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Sorry for the presumably naive question, I'm not a biologist and searched for that but didn't find a clear answer to this question.

What I would like to know if deadly infectious diseases are common also among free animals (I mean living free in nature, not in captivity)? Therefore I'm NOT referring to the transmission from animals to humans like covid, bird or swine flu, rather infections that have caused several deaths among animals living in a natural environment without affecting humans? Is that something quite normal in the animal kingdom too? Presumably also before the appearance of humans? Or does it not happen? Or is it rare but exists? Eventually a link to some article or paper on this would be welcome.

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  • $\begingroup$ Just as a brief response, yes, it happens all the time. There are endemic infectious diseases in wild populations all over the planet. We are definitely not unique in that. Here is an interesting BBC story about some of them from several years ago. $\endgroup$
    – MattDMo
    Dec 21, 2020 at 13:09
  • $\begingroup$ As far as scholarly articles go, here is a collection of them from Acta Veterinaria Scandinavica on BioMedCentral. $\endgroup$
    – MattDMo
    Dec 21, 2020 at 13:15

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