Name ID 1140

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South African Broadcasting Corporation
Extract Date: March 01, 2001

Mysterious disease kills 600 animals in Ngorongoro game reserve

Article printout courtesy of the South African Broadcasting Corporation. Copyright" 2000 SABC.

A mysterious disease has killed about 600 animals in Ngorongoro Crater, the world-renowned game sanctuary in northern Tanzania. Emmanuel Chausi, an Ngorongoro wildlife official, says that some 323 buffaloes, 193 wildebeest, 69 zebras, seven rhinos, six lions, three antelopes and three hippos have died mysteriously in the crater.

He said experts from Tanzania, Kenya, South Africa and the United States were now in Ngorongoro studying the issue and a comprehensive report is expected soon.

"We don't know the cause but the problem started over nine months ago when five rhinos died, two more rhinos died last January, with early samples indicating the likelihood of the Babesiosis disease.

"Babesiosis is a condition associated with breathing difficulties in victims due to a lack of sufficient red blood cells which are vital for the oxidation process," Chausi said. He ruled out canine distemper, a condition which killed hundreds of lions in Tanzania's neighbouring Serengeti National Park in 1994. - Sapa-AFP


Article printout courtesy of the South African Broadcasting Corporation.

Copyright" 2000 SABC.

Extract ID: 3110

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Extract Author: Alpha Nuhu
Extract Date: March 1, 2001

Killer Disease Decimates Hundreds Of Animals

Copyright" 2001 Panafrican News Agency. Distributed by AllAfrica Global

American, Kenyan and South African wildlife scientists are in Tanzania to study a strange disease which has been decimating hundreds of animals in the world famous Ngorongoro Crater in the northern tourist circuit of the country.

The team of 11 researchers begun its study last week after Tanzanian wildlife authorities reported that a mysterious disease has killed at least 600 animals in the past 10 months.

Ngorongoro Crater, dubbed the Eighth Wonder of the World, is home to more than 20,000 large animals, including some of Tanzania's remaining black rhinos.

The 8,300 square-kilometre conservation area boasts of the finest blend of landscape, wildlife, people and archaeological sites in Africa.

A Ngorongoro Conservation Area Authority (NCAA) official said Thursday the mysterious disease had attacked 323 buffaloes, 193 wildebeests, 69 zebras, seven rhinos, six lions and four hippos since May last year.

"We don't know the cause of the animal deaths, but early samples show that it is Babesiosis (urinating red samples)," said Emmanuel Chausi.

According to expert testimony, Babesiosis is a disease that causes breathing problems due to lack of sufficient red cells which supply oxygen in animals.

In 1994, a similar peculiar disease, later identified as Canine Distemper, killed more than 2,000 lions in the world's famous Serengeti National Park, also found on the north of Tanzania.

Wildlife scientists fear that an outbreak of such strange diseases in game parks, if not immediately controlled, may wipe out the animal populations vital for the booming tourist industry in the East African country.

"We have embarked on extensive research to control these dangerous diseases to preserve our natural heritage," Chausi said.

He said the deaths of buffaloes, zebras and antelopes in the crater could be due to severe drought which hit the northern part of Tanzania last year, causing widespread food shortages among villagers surrounding the national parks.

"We suspect that prolonged drought also contributed to the deaths of some animals like buffaloes and antelopes because their carcasses were found near water sources," he said.

Extract ID: 3121

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IGeneX, Inc.,
Extract Date: 7 March 2001

Babesiosis - A Tick Borne Disease

Babesiosis is caused by an intraerythrocytic parasite, Babesia microti, which is similar in effect to Plasmodium falciparum, the causative agent of Malaria.36,43 Recently, WA1, another species of Babesia, has been described as a possible human pathogen. The intermediate host for B. microti and WA1 is the same tick that transmits B. burgdorferi, the causative agent of Lyme disease. Symptoms of Babesiosis are similar to those of Lyme disease: fatigue, malaise, myalgia, arthralgia, chills, and fever. The disease is particularly life threatening in splenectomized patients. There are several diagnostic tests for Babesiosis.

Extract ID: 3111

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Arusha Times
Extract Author: Arusha Times Reporters
Extract Date: March 10, 2001

Deadly insects plagued Crater

Misfortunes never come single handed. While echoes of the mysterious killer disease that has been terrorizing Ngorongoro Crater for ten months are still ringing, a fresh epidemic has just erupted and is reported to be causing more grievous harm to the wildlife.

Huge swarms of deadly biting flies known as "Stomoxys" are currently infesting the Crater, inflicting bad wounds and painful sores to the animals.

Explaining the sudden epidemic, the Principal Conservator with the Ngorongoro Conservation Area Authority (NCAA), Emmanuel Cheusi said the flies were the result of the aftermath of the drought spell of 2000 and heavy rains of late last year and early this year.

So far the fierce Stomoxys flies are reported to have caused the deaths of six lions in the Crater, while the remaining 62 are in very bad conditions suffering from serious wounds.

Cheusi pointed out that, a similar epidemic occurred in 1962 when the extensive drought of 1961, followed by heavy rains of 1962 brought the first outbreak of Stomoxys flies whose attacks on the animals resulted into the death of over 67 lions.

From then, Ngorongoro had to do with only 8 lions a number which slowly increased to 68 by the year 1999.

Another outbreak of Stomoxys came with the aftermath of El-Nino/La-nina weather spells, when heavy rains and dry spells in the Simanjiro district brought forth the deadly insects which claimed the lives of both livestock and wildlife in the area.

While NCAA in conjunction with various experts are currently making efforts to save the ailing lions, fresh reports from the area has told this paper that, lions - the most affected species of wildlife - have mysteriously disappeared from the Crater, probably hiding from the deadly insect bites.

Ngorongoro Crater has also been experiencing mass deaths of animals whereby for the past ten months begin May 2000. A total of 604 animals have died under mysterious causes.

The dead animals includes 323 buffaloes, 193 wildebeests, 69 zebras, three hippopotamus, five rhinoceros and six lions.

The animals were first suspected to have died from either Theileria or Babesiosis disease but blood samples taken for laboratory tests have proved otherwise.

More blood samples have been sent for further tests in Holland and South Africa, but until going to press, results were yet to be announced.

Extract ID: 3123

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BBC internet news
Extract Author: Andrew Harding
Extract Date: 16 March, 2001

Bloodsucker flies torment lions

Nairobi, Kenya

Lions in Tanzania are being driven to an early grave by swarms of bloodthirsty flies.

The flies have been particularly prevalent in one of the world's most famous wildlife parks, the Ngorongoro Crater.

There, the blood-sucking insects are literally pestering the lions to death.

The big cats are so traumatized by the experience that they forget to eat, and spend all their time trying to hide, climbing up trees and crouching in long grass.

They are, as one conservation official put it, dying of trauma.

So far, at least six lions are reported to have been killed by the flies in the Ngorongoro Crater - a spectacular wildlife reserve set in the middle of an old volcano.

The flies are a breed called stomoxys - they have sharp tubes sticking out of their mouths, which they use to suck blood.

They have been attacking the lions' open wounds, causing considerable pain.

The flies' numbers are believed to increase rapidly when there is an extreme climate change. After a long drought, it has been raining heavily in the park.

Intervention unlikely

Scientists from around the world have been helping the Tanzanian authorities to identify and deal with the problem.

But these are not farm animals, and wildlife officials say they are reluctant to intervene with pesticides or any other treatment.

They argue that the laws of nature should be allowed to take their course - the survival of the fittest.

In fact, the flies are not the only menace to larger animals in the Ngorongoro Crater.

Since May last year, hundreds of buffalos, dozens of zebras, five rhinos and three hippos have reportedly died in mysterious circumstances.

A disease called east coast fever, and another called Babesiosis are suspected.

Extract ID: 3127