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Wildlife Conservation Society documents pneumonia outbreak in endangered markhor
Date:1/5/2012

If they didn't have enough to worry about from dodging poachers, snow leopards, and landslides in Central Asia's rugged mountains, a population of endangered markhora majestic wild goat specieshas contracted pneumonia, detected for the first time by the Wildlife Conservation Society and partners in Tajikistan and France.

Markhor are known for their impressive corkscrew horns that can reach nearly five feet in length, and their spectacular climbing ability that enables them to climb cliffsand despite their large size, even treesto feed. The pneumonia outbreak, which occurred in Tajikistan during September and October of 2010, is believed to have killed at least 65 markhorsas much as 20 percent of the population remaining in the country. Fewer than 2,500 markhor exist across their entire range.

The study appears in the December issue of the journal Emerging Infectious Diseases. Authors include Stphane Ostrowski of the Wildlife Conservation Society; Francois Thiaucourt, Luca Manso-Silvn, and Virginie Dupuy of Centre de Coopration International en Recherche Agronomique pour le Dveloppement of Montpellier, France; Mulojon Amirbekov, Abdurahmon Mahmadshoev, and Orom Ziyoev of Tajikistan's Ministry of Agriculture; Dustmurod Vahobov of the Tajikistan's Academy of Agricultural Sciences; and Stefan Michel of Tajikistan's Nature Protection Team. The work was supported in part by the German federal agency for international cooperation (Deutsche Gesellschaft fr Internationale Zusammenarbeit).

The authors of the study believe that the markhor may have contracted the disease from domestic goats. Raising goats in habitats used by markhor is a necessity for local communities with few other livelihood options. This cohabitation increases the risk of transmission of infectious agents from domestic stock to wildlife.

The authors believe that a newly recorded pathogen in markhor may be responsible for the pneumonia outbreak. The ca
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Contact: John Delaney
jdelaney@wcs.org
718-220-3275
Wildlife Conservation Society
Source:Eurekalert  

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