Tigers Are Up, Gorillas Are Down

Gorilla Tigers

After conducting numerous government campaigns to save the tiger, wild tigers in India appear to be making a comeback in the battle against extinction. Meanwhile, Ebola is wiping out chimps and gorillas left, right, and center.

India says it now has almost a third more tigers than it did four years ago, citing a number of government initiatives to streamline tiger conservation as the reason behind the increase.

“Our latest estimate today is that India has 70% of the world’s tiger population and we have now 2,226 tigers presently in 47 tiger reserves [up from 1,706 in 2011] and this is a great achievement. It is a net increase of 30% over the last estimation,” Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar said in a statement Monday.

Javadekar said India was willing to donate tiger cubs to the international community and play a key role in global tiger conservation, asserting that tiger conservation practices that had proved successful in India could be adopted elsewhere.

Great job India! Now if only they could put this much effort into reducing their number of rape cases…

But for every uplifting animal story, there’s another one that will bring you back down.

Turns out the Ebola virus is not just a threat to residents of Dallas, but is also wiping out chimps and gorillas. Current estimates suggest a third of the world’s gorillas and chimpanzees have died from Ebola since the 1990s. The virus has no known cure and is as deadly for great apes as it is for humans, with mortality rates as high as 95% for gorillas and 77% for chimpanzees.

Fortunately the solution is straightforward: vaccination. The only catch? There are only experimental vaccinations available and medical research on apes is typically banned or highly restricted because of their cognitive similarity to humans. Apparently vaccinating an endangered species with an untested vaccine isn’t “ethical”. Plus, getting gorillas to wait patiently in a doctor’s office would prove “too difficult”.

But it’s great news about those tigers, eh?

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