Anthrax outbreak in Zimbabwe's 'Painted Wolves' park kills 100 impala: wildlife official

Nearly 100 impala have died of suspected anthrax in Zimbabwe’s tourist-loved Mana Pools National Park, home to the wild dogs made famous in the recent BBC documentary series, Dynasties.

Zimbabwe state wildlife authority spokesperson Tinashe Farawo confirmed the outbreak on Tuesday.

Anthrax can be fatal to humans though there are no reports of any human infections in this outbreak. Vets sent to the area have managed to bring the disease under control, Farawo told News24.

“We’ve managed to contain the disease. Our vet doctors are down there: they are working flat out to ensure that we clear the area,” he said in a phone interview.

“We are trying to avoid the spread of the disease to other species. At the moment we are dealing with impalas only,” he added.

Anthrax isn’t uncommon in Zimbabwe’s wildlife and farming areas. The spores that trigger the disease remain dormant in the soil until they’re ingested by wild animals or livestock. 

Park's profile raised 

Last year, the disease killed a number of hippos in northern Binga, a wildlife-rich district in northern Zimbabwe, the Daily News reported at the time.

Mana Pools is one of Zimbabwe’s most popular national parks. Its profile has just been raised internationally with the acclaimed new documentary series, Dynasties, narrated by David Attenborough. In an episode aired on Sunday, the focus was on a pack of wild dogs living in Mana Pools.

Director Nick Lyon has spoken of the deep emotional attachment he developed with the dogs, especially the pups which his team filmed emerging for the first time from their den.

“When you follow animals for as long as we did, you get to know them and care what happens to them,” he told the Daily Telegraph

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