OSHANA SHEENGETE - An elderly 71-year-old farmer from Oshana Sheengete in Oshikoto Region lost almost half of his herd of cattle after the animals consumed water from a rarely used well.
The well is suspected to contain toxins.
Naboth Simon, the farmer, said the incident occurred on Monday afternoon shortly after his cattle drank the water from a well at Onamishu, an area situated 13 kilometres from the cattle post.
“We herded the animals back to the cattle post but hardly after four kilometres we started noticing unusual behaviour as they changed their movements and began scattering. The next thing we saw they were falling, and upon close inspection we only found water coming out from the nose and mouth. That is how they all died,” said a distraught Simon as he narrated his loss.
Although there are several wells at Onamishu where villagers draw water for both human and livestock consumption, they suspect one disused well is contaminated with deadly toxins.
Speaking at his farm on Tuesday as they were skinning the cattle, Simon said they do not normally draw water from that specific well, however on Monday they decided to get water from the well as there was a lot of livestock and they wanted to finish watering their animals on time. “This is the first time we are experiencing something of this nature in our area, therefore our only suspicion is that the water from that specific well might be poisoned. They have been drinking from other wells for the past three months but no single case of this nature happened,” said Simon.
Some residents of Onamishu also informed New Era upon inspection at the wells that three goats from the surroundings died on Tuesday after drinking water from the same disused well.
Simon, who depends solely on farming, said the loss is estimated at close to N$200 000. Adding salt to the wound, Simon was informed by the state veterinarian that the meat is not fit for human consumption, hence he was ordered to burn and bury all the carcasses.
According to the state veterinary doctors from Omuthiya that attended to the incident to asses and collect samples for testing, there is a possibility the water contains toxic materials, especially high volumes of nitrite substances.
“The water also has salt, so that is another possibility because when taken in high quantity it becomes harmful for the animals,” said Dr Reinhold Haimbodi.
Dr Frenada Haufiku, another veterinarian, said it is very difficult to investigate such cases as there are many factors involved. She hinted that the animals might have grazed on harmful substances prior to drinking the water. “If that is the case, the redistribution of such toxic harmful substance to other parts of the body becomes prevalent.
So that is why we are telling people not to consume meat of animals that die in such a manner as there are various risks involved, which pose a threat to humans,” said Haufiku, adding that they will fully pronounce themselves after receiving the lab results.
2018-10-18 09:08:10 5 months ago