30 hippos die of suspected anthrax in Queen Elizabeth Park | Kazinga channel

So far 30 hippos have died of suspected anthrax in Queen Elizabeth National Park.

The Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) boss said that the hippos died on Friday and were buried on Saturday and Sunday and were waiting for experts to confirm whether the animals died of anthrax.

Moses Mapesa clarified that the deaths were not a threat to tourism because it occurred five kilometers east of the Katunguru Bridge towards Lake George, which is far away from the Kazinga Channel, a breeding area for hippos.

Tom Okello, the Queen Elizabeth Conservation Area manager, said UWA had set up a surveillance team to monitor the waters.

This comes six years after the park lost about 300 hippos, several vultures, hyenas and other grass-eating animals in the park to anthrax.

Several people died then in Bushenyi district and one in Kinyamaseke, Kasese district after eating meat of the infected hippos.

“But the situation is under control. After the 2004 anthrax attack, we are now more prepared to handle it,” he said.

He described to the incident as “part and parcel of nature, a normal phenomenon.”

Mapesa explained that whenever an animal grazes at a spot harboring the anthrax spores, the spores come with the grass.

“The bacteria are always dormant in the soil until there is something to trigger it,” he said.

Mapesa warned the public against eating wildlife meat and livestock keepers to avoid grazing in the park and also urged anyone who sees a carcass should immediately report to UWA authorities or other nearest authorities.

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