Focal Palatine Erosion
Is an oral dysfunction associated with a severe dental malocclusion discovered in captive Cheetahs, and subsequently found in some of the other large felids both in the wild and in captivity. It was first identified by Fitch & Fagan in their article published in the journal of ZOO BIOLOGY in 1982. The search for the exact etiology of this debilitating disorder has been a complex, multi-faceted and on-going quest ever since. In many respects, Cheetahs are a very unique species which have survived at least two massive die-offs in the past, and appear to be rapidly approaching a third. Their genetic diversity has been shown by O’Brien et al, to be similar to that of 100 generations of inbred lab-rat to say the least – severely depauperate. According to the International Cheetah Studbook, their numbers are rapidly approaching a critical point of no return . . . . . or “statistically irrecoverable extinction.” Many groups and individuals are involved in the search for the factors which may prevent and/or reverse this trend. The Colyer Institute has been actively involved in this process since 1982.