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Dog day for lions......

Monday 24th October 2011

In 1994, 1000 lions died in the Serengeti due to canine distemper. The disease still continues to affect lion populations in Kenya and Tanzania, communicated from domestic dogs to lions via intermediate hosts like hyenas.

This clip was filmed in the Kalahari Transfrontier Park between Botswana and South Africa. The young male lion is shown having a "grand mal" seizure typical of a canine distemper infection. The commentary on the clip reports that only one of five lions in the group survived, but that is unconfirmed. But what is confirmed is that canine distemper among lions is not confined to eastern Africa anymore. It is a spreading threat to all lion populations.

LionAid has long cautioned that lion populations are extremely fragile. 95% of lions in many populations are infected with Feline Immunodeficiency Virus that destroys their immune competence over time and renders them susceptible to domestic animal borne diseases like canine distemper and bovine tuberculosis. In South Africa, the latter is threatening to destroy one of Africa's major remaining lion populations in Kruger Park.

Yet lions are still being sport hunted at an unsustainable rate by those who falsely claim they will thus be conserved. When LionAid eliminates sport hunting by disallowing trophy imports into the EU and by corollary elsewhere, disease issues will be high on our following agenda to significantly address the conservation concerns of African lions.

Posted by Pieter Kat at 21:57

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