Cancer in Wildlife

An interesting article was just published about the conservation ramifications of cancer in wildlife, including devil facial tumor disease in the Tasmanian devil, fibropapillomatosis in green turtles, and genital tract carcinoma in California sea lions. The article, which was published in the July 2009 issue of Nature Reviews Cancer (2009;9:517-526) and written by pathologists at the Wildlife Conservation Society, also addresses cancer in beluga whales and bottom-dwelling fish due to their exposure to anthropogenic chemicals. (Please note that the article might be access controlled.) The contagious cancer that is currently decimating the Tasmanian devil population is of particular concern since it has a mortality rate of 100% in affected animals. The authors state in grave terms that if disease modeling predictions are correct, “extinction is a real possibility.” Read more about this terrible disease on the ScienceDaily site.

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