Anthrax kills 30 hippos in S. Africa's Kruger park

Nov 06, 2012
A bird sits atop a tree at Kruger National Park in Suoth Africa. An outbreak of anthrax has killed at least 30 hippopotamus in the famed wildlife reserve, the country's parks authority said.

An outbreak of anthrax has killed at least 30 hippopotamus in South Africa's famed Kruger National Park wildlife reserve, the country's parks authority said on Tuesday.

Officials believe the deaths are linked to a flare-up of the highly infectious disease in the giant park which has killed 45 roan antelope since August.

"Vultures or blowflies could have eaten the flesh of the roan antelope and then went to drink, and that is how the hippos contracted anthrax. That's the theory at present," said South African National Parks (SANParks) spokesman Ike Phaahla.

Post mortems of 30 hippo carcasses have been linked to the , which can also be fatal to humans. Six more dead animals were found at the weekend and are being examined.

"Gradually we've been finding them," Phaahla said.

Kruger is home to Africa's "Big Five"—rhino, lion, elephant, leopard and Cape Buffalo.

Animals such as lions could be affected if they eat the contaminated flesh of dead animals.

"Obviously we are worried about" other species, Phaahla said.

Anthrax outbreaks naturally occur, usually in the dry season, in the northern part of the park, which has seen eight major flare-ups since 1960. Some 2,000 animals died in 2010.

Vultures are immune to anthrax but spread the disease by eating infected dead animals and then defecating in water where they drink or bathe.

Outbreaks are linked to high , according to SANParks. Previous outbreaks have seen the disease naturally tail off after the arrival of rains and when animal numbers are lower.

Explore further: Giant anteaters kill two hunters in Brazil

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Rare anthrax case diagnosed in Minnesota

Aug 10, 2011

Minnesota health officials said Tuesday they are investigating a rare case of anthrax inhalation linked to exposure to the dreaded bacteria in the natural environment.

S.African rangers kill poachers in Kruger park

Jan 12, 2012

Authorities have killed two suspected poachers, arrested two others and found 11 rhino carcasses in the same area of South Africa's Kruger National Park in one week, a spokesman said Thursday.

Hornless rhino carcasses found in S.Africa

Nov 19, 2010

South African wildlife officials have found 18 rhino carcasses dumped by poachers in a remote area with their horns removed, a spokesman for the northern province of Limpopo said Friday.

Georgia sees more anthrax cases

Jun 22, 2012

(AP) — At least 30 people in Georgia have contracted anthrax this year, prompting authorities to step up safety measures, medical officials said Friday.

Recommended for you

Seeds keep vital much longer when stored without oxygen

3 hours ago

If seed breeding companies, gene banks and the Svalbard Global Seed Vault on Spitsbergen should store plant seeds under oxygen-poor conditions, it would be possible to store them for much longer while still ...

Native species may be hindering fox control efforts

3 hours ago

Native species interfering with ground distributed baits used to control red foxes in south west Western Australia may mean the baits are not available to the target species, a Murdoch University study has ...

Giant anteaters kill two hunters in Brazil

Jul 26, 2014

Giant anteaters in Brazil have killed two hunters in separate incidents, raising concerns about the animals' loss of habitat and the growing risk of dangerous encounters with people, researchers said.

Study indicates large raptors in Africa used for bushmeat

Jul 24, 2014

Bushmeat, the use of native animal species for food or commercial food sale, has been heavily documented to be a significant factor in the decline of many species of primates and other mammals. However, a new study indicates ...

User comments : 0