African Buffalo on the loose
The Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry (MAWF) has announced the escape of an African Buffalo from Waterberg Plateau Park into the farms located in the vicinity of Waterberg Plateau Park in the Otjozondjupa region.
Namibia does not allow African buffalo outside national parks because of the risk of Foot and Mouth Disease(FMD) to livestock, thus any buffalo which strays into farming areas is destroyed on sight. Initial reports of the escaping buffalo were received on 12 April after which a team of Veterinary and Wildlife officials have been tracking it.
Although the African Buffalo has been known not to carry the FMD, precautionary measures are being put in place to safe guard the Meat industry and to protect the interest of importing countries in terms of Animal health Act, Act 1 of 2011.
Farms in the vicinity of Waterberg Plateau have been declared as restricted areas where cattle, sheep, goats, pigs, game and any cloven hoofed animal and their products may not be removed with immediate effect.
These farms include the Jachtplaas No I, Jachtplaas No 2, Elandsweide, Okomumbonde Breeding Station, Robenstein, Otjozongombe, Otjikaru, Ombujomatemba, Klein Hamakari, Gross Hamakari, Morewag, Biesiepan, Erindi Ura, Otjahevita, Wild-Kuhl, RuimteNo I, Ruimte No 2, Ringklip, Wabi Lodge, Okomiparara, Hohense, Gemsbok, Diepwater, Leo, Quo Vadis and Upiu.
All animals’ gatherings activities in the restricted areas have been suspended with immediate effect until further notice. The MWAF is taking extra precautionary measures by setting up roadblocks at strategic points in order to ensure compliance. Intensified surveillance activities by veterinary officials has also commenced.
The ministry has requested farmers and members of the public in the area to be on the lookout for any stray buffalo and report to the nearest state veterinary office, police or Ministry of Environment and Tourism.
The Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry has further advised that these are temporary measures and therefore urges the general public to be patient and to cooperate with officials.