Many hippos about over 100 of them have been found dead in the western region of Bwabwata National Park in Namibia earlier this October. The cause of their death is unclear, yet authorities blame it on the anthrax outbreak.
In the shocking images, hippos were seen lying on their sides and some only with their heads were visible and their body submerged in a murky low water level. A Namibia environment minister said that their veterinary services are now investigating the cause of death, yet the signs so far could be anthrax.
Colgar Sikopo, the director of parks and wildlife management at Namibia’s Ministry of the Environment and Tourism, said that the previous outbreaks in Namibia had only killed a couple of hippos and elephants. He further said that they have seen this before and outbreaks like this occur when the level of the river is so low.
According to the Centers for Disease and Control Prevention, anthrax is an infectious disease that is caused by a bacterium called Bacillus anthracis that could be found naturally in soil. This affects most the domestic and wild animals such as antelope, goats, sheep, deer, and cattle and could also infect humans. The animals will become infected once they breathe in or ingested spores in an infected soil, water, or plants. To prevent this outbreak, a routine vaccination must be done.
The government officials said that the population of hippos could be around 1,300 before the mass death. The current death toll of the hippos might be higher as the crocodiles might have eaten some of the carcasses of the hippos, according to the Guardian.
The authorities are also warning the people not to eat meat from dead animals in the area. They also burned the hippo carcasses to inhibit the disease from spreading.
Meanwhile, Johnson Ndokosho, the acting director of the Namibia’s Ministry of Environment and Tourism, said that there is not much they can do and they cannot move the wildlife. He further said that they are concerned that animals are dying. On the other hand, they are not worried about the population. The International Union for the Conservation of Nature listed hippos as “vulnerable” and about 3,300 hippos live in Namibia.
[Featured Image by Warren Little/Getty Images]