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Anthrax killed hippos - expertsPublish Date: Jun 22, 2010
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By Abdulkarim Ssengendo

TESTS done at the Central Veterinary Laboratory in Entebbe have confirmed that anthrax killed the 30 hippos in Queen Elizabeth National Park.

Dr. Nicholas Kauta, a commissioner in the agriculture ministry, on Friday said the disease affects all warm blooded animals except birds.

He said animals that feast on hippos’ infected carcass can catch the disease. The agriculture state minister, Col. Bright Rwamirama, with a team of doctors from the ministry, on Friday found a dead hippo in the middle of Lake George.

The minister called for quick intervention, saying this was the third time hippos were dying of anthrax in the national park. Since the national park lost about 300 hippos about six years ago, the population of hippos had multiplied to 5,500.

Rwamirama observed that if necessary, the hippos should be moved elsewhere to enable spraying of the affected areas. He observed that the excavators used to bury the animals are expensive and that the method used was risky.

The minister explained that an excavator is hired at sh1m to bury one hippo. Rwamirama advised cattle-keepers in the neighbouring areas not to graze their animals in the park to avoid catching the disease.

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