Two African buffaloes have escaped from the state-owned Waterberg Plateau Park in the past few weeks – the first in mid-January and the second at the beginning of February. The first animal was killed after a laborious hunt from a helicopter and the second animal was shot when a farmer spotted it amongst his cattle.
Tissue samples were taken from both cadavers to establish whether they were infected with the feared foot-and-mouth-disease. The test results were negative in both cases. This was yet another proof for the assumption that both buffaloes originated from the Waterberg plateau and had not strayed into the area from the Zambezi or Kavango East regions. The population at the Waterberg is free of foot-and-mouth-disease.
Buffaloes do not develop foot-and-mouth-disease, but they are carriers. Therefore strict regulations for the protection of cattle herds apply when a buffalo is sighted on a farm: The area is put under quarantine and the transport of hoofed animals and plants is prohibited. The quarantine and transport prohibition were immediately revoked as soon as the test results were out.