Odzala National Park is also home to other threatened species, including the endangered chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes), the endangered African forest elephant (Loxodonta africana cyclotis), and the vulnerable lion (Panthera leo). The massive 13,600 square kilometer park sits in northeastern Congo, near the Gabonese border to the west and Cameroon to the north.
Scientists say multiple courses of action should be taken immediately:
- Field researchers already in the region, from groups including Ecofac, Wildlife Conservation Society and the University of Rennes, need greater human and financial resources to enhance monitoring in the park, in order to determine which species, if any, have been affected by Ebola, and in which part of the park they reside.
- After affected regions have been identified, create geographical barriers, such as making rivers impassable, to decrease the likelihood of any further spread.
- Increase funding for Ebola vaccines for the great apes, which have already proven successful in monkeys and are showing greater promise in humans.
- If Ebola outbreak is confirmed, immediately warn all people living in the area to avoid handling dead animals.
Ebola hemorrhagic fever is a severe, often-fatal disease that affects humans and non-human primates, such as monkeys, gorillas and chimpanzees. Researchers believe the disease, which first emerged in 1976, is zoonotic, or animal-borne. Many scientists believe it is spread through the butchering and handling of primate bushmeat. The disease has been confirmed only in six African nations: the Democratic Republic of Congo, the Republic of Congo, Gabon, Sudan, Cte d'Ivoire, and Uganda.
"This is clearly bad news, but it is not too late to act," said Christophe Boesch, Professor at the Max Planck Institute in Leipzig, Germany. "Although it wPage: 1 2 3 Related biology news :1
Contact: Cristina Giacomo
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