Thursday, April 01, 2004


Turns out the introduction of the African antelope known as the oryx (Oryx beisa) to New Mexico may have had unintended consequences, according to this story from the Billings Gazette. The beasts were released on the White Sands Missile Range back in the 1960s as an option for hunters. Now analysis of blood samples show that some of the animals are carrying antibodies for three never-before seen viruses, and others tested positive for malignant catarrhal fever (.pdf), a disease that is deadly to deer and elk. Scientists have yet to determine whether the pathogens afflicting the oryxes can be transmitted to other organisms.

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