Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 16.djvu/21

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11
THE DISEASES OF WILD ANIMALS.

there must have seemed no alteration; and, remembering what instants our own lives are, in a like comparison with the uncounted ages of the sun's history, we may well reckon that our generation shall see no change.

In the little span which is allowed us, however, we will try to learn something more of that source of light, life, and power of which we are materially the creatures; and, if we can leave a knowledge which will not die with ourselves, feel that we have left also the record of a something in us "which owes no homage to the sun."

 
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THE DISEASES OF WILD ANIMALS.[1]
By Professor JEAN VILAIN.

SOME naturalists have asserted that wild animals, when in a state of liberty, are almost entirely free from disease, arid that the latter afflicts them only when in captivity. I know that this is entirely erroneous, and it can be proved that captive wild animals are more exempt from ailments than those roaming at large.

While First Surgeon of the Thirty-first Regiment of the Line, then stationed at Alabera, in Algeria, I dissected the carcasses of about fifty lions. The lungs of twenty of them were affected; one half of them were almost gone, showing that consumption is prevalent among the lions of the Sahara and the Sahel.

At the Jardin des Plantes, here in Paris, seven lions have died since 1869. All of them were born here. I dissected them, and found that their lungs were entirely healthy. To what was the difference due? They received their food regularly, and were carefully protected from inclement weather, while the lions in Africa had to go without food for days, had to inhale the sandy air of the desert, and were frequently drenched by terrible rains.

There is at the Jardin des Plantes a wolf from the Ardennes. He was caught when about six years old. He was suffering from cough, and at one time we thought he was dying. He hawked and spat, and was always sullen and morose. Often he abstained from food for several days. At last we chloroformed him, and examined his throat. He was found to be suffering from nasal catarrh in its most aggravated form. Under proper medical treatment he recovered rapidly. Nine wolves born at the Jardin never showed the slightest sign of disease.

M. Jacquemart, the famous Indian hunter, often told me that he had seen tigers spitting blood, which exhausted them so that they could be approached within a few feet with impunity.

  1. Translated from the "Revue Zoõlogique."