siberian tiger walking in snow

In this commentary, Cornell's Dr. Martin Gilbert and WCS's Dale Miquelle argue that it is incumbent upon science-based conservation agencies to consider vaccinating high-risk tiger populations where epidemiological research indicates that it is necessary to mitigate extinction risks.
Tiger sitting in grass

A team led by Cornell's Dr. Martin Gilbert has shown that vaccinating endangered Amur tigers is the only viable method of protecting the species from canine distemper virus, which causes respiratory and neurological infections in tigers and other carnivores.
Two Amur Tigers resting in the snow; photo provided by Wildlife Conservation Society

We vaccinate our dogs against the canine distemper virus, but it also affects wildlife, including the rare Amur tiger. Our own Dr. Martin Gilbert’s pioneering work shows how vaccinating Amur tigers against canine distemper virus could reduce their risk of extinction.