An epidemic of peste des petits ruminants (PPR), a globally emergent viral disease, is ravaging Mongolian wildlife. In January 2017, a mass die-off of Mongolian saiga antelope was linked to PPR. The infection reduced an already-threatened population from 10,000 to 6,000 individuals. This is the first time PPR-caused illness and death has been seen in freeranging antelope anywhere in the world. Rapid response teams will survey wild ungulates in the area, including Mongolian saiga, goitered gazelle, ibex and Argali sheep. The survey will help researchers determine where and how the disease is spreading so that interventions, such as livestock vaccination, can be targeted to help stop the spread of the disease and minimize the impacts on wild hoofed mammals in the area. This investigation is critical to designing effective control strategies for both livestock and wildlife to eradicate PPR, and prevent serious long-term, socio-economic and biodiversity repercussions. This study is supported by the Foundation's Betty White Wildlife Rapid Response Fund.
Grant amount awarded
Wildlife Conservation Society
Amanda Elizabeth Fine, VMD, PhD