I have received this article from the Natal Parks Board, maybe some would find it interesting.
Conflict between agriculture and wildlife has existed ever since man planted his first field and domesticated his first animal. This conflict takes two main forms. Either wild animals eat his crops and stock or they infect his domestic animals with a disease that affects their ability to survive, reproduce or supply meat and milk.The lengths that man has gone to, to win this war is the stuff of legend, but to this day, the conflict continues.
In a reversal of this situation, wildlife is being seriously affected by a disease that comes from domestic stock. Bovine tuberculosis (BTB) is a chronic disease caused by Mycobacterium bovis, a bacterial pathogen that is part of the Mycobacterium tuberculosis complex that causes clinical tuberculosis (TB) in humans and other mammals. Notably these include cattle around the world, badgers in Britain, deer in North America, possums in New Zealand and a comprehensive array of wildlife throughout Africa, including buffalo, rhino, antelope, big cats, and monkeys. BTB is transmitted primarily via aerosol pathways, but also through alimentary routes including saliva, intrauterine and milk consumption pathways.
Bovine Tuberculos (BTB)is was introduced from Europe into South Africa during the 18th and 19th centuries through the importation of infected cattle. It was first detected in South Africa in cattle in 1880. Evidence of BTB transmission to wildlife was obtained in 1929, when the disease was detected in the Eastern Cape in kudu and common duiker. Since that time BTB has been found in a large variety of wildlife seriously impacting some species. The Kruger National Park looses about 25 lions per year to BTB as lions prey on buffalo, the main carriers in the Park. BTB was first diagnosed in African buffalo in the Kruger National Park (KNP) in 1990, where it was found to occur along its southern boundary. Further sampling during the 1990s revealed that BTB was increasing in prevalence in the southern sectors of KNP while spreading northwards. BTB was first detected in a black rhino in Hluhluwe iMfolozi Park (HIP) in 1970. In 1986 BTB was confirmed to be prevalent in HiP buffalo, with the source attributed to local cattle mixing with buffalo before the park was fully fenced in the 1960s.
Monitoring of the extent and spread of the disease in buffalo initially took the form of lethal sampling, capture and skin tests, where the animals had to be held in bomas for 72 hours, and collaring specific animals to track their movement and subsequent spread of the disease. More recently, the use of interferon-gamma (IFNg) BOVIGAM TM assay that, unlike skin tests, does not require confining or recapturing animals, has simplified the monitoring process and cut costs.
BTB infections, whether in wildlife or cattle to cattle, pose a very real risk to humans due to their close association with sick animals during herding and milking. Also individuals, particularly children, the elderly, malnourished and immunocompromised, risk alimentary infection though ingestion of bacteria in milk and dairy products. BTB has been isolated in dairy products throughout Africa, and children given raw milk are particularly at risk of developing infection in lymph nodes, a common condition in Europe in the 19th century prior to widespread pasteurisation of milk.
I participate because I care - CUSTOS NATURAE
Convenor of the AIKONA Group.
No to Hotels in and commercialization of our National Parks.
Done 141 visits to National Parks.
What a wonderful privilege.