Canine Distemper Virus behind deaths of some lions in Gir


The mysterious deaths of lion in the Gir Forest in Gujarat has been making headlines in the recent past. The state government on Wednesday that Canine Distemper Virus (CDV) was found in some of the 23 Asiatic lions which died in the forest since September 12.

The government has launched massive operations to ensure that the infection does not spread to other big cats in their only abode in Asia. According to officials, a deadly combination of Canine Distemper Virus and Protozoal infection is responsible for the death of at least 11 of 23 lions in the Gir sanctuary.

The condition of three of over 36 lions currently under observation of Forest department is critical, officials said.

Other lions in the sanctuary are being examined randomly to find out if they are infected by the CDV whose outbreak had wiped out 30 per cent population of lions in Serengeti forest areas in East Africa in 1990s.

The mass deaths have jolted the government which has launched a number of measures including importing 300 shots of a vaccine from the US to protect the lions.

The government has also sought national as well as international help in saving the lions.

Canine distemper is a contagious viral disease that affects a wide variety of animal species, including dogs, coyotes, foxes, pandas and wolves. It attacks the respiratory, gastrointestinal and nervous systems of animals.

Forest department had launched a screening operation in Dalkhaniya range of Gir sanctuary to identify sick lions following the death of 11 big cats between September 12 and 19.

A total of 12 sick lions, which were caught and shifted to a rescue centre, have died since then, taking the toll to 23.



(Featured Image: News18)

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