Anthrax has been detected in dead hippos floating in the Okavango River, officials in Botswana said on Wednesday, after more than 100 of the animals were suspected to have been killed by the disease in neighbouring Namibia.
News from the worldwide media, such as “New China” have reported that the Botswana officials – the ministry of environment, wildlife and tourism to be more exactly – have started their investigation regarding this problem. But in the less than two weeks since then the infection has spread rapidly, killing around 109 more hippos. It was confirmed by the ministry of environment that the hippos died of anthrax. “Once we have the results of the cause of death than we can decide on the way forward”, Shifeta added.
Scores of hippos, and a number of dead water buffaloes, were filmed scattered around the park, lying on their sides or backs as vultures circled above their carcasses in Bwabwata National Park, located in a northeastern strip of Namibian land between Angola and Botswana.
The ministry’s spokesperson, Romeo Muyunda, yesterday said in a statement that the ministry and the veterinary services department of the ministry of agriculture were working together for solutions to contain the outbreak. The ministry believes that other wildlife species will not be endangered by the bacteria.
Environment and Tourism Minister Pohamba Shifeta said in a statement that his ministry has started the immediate removal of the dead animals from the river and burning them in an efforts to contain the outbreak.
According to the statistics published by the ministry, Namibia is home to between 3,000 and 7,000 hippos that are endemic to Zambezi and the Kavango regions.