An outbreak of anthrax in endangered Rothschild’s giraffes in Mwea National Reserve, Kenya
Titus Kaitho,1 David Ndeereh,1 Bernard Ngoru2
1Veterinary, Capture and Captive Wildlife Management Department, Wildlife Conservation Division, Kenya Wildlife Service, Nairobi, Kenya; 2Ecological Monitoring, Bio-Prospecting and Biodiversity Information Management Department, Biodiversity Research and Monitoring Division, Kenya Wildlife Service, Nairobi, Kenya
Abstract: An anthrax outbreak occurred at the Mwea National Reserve between May 2011 and July 2011. This outbreak affected endangered Rothschild’s giraffes (Giraffa camelopardalis ssp. rothschildi). Eleven giraffe carcasses were found during the 3-month period. One lesser kudu (Ammelaphus imberbis), the only one of its species in the national reserve, also succumbed to the illness. An investigation was carried out, and the presence of anthrax was rapidly confirmed using bacteriological methods. To stop the occurrence of more deaths of this endangered species, a total of 20 giraffes were vaccinated against anthrax and black quarter. The giraffe carcasses that were found were completely burned; this was done to decontaminate the environment. For a period of 2 years postvaccination, no anthrax-related mortalities in Rothschild’s giraffes were reported at the Mwea National Reserve.
Keywords: anthrax outbreak, burning of carcasses, Rothschild’s giraffes, vaccination
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