Disease

Mongolia: Peste des Petits Ruminants

The international pledge to eradicate a devastating livestock disease affecting mostly sheep and goats has taken on new urgency in the wake of a mass die-off of a rare Mongolian antelope.

Some 900 Saiga antelopes (Saiga tatarica mongolica) – almost 10 percent of the sub-species’ population – have been found dead in Mongolia’s western Khovd province. Samples taken from carcasses indicated the animals were positive for Peste des Petits Ruminants (PPR), a highly fatal viral disease with plague-like impact on domestic sheep and goat herds, killing up to 90 percent of infected animals.

Saiga in Mongolia are not truly migratory but are certainly nomadic with an extensive range of about 130 000 square kilometers with seasonal movements in autumn for breeding and early spring for calving. The species, was once widely spread across the Eurasian steppes, is classified as critically endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

Mongolia reported its first-ever outbreak of PPR in September 2016, when sheep and goat deaths were linked to an extension of PPR cases occurring in China.

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