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'Report of Gir lions affected by deadly virus incorrect'

PPRV is the same virus that in 1994 killed 1,000 lions one-third of the Serengeti population.

Press Trust Of India

Updated:May 16, 2013, 10:32 PM IST
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'Report of Gir lions affected by deadly virus incorrect'
PPRV is the same virus that in 1994 killed 1,000 lions one-third of the Serengeti population.

New Delhi: Gujarat government on Thursday denied a media report that Gir lions are affected by the same virus which had wiped out 30 per cent of the lion population in Tanzania's Serengeti National Park in the 1990s. The news report, which appeared today, stated that scientists in India have recently found Pestes des Petits Ruminants Virus (PPRV) to be behind the death of a lion in Gir the first such incident ever.

PPRV is the same virus that in 1994 killed 1,000 lions one-third of the Serengeti population, the report said. The Gujarat government maintained that this report is incorrect.

"The study on which this news is based is done by the scientists of IVRI on PPRV virus in tissues from an Asiatic lion. In this study, PPRV, which is very common in sheeps and goats, was detected in frozen pooled tissue samples from a dead Asiatic lion. The samples were negative for canine distemper virus (CDV)," the Gujarat government said in a statement.

The authorities further said CDV was responsible for the cause of death of lions in Serengeti and that there is no reason to worry about the Asiatic lion. "In the news item, there is mix up of PPRV with CDV," the statement said. The Gir lions were shifted to Madhya Pradesh after a court order which said all lions should not be kept in one sanctuary as any disease affecting some of them may wipe out the whole population. However, this order was issued as a preventive measure and not due to any epidemic.

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