World News Roundup: July 15, 2017

July 15, 2017
Kerry Lengyel

A rare pale white tiger was spotted in India, Chinese youth are showing more humane attitudes toward wildlife, a national bird flu vaccine program was instituted throughout China, and more in this week's world news roundup.

Why Is Big Data Important for Global Pet Health? (University of Liverpool)

Veterinary population health surveillance is severely lacking, but a new area of science is seeking to address this gap. “Health informatics allows anonymized electronic patient health records to be collected in large quantities and reused for research and surveillance,” says Dr. Alan Radford, academic lead at the University of Liverpool’s Small Animal Veterinary Surveillance Network (SAVSNET). In other words, real pet owners and their animals can “provide a new and desperately needed source of data, which can be repurposed to increase knowledge and improve care of companion animals.”

Animal Health Crucial to Africa’s Meat Production (Suid-Kaap Forum)

“Africa’s track record for animal protein production is dismal,” says an African veterinarian, a fact he attributes to the incorrect use of vaccines and medicines. “The conception rate in Africa is 35% to 40% for cattle, which means that, on average, six out of ten cows are eating grass without calving…. about 28% of calves die before weaning,” he says.

China Institutes National Bird Flu Vaccine Program (Reuters)

China’s program to vaccinate poultry against the H7N9 strain of bird flu, initially applied only in some provinces, will soon be carried out nationwide. “The step is part of a drive against bird flu after human cases of the virus spiked in the country last winter, claiming at least 268 lives since October.” The use of vaccines has been up for debate by Chinese farmers, who say vaccines do not prevent a virus from circulating and can mask its prevalence.

Hippo Massacre Rocks Niger (Fox News)

“A large number of hippopotamuses have been killed in the western part of Niger after villagers blamed them for destroying crops and livestock.” The locals took matters into their own hands and killed at least 27 hippos, even though this particular species of hippopotamus is protected. Hippos are dangerous creatures, though, killing about 3000 people every year.

Rare Pale Tiger Spotted In India (The Independent)

A photographer was in Tamil Nadu, India when he saw a wild pale tiger and decided to snap a photo. “The tiger is neither a proper white tiger, or an albino. It's thought to have a rare genetic mutation that causes its exact color.” Wildlife experts say this is one of the palest tigers they have ever seen or even heard about. One of the last sightings of the rare pale tiger was back in the 1950s.

Drones Monitor Animals at Indian National Park (FirstPost)

Drones are among 3 tactics officials are using to monitor animals and thwart poachers in the flood-ravaged area if Kaziranga National Park in Assam, India. Nearly 40% of the park is currently under water. “[Village defense parties] work round the clock. They not only protect the animals, they give us useful inputs about poachers,” say park officials. The drones are also being used to protect the animals from poachers as the animals retreat to higher ground.

Germany Donates 150,000 Euros to Support Food Safety (The Financial)

“Germany has contributed 150,000 euros in 2017 to help developing countries comply with international food safety, animal and plant health standards and therefore access agricultural markets more easily.” This donation will go toward helping developing countries improve sanitary and phytosanitary capacity to prevent the spread of animal and plant diseases, as well as enhance the export abilities of these countries.

Chinese Youth Show New Attitudes Toward Wildlife (National Geographic)

China, which has often been in the news for exploiting and illegally trading animals, is becoming more compassionate toward animals and other wildlife, thanks in part to its rapidly growing animal protection movement. In 1992, there was only one registered animal protection organization. Now, “at least 200 registered organizations are advocating for animal welfare and wildlife protection—not counting the hundreds of animal shelters and rescues that have sprung up.”

Hungarian Hospital Helps Injured Birds (Reuters)

“A unique veterinary hospital in eastern Hungary is saving the lives of wild birds, including many who sustain severe injuries during their long migratory journey to Africa to escape the harsh winters of northern Europe.” The hospital has been treating birds—including protected species such as cranes, storks, and eagles—since 1999. According to the hospital, around 40% of the birds end up returning to the wild.