More than 100 hippos are ‘killed by Anthrax’ in Namibia as shocking images show them bloated and lifeless on their backs.
Rangers from Bwabwata National Park say more than 100 have died since last Sunday, many pictured with legs in the air as they lay bloated in the water. ‘As we speak, the number of deaths is 109.
We suspect an anthrax outbreak, but our veterinary team is still to confirm that,’ deputy director of the park Apollinaris Kannyinga told the Namibian.
He said crocodiles and vultures are feeding were feeding on the corpses of the hippos, and that local people needed to be aware they should not eat the meat as it may be contaminated with anthrax.
There were an estimated 1,300 hippos in Namibia before the latest deaths, so this means a significant proportion of them are affected.
The true death toll could be higher, as some of the corpses may have already been eaten. Mr Kannyinga said anthrax outbreaks are not uncommon, and happen when the water levels become low in the Kavango River.
Anthrax is a bacteria disease caused by Bacillus anthracis, transmitted through spores which can lie in the soil for years. It needs rapid treatment with antibiotics or it can be fatal.