Fe­line Aids risk to Morvern wild­cats

The Oban Times - - News -

THE en­dan­gered Scot­tish wild­cat could be fur­ther threat­ened by a deadly virus known to cause the cat ver­sion of Aids, re­search has found.

Ex­perts have iso­lated two cases of Fe­line Im­mun­od­e­fi­ciency Virus (FIV) from cats with a mixed do­mes­tic-wild­cat an­ces­try.

One of the cases was de­tected in an area that has been iden­ti­fied as a pri­or­ity zone for wild­cat con­ser­va­tion.

Although FIV is com­mon in feral cats, these are the first known cases of the virus af­fect­ing hy­brid cats in a wild­cat pri­or­ity area.

Wildlife ex­perts from the Univer­sity of Ed­in­burgh’s Royal (Dick) School of Vet­eri­nary Stud­ies and Na­tional Mu­se­ums Scot­land made the dis­cov­ery af­ter car­ry­ing out post mortem ex­am­i­na­tions on 23 feral and hy­brid cats from around Scot­land.

A long-haired tabby found dead in a barn in Morvern in the Western High­lands was one of the an­i­mals to test pos­i­tive for the virus. Morvern is one of six places iden­ti­fied by Scot­tish Wild­cat Ac­tion last year as a pri­or­ity area for wild­cat con­ser­va­tion.

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