Sunday, 27 October 2013

Disease free buffalos re-introduced into Marakele National Park

October 2013. South African National Parks (SANParks) has re-introduced a herd of 20 disease free buffalo, comprising of nine cows and eleven bulls, into Marakele National Park, situated outside Thabazimbi in Limpopo Province. 

Removed in 2009 due to disease
According to SANParks Head of Veterinary Wildlife Services, Dr Markus Hofmeyr, the re-introduction of this high value species follows the removal of all the buffalo in 2009 due to a disease called Theileriosis which was diagnosed in the buffalo that roamed the area.

Dr Hofmeyr said the first test to determine the disease prevalence in the area was initiated in 2011 with the re-introduction of 15 sentinel bulls. "These bulls were tested again in April 2013 and confirmed to be negative for Theileriosis allowing the state vets to lift the quarantine status on Marakele fully."

According to Dr Hofmeyr it was important for SANParks to remove the buffalo at that time because it could have had a negative effect on the livestock in the neighbouring farms.

He said it is quite exciting to once again have a healthy population of buffalo in the park after a few years of absence. "We are now confident that the area is free of Theileriosis following negative testing earlier this year. This herd of buffalo was born and kept in Graspan, near Barkley West close to Kimberley and will be able to adapt with ease in Marakele." said Hofmeyr.

Marakele National Park is situated in the heart of the Waterberg Mountains, just ten kilometres outside of the town of Thabazimbi in the Province of Limpopo and is approximately 250km north of Johannesburg. The mountainous scenery, buffalo and many other animals are the main attraction to this park.

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