Suspected anthrax outbreak kills 107 hippos in Namibia


More than 100 hippos are "killed by Anthrax" in Namibia as shocking images show them bloated and lifeless on their backs. Apollinaris Kannyinga, Bwabwata National Park director said that last week Sunday, they noticed the deaths of 10 hippos but the number increased in this week.

"We even saw the one in Tanzania, so as much as the numbers seem to be high, the hippo population usually recovers", he said.

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"Our veterinary services are now working at the area to determine the cause of death". He went to explain that outbreaks like this "mainly occurs when the level of the river is so low".

It largely survives as spores that hide away in soil for years before entering an animal through a cut or wound. "We suspect an anthrax outbreak, but our veterinary team is still to confirm that".

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This isn't the first time anthrax caused mass hippo deaths. In 2004, the BBC reported on a similar outbreak in Uganda that left at least 180 hippos dead, while past year more than 2,300 reindeer died after being infected with anthrax during a heatwave in Siberia.

Elephants and hippos were also killed by a 2003-4 outbreak in Namibia's Kasika Conservancy, Sikopo said, but this is the first incident in the 2,422 sq. mi. However, officials said it's a scene they've seen before.

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He also said they are now monitoring the situation, and that the dead hippos are yet to be disposed of. "We are trying our best to burn every carcass to prevent further spreading of the disease, but also to ensure that no person gets to these animals and starts feeding on the meat".