A study reveals the cause of the sudden death of rabbits on Teide

The Cabildo of Tenerife, through the Natural Environment area, in collaboration with the University Institute of Animal Health and Food Safety (IUSA) of the University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, has completed an investigation through the Canarian Surveillance Network Wildlife Sanitary that concludes that the sudden death of several rabbits in the Teide National Park at the beginning of July was caused by the new variant of the rabbit hemorrhagic disease virus (RHDV-2).

The Minister of the Natural Environment, Blanca Pérez, points out that the Cabildo wants to “send a message of tranquility in the face of the videos and images published on social networks that generated alarm among the hunting sector” and points out that “the deaths (of a dozen) occurred “due to rabbit hemorrhagic disease, something that is common, and not due to other causes.”

When an animal gets sick or accumulates several diseases (viral, bacterial, parasitic), the immune systems sometimes do not respond enough to achieve survival.

In most cases, viral diseases, such as RDHV-2, put the resistance capacity of rabbits to the limit, explains the Cabildo.

Toxicological analyzes are carried out through the VIGIA program of the Government of the Canary Islands, which sends them to the SERTOX laboratory, and the final results are currently pending, but it is “highly unlikely” that a toxin could be the cause of the mortalities. , highlights Pérez.

Animal carcasses and skins can keep viruses potentially active for quite a long time and can spread the disease to other living animals. For this reason it is very important to remove the carcasses of dead rabbits from the field and not translocate them clandestinely, he adds.

To guarantee the sustainability of future wild rabbit populations on the island, the collaboration of all citizens with the administration is essential, notifying the places where animals are found so that their correct collection and removal can be carried out, demands the Cabildo.

In addition, hunting societies can also contribute to the management of populations by providing data and each capture should be seen as scientific data that helps maintain and improve the different wildlife populations in Tenerife.

The Cabildo details that rabbit hemorrhagic disease is a highly contagious virus with high mortality for this species of lagoforms because immunity against the classic form of this hemorrhagic disease (RHDV-1) does not protect against this new variant. (RHDV-2).

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