The south Andean deer (Hippocamelus bisulcus), also known as the Chilean huemul, is such a cultural icon in Chile that it is featured on their coat of arms. Despite this, the species is the most endangered deer in Latin America, with only around 2500 remaining in the wild. For several years, our local staff have been collaborating with other researchers to try to identify the cause of a worrying new foot disease in huemul that causes intense pain, inflammation and partial or complete loss of the hooves and, in many cases, death of the animal. Finally the team has identified the likely cause as a parapoxvirus, possibly originating in cattle, and can begin to identify and implement solutions to the disease.
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Recent study led by WCS detects virus that could represent a new threat for the conservation of huemul
Huemul Image: A Vila © WCS