Namibian farmland cheetahs (Acinonyx jubatus) demonstrate seronegativity for antibodies against Bacillus anthracis

10.20.2016 | By , , , , ,

INTRODUCTION
The cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus) is a vulnerable species, with estimates of only 6700 animals left in the wild. Namibia, an anthrax-endemic country, is home to the world’s largest and most viable free-ranging population (~3000 animals), which predominantly resides on unprotected private farmlands (Durant, 2015).
For over 170 years, anthrax has been reported in African wildlife species with sporadic outbreaks across Namibia (Beyer et al., 2012). Anthrax is regularly reported from zebra (Equus quagga), hartebeest (Alcelaphus buselaphus), springbok (Antidorcas marsupialis) and kudu (Tragelaphus strepsiceros) (Turner et al., 2014; Wafula, Patrick & Charles, 2007); all cheetah prey species. Anthrax epidemics occur annually in Namibia’s Etosha National Park (ENP), whereas the establishment of a government mandated livestock vaccination programme in 1973 reduced the occurrence of anthrax on the surrounding farmlands (Bellan et al., 2012; Schneider, 1994; Turner et al., 2013). However, sporadic epidemics still occur on private farmlands throughout Namibia (Shaanika, 2013).

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