Buffalo Tuberculosis Testing at Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Park
In South Africa, Buffaloes must be inspected at least once a year by the state veterinarian for the following diseases:
- Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) and Corridor Disease (CD). In SA approximately 80% of the total buffalo population are permanent carriers of one or both diseases, and these are easily transmitted to livestock outside of protected areas.
- Buffalo in Kruger National Park and Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Park are also infected by Bovine Tuberculosis (BTB), which was probably introduced to the African continent with infected cattle during the colonial era. BTB is also contagious and can infect a wide variety of other mammals.
If pregnant cows and breeding bulls are initially sourced from BTB-negative herds, these adult animals must all be subjected to a negative comparative tuberculin skin test and gamma interferon test upon capture – as well as a repeat test prior to release from the facility. This testing is important to be able to mitigate against the negative impacts that the diseases in question may have – both inside and outside of protected areas across South Africa.
Wildlife ACT volunteers Kristopher Cheng, Martin Cheuk, Yiyuan Zhang, Clement Chin Him Wong and James Lok Yin Li , were lucky enough to witness the buffalo tuberculosis testing done in the holding bomas at Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Park by Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife – together with the provincial Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries.
Photos by Kristopher Cheng
Written by Wildlife ACT Monitor Marumo Nene