Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons
The Saiga antelope—which is easily identified by its flexible nose—once ranged from Mongolia to Europe. Today, the critically endangered species survives in only a single small area of Russia and three areas in Kazakhstan.
Though these areas are now protected, the surviving population—which numbers less than 50,000—still faces considerable threats including a bacteria capable of wiping out entire herds at a time.Recently, an epidemic of pasteurellosis, caused by a bacterial infection, led to the death of at least 440 individuals in Kazakhstan. The infection, which attacks the lungs and intestines, can be treated with antibiotics, but requires rapid identification and action.
Pasteurellosis is thought to have been the cause of an outbreak that killed 12,000 animals last year.
Kazakh conservation officials are currently investigating this most recent incident to identify the exact culprit and vectors for transmission.
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