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Sick and Injured Lions (Incl.TB not for sensitive veiwers)

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Sat May 02, 2009 7:59 pm Unread post
TB is slowly, but surely killing off all lions in the Park... there are many sites on this.... This is endangering all carnivores in the park - and a cure is 20 years away.

Picasso - In short my searches have reflected that there is a link/connection between glaucoma (reddish, 'popping-out-of-the-sockets-slid-like-eyes) and TB in humans - whether same applies to animals I'm unsure... And in my view, based on your 2nd photo of the male lion, he's regrettably infected with TB - without a doubt... :(

As long as there are buffaloes in the Park, there will be TB affecting all species of carnivores. :cry:


Last edited by Elzet on Sat May 02, 2009 9:08 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Lions with weird eyes.

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Sat May 02, 2009 8:38 pm Unread post
Hey P, just google - it's very easy - Look for Bovine TB (buffaloes) and Feline Aids - there are more than a 100 sites in this regard.

Source: http://www.awf.org/content/headline/detail/1065

Tuberculosis Imperils Lions in Kruger Park
Apr 01, 1999


The spread of tuberculosis among the lions in South Africa's Kruger National Park is raising fears that the entire lion population may be at risk. TB has occurred primarily in buffalo in the southern sector of the park, where 1,300 of Kruger's estimated 2,000 lions live. How many lions (and members of other species) have been infected is not clear, but in skin tests performed recently on about 30 thin, unhealthy lions, 90 percent tested positive for TB.

Tuberculosis is a debilitating bacterial disease that usually affects the lungs and can occur in most warm-blooded animals. Some infected animals may live for years with few or no symptoms; others weaken quickly, become emaciated and die within weeks or months.

One of Africa's largest national parks, Kruger is 55 miles wide and 250 miles long. TB is believed to have entered the park via infected cattle in the early 1960s, before domestic livestock were fenced out. In 1990 an infected cape buffalo--one of thousands in the park--was found; since then, TB has slowly spread among most buffalo in the southern sector.

"Buffalo, as herding animals, spread TB among themselves by coughing in each other's faces," Dr. Michael Woodford, chairman of the Veterinary Specialist Group of the World Conservation Union's Species Survival Commission, told the Wildlife News. "Lions are thought to rarely spread the disease to other lions. But they often lie around and feed in groups, so that several may become infected by eating a single sick buffalo."

With no feasible cure and no preventive vaccine yet available, there are few agreeable options for eliminating the disease in wildlife areas. The usual method in domestic animals is to test the animals and slaughter the infected ones. For wildlife, one option is to separate the sick from the healthy by fencing off, in the case of Kruger, the infected southern region and erecting a second fence several miles south of the first. Buffalo in the fenced zone would be killed to "cleanse" the area. (Uninfected buffalo herds from the north would later repopulate the area.) The zone would be moved further south, gradually enlarging the uninfected area, until entire park was cleared of tubercular infection.

Fencing actually won't be an option, Woodford said, until experiments determine how long it takes a zone to become completely germ-free after the buffalo are eradicated.

The last, and most draconian, option would be to slaughter all the buffalo in Kruger.

"Under relatively undisturbed conditions, wildlife disease may be present but is only one cause of mortality among many," said Mark R. Stanley Price, director of AWF's African operations. "In much of Africa, however, where livestock are now more numerous and veterinary controls are less rigorous, disease outbreaks are far more serious."

This was ten years ago, and it is more rife than ever now. On our last three annual trips to the Park, and as recent as Jan '09, we had to drive away from lions - as it was heart-wrenching to see these so-called kings of the wild in such condition... (also cubs). In Jan '09 we found a male lion next to the road, which, in our minds, had hours (if at all) to live. When it struggled to get up... what we saw was something from a nightmare - words fail me... :cry:


Re: Lions with weird eyes.

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Sat May 02, 2009 8:41 pm Unread post
http://www.sanparks.org/parks/kruger/co ... PC_BTB.pdf

http://btb.animaldiseases.org/index.php ... &Itemid=56

Check these out.... it's reached epidemic proportions... :(


Re: Lions with weird eyes.

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Sat May 02, 2009 8:45 pm Unread post
Elzet, as I understand it, from a lecture I attended at the last South African Veterinary Congress, the average age of lions in an infected area will just come down. So if the average age was lets say 10years it will now be 8 (not real figures!). Remember that TB in Lions is a very chronic disease meaning that they can be fairly healthy for a long time even though they are infected.
There will still be lions, but maybe not quite so many big maned lions. Lions adapt very well to fill any "open" areas, so their breeding rate will increase to cover for the early deaths.
I have not heard of TB in the Kalahari. It is also unlikely as there is minimal or no contact with cattle there.
The article you quote is from 1999. There has been a lot if research since then.


Re: Lions with weird eyes.

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Sat May 02, 2009 8:51 pm Unread post
Yes unfortunately, there is a lot of Bovine TB in the park, I understand that it was originally transmitted from domestic cattle to buffalo and is mainly concentrated in the southern end of the park. Evidently about 25 lions die each year of TB in KNP. It affects many other species including Cheetah and Kudu. Most commonly you would see the snout of the infected species to be swollen and the body thin with swollen glands. It is believed that about 50% of the lions in the KNP could have TB. TB would have been transmitted to lion by eating infected buffalo and now the lions are infecting each other through biting and airborne infection.
Unfortunately however there are many other symptoms, I think this Lion may well be infected. :(

If anyone know more about this disease please let me know as it is a very important issue that needs to be addressed.


Re: Lions with weird eyes.

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Sat May 02, 2009 9:25 pm Unread post
Elzet, It is not Feline TB, but bovine TB. It is an epidemic, becuase many animals have it, but that does not mean they are all going to be wiped out.
TB is a special type of bacterium that has a very slow effect. The bovine form affects the lungs of buffalo and these are eaten by the lions, but the infection in the lion is in the lymph nodes of the gut.

It is unlikely that a cure will be found. The basis of clearing out an area of TB is culling and then restocking. This is obviously not practical and of course there are other species that are affected as mentioned earlier some of which we don't know yet. We havn't managed to cure human TB yet, so I think lion TB is much further down the list.

The point I was making about the article being from 1999 is that we now understand a whole lot more about this specific epidemic in the kruger and how the species and disease interact. In 1999 there was real concern about teh imminant demise of the lions, but now there is less concern. I know it is not pleasant, but it is here to stay. As far as I know the cubs would not be suffering directly from TB, but from lack of food due to weak parents.


Re: Lions with weird eyes.

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Sun May 03, 2009 12:26 am Unread post
I’ve found something interesting regarding TB and research that was done on lions in the KNP.

Testing on lions from the southern parts of the KNP has showed that approximately 80% of the lions tested were exposed to or were infected with bovine tuberculosis. It also showed that only some of these showed clinical symptoms at any one time. In the northern parts of the KNP most lions have still tested negative for TB.

Herewith a short quote from that research:

"A research project was started in 1999, where 16 TB positive lions in the south of the park and 16 TB negative lions in the north were identified and clinically evaluated. Vets have been monitoring the animals to see what the effects of TB are in lions.

The study has looked at many things, including the life span of the study lions, any changes in the prides to which they belong, the birth and deaths of cubs in the study prides, and individual animal's blood profiles and weight.

This study has been done over a 4 year period and the preliminary findings were published. It shows that of the 16 southern lions, 12 have died. Five died of TB and seven died either through being attacked by other lions or shot when they left the park, possibly as a result of the apparent disruption of the pride structure when the other individuals died of advanced TB. In the north, eight of the original study lions are still alive.

According to the report, the northern male lion coalitions remain in charge of their pride for longer than their southern counterparts.

Dr Bengis concerns about TB stem from the fact that the prevalence and the spatial spread of the disease in buffalo and lions has been increasing progressively since it was first detected, and that it is being found in an increasing number of species in the KNP. He said that the disease is a potential wild card, and that one should not "put one's head in the sand" and be complacent about this potential animal health problem.

To date, TB has been found in lion, buffalo, leopard, cheetah, hyena, kudu, honey badger, warthog, genets and impala in the KNP.”

(Source: http://www.africanconservation.org/dcfo ... 2/120.html)

I think TB is a major problem. It affects not only lions but many other species as well. It affects the structure of the lion pride as well and I’ve noticed a drastic increase of seeing this thin and seemingly sick lions the past few years.

Herewith a recent photo I have taken.

Image


Re: Lions with weird eyes.

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Sun May 03, 2009 1:17 am Unread post
www.youtube.com/watch?v=AUSoETHeplw

Try this link to the video instead otherwise go to youtube, type in lions tb south africa.


Re: Lions with weird eyes.

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Sun May 10, 2009 9:24 pm Unread post
What are the visible symptons for BTB in Lions?
Weird eyes?
Blind eyes?
Bad condition?
Any other?

Weird is difficult to accurately describe, blind eyes and bad condition can be the result of many different causes.

Is there, apart from the clinical tests, any way to tell in the field (in a pretty reliable way) that a Lion is infected with BTB?


Re: Lions with weird eyes.

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Sun May 10, 2009 9:48 pm Unread post
Hi E, I truly wish I was a vet, but I'm not... :( (Sure that vet 'mites will be able to supply more accurate info).

This is what I got off the web concerning symptoms (from 2004):

Lions usually develop more progressive symptoms than buffalo, with a shorter time span between infection and the first visible clinical signs of the disease, and the eventual death of the animal. In buffalo, the disease tends to concentrate in the lungs and the lymph nodes near the head. In lions, according to Dr Bengis, there is some evidence to suggest that TB may interfere with the digestive process, as well absorption of nutrients into the bloodstream, as lions with TB can become emaciated. He says that many of the TB positive lions that showed advanced clinical signs of infection also have TB lesions in their bones and joints that compromised their mobility. Lesions are also frequently found in the lungs of lions, possibly as a result of biting through the upper airways during strangulation or smothering of their prey.

http://www.scienceinafrica.co.za/2004/n ... /faids.htm

This site was updated in 2007:

In cats, the symptoms may include weight loss, a persistent or fluctuating low-grade fever, dehydration, decreased appetite and possibly episodes of vomiting or diarrhea.

If the respiratory tract is involved, the cat may have coughing, dyspnea and rales. Respiratory failure can occur with exertion, if there is significant pleural exudate.

In the abdominal form, enlarged mesenteric lymph nodes may be palpable.

Skin infections are also common in cats, and may appear as a soft swelling or flat ulcer, most often on the face, neck or shoulders. Draining fistulas or tracts may be seen.

In some cats, bovine tuberculosis appears as a deformity of the forehead or bridge of the nose. In the late stages, these infections can expose and destroy the bones of the nose and face.

An unusual form of tuberculosis in cats mainly affects the eyes. The first symptom may be blindness or abnormal pupillary responses. Retinal detachment may be seen, and webs of exudate can be found in the vitreous humor. When the anterior portions of the eye become involved, the iris is thickened and discolored, and lacework is found on the anterior surface of the lens. Pericorneal congestion and vascularization, and conjunctivitis can be seen the late stages of the disease. Abscesses can also occur in periorbital tissues.

http://www.cfsph.iastate.edu/Factsheets ... ulosis.pdf


Re: Lions with weird eyes.

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Mon May 11, 2009 8:23 pm Unread post
Hi Noel, yip, sad case indeed. Tx for the compliment, O :redface:

I'm afraid I don't have any good news for you (please note that both sources are not very recent):

Assessing vaccination as a control strategy in an ongoing
epidemic: Bovine tuberculosis in African buffalo (2006)


Bovine tuberculosis (BTB) is an exotic disease invading the buffalo population (Syncerus caffer) of the Kruger National Park (KNP), South Africa.We used a sex and age-structured epidemiological model to assess the effectiveness of a vaccination program and define important
research directions. The model allows for dispersal between a focal herd and background population and was parameterized with a combination of published data and analyses of over 130 radio-collared buffalo in the central region of the KNP. Radio-tracking data indicated that all sex and age categories move between mixed herds, and males over 8 years
old had higher mortality and dispersal rates than any other sex or age category. In part due to the high dispersal rates of buffalo, sensitivity analyses indicate that disease prevalence in the background population accounts for the most variability in the BTB prevalence and
quasi-eradication within the focal herd. Vaccination rate and the transmission coefficient were the second and third most important parameters of the sensitivity analyses. Further analyses of the model without dispersal suggest that the amount of vaccination necessary
for quasi-eradication (i.e. prevalence < 5%) depends upon the duration that a vaccine grants protection. Vaccination programs are more efficient (i.e. fewer wasted doses) when they focus on younger individuals. However, even with a lifelong vaccine and a closed population, the model suggests that >70% of the calf population would have to be vaccinated every year to reduce the prevalence to less than 1%. If the half-life of the vaccine is less than 5 years, even vaccinating every calf for 50 years may not eradicate BTB. Thus, although vaccination provides a means of controlling BTB prevalence it should be combined with other control measures if eradication is the objective.

http://www.cnr.berkeley.edu/~getz/Repri ... oMod06.pdf

Lions in South Africa Pressured by TB Outbreak, Hunters

South Africa's free-ranging lion population, an estimated 2,700 animals living mostly in the ecosystem surrounding Kruger National Park in the northeast corner of the country, is among those at risk.

One possible threat is bovine tuberculosis, a disease probably introduced to South Africa through domestic cattle brought in by European settlers at the end of the 18th century.

The disease also afflicts animals in the Serengeti grasslands and woodlands in northern Tanzania and southern Kenya. But according to Craig Packer, professor of zoology at the University of Minnesota, TB isn't as important an issue there.

"While it seems that TB is a worse problem in Kruger than elsewhere, it is still not clear that the disease is as devastating as people originally claimed," he said. "While we still have TB in Tanzania, it isn't a problem that we worry much about."

Dewald Keet, the chief veterinarian at Kruger National Park, does worry. He said that bovine tuberculosis is an ever-increasing threat to Kruger lions. But because TB is increasing at a slow rate, people may have the mistaken impression that it has stabilized.

"Nothing is being done to control the disease except research," he said. According to Keet, the prevalence of the disease in lions in the southern half of the park varies between 48 percent and 78 percent.

He explained that lions first contracted the disease when eating infected buffalo carcasses, and the southern region of the park is where TB prevalence is highest in African buffalo. Lions in Kruger are also infecting each other through biting and aerosol transmission, Keet said.

About 25 lions die of TB every year in Kruger, but even more important is the effect of the disease on lion social behavior. Males are weakened by the chronic disease, and this, Keet said, leads to "faster territorial male turnover and consequent infanticide, eviction of entire prides, and a decrease in average longevity."

The Future of South African Lions

Although there are some small populations of lions outside of the Kruger ecosystem, they are not self-sustaining, and, according to Keet, they have to be managed with occasional additions and removals....

... Keet worries, though, about the continuing health of the free-ranging population. "Bovine tuberculosis is not a disease that will disappear from the Kruger ecosystem unless radically combated," he said. "And by now it is probably too late."

http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news ... _tb_2.html

Whilst conducting research, I've also noted that sea lions can contract BTB. :shock:

Let's pray the lions' immune systems develop to fight this plague. :pray: During earlier research I have noted that lions in the south of the KNP are more affected than those in the north. Also, that the cohesion between ruling males in the north is stronger than that in the south, and that might be why less lions in the north are so severely affected by BTB.


What is done with sick lions?

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Sun Jun 14, 2009 8:54 pm Unread post
I have been reading Trip Reports, and looking at the pics that members have generously provided for us. But I keep seeing sick lions, and it is really upsetting me. I couldn't imagine visiting the parks, and seeing this for myself. To me lions are majestic and regal, and I just can't understand why they are still in the parks in that condition.

I hate the idea of these animals being allowed to die naturally, to be left to suffer needlessly. I think they should be mercifully put down with dignity, and not allowed to continue in this very sad state. I would do the same with my beloved dog or cat. Is there some kind of rule or reg that says they can't be put down?

Of course if they can be cured, that would be the way to go. But I have been reading that there is no cure. So I was just wondering what is being done about this. I apologize if this information is elsewhere, but I just couldn't find it. Please direct me, if possible.

Thanks,

Karen :)


Re: What is done with sick lions?

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Sun Jun 14, 2009 9:00 pm Unread post
Welcome LL :D

I know it is sad and we all hate it as well...but...Nature has to be left to take it's own course.
It is MY understanding that the parks should be left with as little human interference as possible.


Re: What is done with sick lions?

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Sun Jun 14, 2009 9:09 pm Unread post
Karen

That is the harsh realities of nature. The National Parks are not zoos, where every animal is managed. They rather manage systems, and try and keep it as natural as possible.

Where there is a major impact, such as Tuberculosis, a lot is done to address the situation. There is a lot of time, money and expertise going in to addressing i.e. TB.

From time to time, individual animals will be helped. But that is because of specific circumstance. It is however impossible and even undesirable to try and help every animal. Where do you draw the line? Why only lions, how about elephant, kudu, impala?

And, the moment you start interfering there is an immediate impact on the rest of the natural system. And it is not necessary possible to foresee this impact ...

Say you decide to save lions, because they are these magnificent beasts, and you have some considerable success ... lion numbers start growing, impacting on sable, lichtensteins hartebeest, even ordinary blue wildebeest ...

Yes, suffering is not good ... and often you will find that such animals are put out of their misery because they have no hope. But even that is just "window dressing" as it is simply impossible to reach all of them. Many animals suffer and die there where human eyes do not reach.

Though suffering is never a nice thing to see, it is part of nature.


Re: What is done with sick lions?

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Sun Jun 14, 2009 9:13 pm Unread post
Hi LL :lol: Nice to see you around.

I share your sentiments re the sadness of lions that are infected and dying a slow death... but yes, the rule of law, nature should take its own course. (It could also be that they are dying of natural causes, same scenario, same modus operandi).

PS. If you look at the pics posted on other threads, there are still majestic lions around! Still lots to celebrate in Animalia :clap: :dance:

Eg. check out this thread...

viewtopic.php?f=67&t=33159&start=0&st=0&sk=t&sd=a

Healthy lions on the hunt! :thumbs_up:
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