A debilitating digestive condition in captive red panda Ailurus fulgens with animal welfare implications for the global population
Keywords:Ailurus fulgens, GSMP, red panda, species management, zoos
Investigations into the possible cause of a recurring, debilitating digestive condition in a male red panda Ailurus fulgens held at Perth Zoo, and a subsequent global survey in 2012 of 76 institutions managing the species, indicate that similar signs are widespread amongst the global zoo population of red pandas. Neither medication nor dietary interventions appear to provide any significant relief for affected animals. There is a strong bias in the geographic distribution of affected animals (in terms of the country of their birth), suggesting that there may be either a genetic basis for or some factors associated with early-life dietary regime affecting the prevalence and current distribution of animals exhibiting the condition. The condition warrants further investigation which will inform future decisions on whether captive breeding for release of red pandas should include affected animals.
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