Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Human Virus Killing Endangered Chimps

Efforts to counter poaching and habitat loss often focus on eco-tourism and research as sustainable, economically viable alternatives for the protection of flora and fauna, but Current Biology reports that tourists and scientists may be killing them off in different ways.

Data from chimpanzees that died in several respiratory disease outbreaks, at the Tai Chimpanzee Research Project in Africa, reveals the presence of two human viruses.

Molecular analyses suggest the particular viral strains were imported from as far away as Brasil, Asia and North America which makes researchers and eco-tourists the most likely source of infection.

Controls must now be put in place to ensure the chimpanzees aren’t destroyed by the action designed to save them.

Read the entire article.

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