Posts Tagged With: tuberclulosis

Poaching not the only Threat Looming in the Bush

As if poaching and habitat encroachment weren’t enough, South African wildlife also face the threat of Tuberculosis. First diagnosed in African Buffalo, it then spread to  baboons, lions and bushpig. More recently it has also effected  leopards, *cheetahs, *wild dogs, honey badgers, mongooses, warthogs, kudu, nyala, bushbuck and *rhinos. (*endangered)

Buffalos rest in the shade at the Lake Nakuru national park in Kenya's Rift Valley, 160km (99 miles) west of the capital Nairobi, December 18, 2009. World leaders worked through the early hours to try and beat a Friday deadline for a deal on cutting emissions and helping poor countries cope with the costly impact of global warming. REUTERS/Thomas Mukoya (KENYA - Tags: ENVIRONMENT SOCIETY ANIMALS) - RTXRZAL

*Buffalos are a reservoir or maintenance host for TB. photo: Thomas Mukoya/REUTERS

All mammals are susceptible, and it spreads quickly throughout the ecosystems.

It directly impacts animal productivity and health, but the long-term consequences to their survival are yet unknown and in particular the direct effects on survival of endangered species is worrisome. Lions in particular have suffered a 35-75% decline from TB in current lion populations over the last two decades. (Professor Michele A Miller, Stennenbosch University)

Wildlife are not the only victims of TB. The disease originated in cattle; which in turn are used for human consumption. In 2013, it was the leading cause of human death in South Africa.  (World Health Organization)

TB rates in SA

The lack of diagnostic tools for most species and the absence of an effective vaccine make it currently impossible to contain and control.  With the ever-increasing number of domestic livestock and their expanding contact with wildlife, the disease is perpetuated.  It is merely a matter of time to see what effects it will have on both humans and Africa’s ecosytems.

cattle south africa

With a thriving beef market in South Africa, the issues of wild and domestic animal interface will not diminish anytime soon. photo: South Devon Cattlebreeders Society



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