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Likely cause of mass Saiga die-off revealed
Saiga are one of the most threatened species on the planet.

RVC professor presents his latest findings

A mystery illness that wiped out more than half the world's population of Saiga antelopes this year was most likely caused by haemorraghic septicaemia, according to the RVC's Professor Richard Kock.

The mass die-off in Kazakhstan is said to have begun in May this year, when tens of thousands of animals were found dead in just a matter of days. Now, the number of affected animals is said to be 250,000.

Saiga are one of the most threatened species on the planet, having suffered a 95 per cent decline in 15 years.

Following the mass deaths in May, the United Nations Environment Programme Convention on Migratory Species called an emergency conference to help restore the population.

Prof Kock was one of the first vets on the scene when the die-off began. Alongside a team supported by the National Environment Research Council, he is working with those in Kazakhstan to help understand these catastrophic deaths.

Presenting his findings, Prof Kock confirmed haemorraghic septicaemia to be the most likely culprit. But the question remains, what triggered this event across 160,000 square kilometres on the Kazakh steppe?

Prof Kock will continue to work alongside numerous organisations and authorities, providing expert opinions on how best to support and rebuild the Saiga population.

Image credit: Seilov - BY 3.0

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Endangered turtles rescued from smugglers

News Story 1
 A group of endangered turtles have found a new home at London Zoo after being rescued from smugglers.

The four big-headed turtles arrived at the zoo at the end of last year, after smugglers tried to illegally import them to Canada, labelled as toys.

One of the turtles, named Lady Triệu after a Vietnamese warrioress, has moved to a new exhibit in the zoo’s reptile house. She is the only one of her kind in a UK zoo.

Big-headed turtles have such large heads that they cannot pull them back into their shells. To compensate, they have armour plating from head to tail and a very sharp beak to fend off predators. They are ranked number 18 on ZSL’s EDGE of Existence reptile list, which puts threatened species at the forefront of conservation action. Image © ZSL  

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RCVS Fellowship board chair elections get underway

Voting for the 2019 RCVS Fellowship Chair election is now underway. This year four candidates are standing for election, including Dr Robert Huey, Professor John Innes, Professor Liz Mossop and Professor Ian Ramsey.

The Chair will attend and preside over Fellowship meetings and take the lead in consolidating the Fellowship’s position as the learned society of the RCVS. Fellows will receive an email containing a link to the online voting form, as well as candidates’ details and manifestos. Voting closes at 5pm on Thursday, 5 September.