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Virus scare: Take urgent measures, Centre to tiger range states

Last Updated: Tuesday, January 14, 2014 - 04:03

New Delhi: Concerned over the spread of a deadly virus common among dogs, the Centre today asked all tiger range states to take precautionary measures to protect the big cats.

In a "most urgent" advisory, the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) said that the country`s wild tiger population is under "threat" from Canine Distemper Virus and asked the states to deal it as a "top most priority".
It asked chief wildlife wardens of all tiger range states to launch a "special drive" in collaboration with the state veterinary departments for "sensitising" field officials of tiger reserves and veterinary officers of districts concerned.

The advisory issued by NTCA member secretary Rajesh Gopal said it is most important to create a "barrier" through prophylactic immunisation of dogs or cats in the buffer areas of tiger reserves.

"During post-mortem, blood/tissue samples should be collected from carnivores for subsequent examination," it said and directed all the 17 states with tiger population to send such samples to Wildlife Institute of India and Indian Veterinary Research Institution.

According to the NTCA, the disease is incurable, causing high fever, watery eyes, lethargy, vomiting, diarrhoea, progressing to seizures, paralysis and death.
Infected tigers usually display strange behaviour, with disorientation, inability to predate, besides loss of fear which lead them to walk into human inhabited areas.

India is one of the 13 tiger range countries and holds over half the world`s tiger population. The tiger census report released in 2011 says the population of big cats in the country is 1,706.

The government has always made tiger protection a priority and Project Tiger, launched in the early 1970s, has put the endangered tiger on a definite path to recovery.

First Published: Tuesday, January 14, 2014 - 04:03
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