NAIROBI (Xinhua) --
An anthrax outbreak that affected Kenya’s Lake
Nakuru National Park is over and the last buffalo death was
recorded on May 10, the country’s wildlife conservation agency
said on Saturday.
John Waweru, director general of
Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS), said in a statement that the total
mortalities to date are 145 buffaloes representing 3.54 percent
of the estimated population of 4,100 buffaloes in Lake Nakuru
"Our partnership with the local administration and Department
of Public Health as well as Directorate of Veterinary Services
to educate the local communities about anthrax and our
surveillance and monitoring efforts have paid off," Waweru said.
Lake Nakuru National Park which is about 160 km northwest of
the Kenya’s capital city Nairobi covers an area of 188 square km
and is an important ecosystem supporting high diversity of
waterfowl, large mammal and floral species.
"It was set up as the first rhino sanctuary in Kenya and has
been a successful breeding habitat.
"The park hosts a number of threatened mammal species,
including lion, leopard and the Rothschild giraffe.
"Five globally threatened bird species are also found in the
park," he added.
He noted that the park management would continue with the
monitoring and will report any suspicious deaths for urgent
action by veterinary authorities.
The KWS official said that management would also undertake
other long-term measures to mitigate such disease outbreaks,
noting that prolonged drought is a risk factor in anthrax
"This results in depletion of pasture, forcing animals to
graze closer to the soil that is potentially infested with
The park has previous history of anthrax outbreak in July
Waweru revealed that the long-term measures include
translocation of buffaloes from the park to avoid depletion of
pastures during prolonged dry spells, which are becoming more
northern white rhino
can be saved from extinction scientifically
by Ben Ochieng NAIROBI (Xinhua) --
A Kenya-based conservationist
said that saving the northern white rhino from extinction can be
Richard Vigne, managing director of Ol Pejeta Conservancy
that provides sanctuary for some of the region’s most endangered
species and is home to two of the world’s remaining northern
white rhinos, said on Wednesday that the species can be saved
from extinction methodically using the last two remaining
females that have found refuge at the sanctuary.
"In order to prevent the extinction from happening in
totality, the only way it can be done is through in vitro
fertilization (IVF)," Vigne told Xinhua in Nanyuki, in central
Kenya, on the sidelines of the launch of the world’s first
conservation technology lab.
"There have been a number of successful attempts to remove
eggs from zoo-held southern white females and it is hoped that
an ovum pick-up attempt will be made on the last two remaining
northern white females soon," he said.
"It is complicated, very expensive but possible, and will
require the removal of eggs from the ovaries of the two females
to be fertilized using semen stored from males over the last few
years to create viable mature embryos for storage in liquid
nitrogen," Vigne added.
He said once this has been achieved, a technique will be used
to reintroduce the embryos into a surrogate southern female,
because the two northern females are infertile, with the aim of
achieving pure-bred northern white pregnancies.
The conservationist said to that end, Ol Pejeta has begun
preparing the herd of six southern white rhino females that will
act as surrogates for the northern white rhino embryos when they
"Then we have to create a breeding herd of northern white
rhinos which will provide a platform for the introduction of
that species," he said.
"We are working with various partners in South Africa and in
Europe and we are waiting for permission from the Kenya
government to start to remove eggs from the two remaining
"The effort will cost a huge amount of money, but is a noble
effort to reverse at least one of the wrongs that mankind has
wreaked upon other species that inhabit this planet with us,"
The procedure is fraught with difficulties but will remind
mankind that if you get down to the last two of a species, the
chances of recovering that species that represents millions and
millions of evolution is laborious, he said.