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[E]xperts at the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) conference in Brazil said “there is growing evidence that the H5N1 virus can infect and harm big cats like leopards and tigers, small cats such as civets and other mammals like martens, weasels, badgers and otters.”
Since late 2003, the H5N1 strain of avian flu has killed more than 100 people and in recent weeks has spread with alarming speed into Africa, Europe and Asia.
It has killed or led to the culling of some 200 million birds globally.
It also has been detected in a marten, a weasel-like mammal, in Germany, and there have been reported infections in cats in Germany and a dog in Azerbaijan.
In December 2003, two tigers and two leopards, fed on fresh chicken carcasses, died unexpectedly at a zoo in Thailand. Subsequent investigation identified H5N1 in tissue samples.