RUNDU - In an isolated unpleasant incident, a total of 32 buffalo carcasses were picked between September and November in Bwabwata National Park, Kavango East Region. A subsequent investigation ascertained the beasts were killed by the highly contagious anthrax disease.
“The carcasses were tested positive for anthrax, and 31 carcasses were found in the Buffalo Core Area and one at Mahangu Core Area. All carcasses were burnt, and livestock vaccination as a preventative measure was done in the nearby areas,” said environmental spokesperson, Romeo Muyunda.
In October last year, Bwabwata National Park made global headlines after New Era broke the news of a mass death of hippos in the Park. During that time, a total of 243 carcasses consisting of 155 hippos, 86 buffalo and 2 impalas died from anthrax in the Park, and these carcasses were removed and disposed off during the operation that involved 37 personnel.
“The last mortality recorded and disposed off was of a buffalo on 3 December 2017,” Muyunda said.
Anthrax is a grim infectious disease caused by gram-positive, rod-shaped bacteria known as Bacillus anthracis. Although it is rare, people can get sick with anthrax if they come in contact with infected animals or contaminated animal products.
Muyunda assured tourists that they should not be scared or alarmed, as all the containment measures have been undertaken; hence, there is no risk to tourists.
Last month, there was a mass drowning of over 400 buffalos at Kabulabula in the Zambezi Region, where many people scrambled for the meat after they received a green light from officials. The beasts died in a stampede along the Chobe River, where they had jumped to escape a pride of lions.