Pathological findings in select confiscated exotic wildlife in a wildlife rescue center in the Philippines.
The recent decade has recorded an alarming global increase in unsustainable and illegal wildlife trades. One of the largest illicit wildlife confiscations in the Philippines was made on 12 March 2018, which involved more than 300 exotic wild birds and marsupials from Papua New Guinea. Despite dedicated veterinary care, progressive disease morbidity and mortality were observed in the confiscated animals after transfer to the Biodiversity Management Bureau-Wildlife Rescue Center in Quezon City, Manila. Necropsy and histopathological study of the dead animals during purposive sampling revealed that aspergillosis was the leading cause of death in the wild birds examined (n=5). Meanwhile, mortality events in the confiscated marsupials (n=2) may be attributed to chronic starvation and capture myopathy. Disease outbreaks are inevitable consequences of keeping wildlife species in stressful and compromised environments, as condoned by illegal wildlife trading or transit hubs. Clearly, illegal wildlife trades present major animal welfare issues, threaten the biodiversity, and may pose significant public health risks due to zoonotic diseases.