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Update from December Rense Show

situation on Great Ape Die Off

Date: 16 Dec 2005
From: William Karesh <>

Field teams just out of forest. After thorough investigation, no ape
carcasses found and no evidence of animal mortalities. Initial reports were
thought to be likely due to poaching.

William B Karesh, DVM, Director
Field Veterinary Program
Wildlife Conservation Society
2300 Southern Blvd
Bronx, NY 10460 USA


Date: Fri 16 Dec 2005 6:39 AM
From: Patrick Bastiaensen <>

As far as we know, the first mortalities in camels were reported in
northern Mali in mid-November 2005.

A first investigation by the vet services here revealed 55 mortalities, of
which 33 were in females. The cases appeared to have been hyper-acute,
without distinct disease signs.

The treatment of pastures with insecticides is now suggested as a possible
cause of these deaths. These acaricide treatments have been conducted
within the framework of the control programme against desert locusts, which
devastated the agricultural harvest in the Sahel area last year.

It is unclear why cattle and small ruminants did not suffer the same
mortality rates. I'll keep you informed of the final outcome of the ongoing

Patrick Bastiaensen
Regional Coordination Unit for West & Central Africa,
African Union - InterAfrican Bureau for Animal Resources
Bamako, Mali

[With thanks to Patrick for this clarification. - Mod.MHJ]

[see also:
Undiagnosed deaths, camels - Mali: RFI 20051212.3582]


A ProMED-mail post
ProMED-mail, a program of the
International Society for Infectious Diseases

Sponsored in part by Elsevier, publisher of
Infectious Disease Gateway Alert

Date: 14 Dec 2005
From: Joe Shea <>
Source: The American Reporter [edited]

Officials have closed Costa Rica's Corcovado National Park, a prime tourist
attraction, because animals there are dying. The dead include monkeys,
toucans, and sloths. The last time monkeys started dying on such a massive
scale in the park was in the 1950s, said Edwardo Carrillo, the head
researcher in the investigative team that is looking into the deaths. The
culprit then was yellow fever, he said. But yellow fever does not affect birds.

Carillo said that perhaps as many as half of the monkey population at the
park have died. The location is a peninsula in south west Costa Rica in
Central America. The park is 110 000 acres and contains 4 species of monkeys.

Initially, officials tried to [downplay] the situation. In signing the
order for the park's closure on 3 Dec 2005, director Alvaro Ugalde would
say no more than that animals were dying, though he didn't know how many.
As a result, the park was being closed until officials found out why, he
said. The closing got very little publicity.

A team of biologists and health investigators took specimens and blood
samples from the dead creatures and sent them to Texas and elsewhere for
examination. Results are not back yet.

Federico Solorzano, who works with the Fundacion Corcovado, a promotional
group, advanced one possible explanation. Costa Rica's May-to-November
rainy season has just ended. It was nastier than most because of backlash
from the record Atlantic hurricane season. Rains devastated communities
throughout the Pacific as far south as the Osa Peninsula on which the park
sits. Those rains may have also ruined the development of the fruit that
monkeys and birds feast on, Solorzano speculated. The animals may be
starving to death.

Mario Gonzalez, a 70 year old farmer on the Osa [Peninsula], agreed that
starvation may be the case. In his 50 years on the Osa, there had been
seasons where a larger quantity of rain had fallen, but never with such
force, he said. In addition, he noted that it seemed as if animals were
venturing out of the park more frequently this year, maybe in search of
food, he ventured. Carrillo, after visiting the Osa Peninsula, said that
although toucans had been dying off the birds have not been dying at such a
high rate as that of their tree-swinging counterparts. When pressed, he
wouldn't estimate a number or a percentage of dead birds.

Dr Maria del Rocio Saenz Madrigal, the nation's health minister, noted that
migratory birds come to the area, including some from Canada. She said
there was no increase in illnesses among humans, according to those health
workers operating clinics in the area. Many types of illnesses and viral
diseases can be spread by mosquitoes and other insects, [both] plentiful in
the rain forest.

The research team is made up of 8 experts from Costa Rica's health and
environmental ministries as well as the Universidad de Costa Rica and the
Universidad Nacional. Carrillo said they should know by 20 Dec 2005 what is
killing all the animals. Though it would seem that the closure of the park
would be devastating for tourism, hotel owners weren't reporting many
cancellations or early departures. The high tourist season is just
beginning in balmy Costa Rica.

If officials find out what is killing animals before 20 Dec, and that cause
is non-threatening to humans, then the park will open back up, Solorzano
said. But until then, the park, which is known for its diversity of plants
and animals, will remain closed to the public.

The park is a refuge for many kinds of wildlife. Tourists face primitive
conditions and frequently camp on the ground. But the peninsula also is a
haven for fishermen and surfers, plus dolphin and whale watchers.

[byline: Jesse Froehling]

Joe Shea
Editor-in-Chief, The American Reporter

[It seems unusual for such a variety of animals to be dying. Although it
could be a disease, starvation also makes sense. If anyone has some
authoritative information on this situation, we would appreciate receiving
it. - Mod.TG]

At this point in time it appears that there may not be an infectious disease killing Great Apes. 

The area where the Great Apes had been reported dying was the site of an Ebola outbreak in early 2005.  This fact did worry researchers when initial reports of a die off were learned.

It now appears that there is no disease involved. 

I will post updates as data is made public

Please visit my Emerging Infectious Diseases Message Board at:

Zhan le Devlesa tai sastimasa
Go with God and in Good Health

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