Anthrax killed more than 100 hippos in Namibia, officials say

Officials say such outbreaks are not uncommon and usually happen when water in the Kavango River runs low

Shifeta also told press that any further hippo deaths would be alarming; Bwabwata National Park is one of Namibia's main tourist attractions, and there were only an estimated 1,300 hippos in the area before this recent spate of deaths.

"We first noticed the deaths of 10 hippos last week Sunday, but the number increased during the week", Bwabwata National Park director Apollinaris Kannyinga told the Namibian.

Anthrax is a bacterial disease commonly associated with dry climates like the African savannah, where it kills cattle and occasionally humans.

"This is a situation that we have seen before", Colgar Sikopo, director of parks and wildlife management, says in a New Era article. We suspect an anthrax outbreak, but our veterinary team is still to confirm that, " he said.

"Our veterinary services are now working at the area to determine the cause of death".

Pictures from the area show dozens of dead hippos - some on their backs - lying in rivers with low water levels.

He said crocodiles and vultures are feeding were feeding on the corpses of the hippos, and that local people needed to be aware they should not eat the meat as it may be contaminated with anthrax.

The hippos were found dead through the span of seven days, with the initial 10 deaths being accounted for October 1.

"I knew hippos were nasty, but I didn't know they went around eating each other", said anthrax expert Martin Hugh-Jones, a professor emeritus at Louisiana State University.

More than 100 hippos were killed from a presumed Bacillus anthracis episode in Namibia, New China announced Monday.

Anthrax can be treated with antibiotics but treatment needs to start soon after infection.

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