A stray African buffalo that recently sent the agriculture ministry in panic mode over fears of a potential spread of foot and mouth disease was finally captured, shot and burnt, deputy chief veterinary officer-animal disease control, Dr. Johannes Shoopala has said.
The Villager reported recently that the buffalo, sighted in Ouje village in Eiseb block in the Omaheke region prompting the ministry to impose strict restrictions in the area as the animal, was being tracked down by veterinary officials.
“Foot and mouth is a disease of concern and so we are sure that there was no chance of it really being transmitted to other animals. But then, normally, buffalo do not move alone, they normally move as a head so our staff members and those from the ministry of environment and tourism are still on site. They are still investigating to make sure that there is no more buffalo in the area,” he said.
Shoopala said the restrictions put in place still stand and these include a suspension of all animals’ gathering activities and animals and animal products in transit in all areas, farms and neighboring farming units in Eiseb, Otjinene, Rietfontein and Epukiro.
However, movement of all processed ready to eat products like sour milk, dry salted biltong, cheese, butter, yoghurt and other such products are allowed into and out of the restricted area.
All issued veterinary movement permits for animal originating from Eiseb, Otjinene, Rietnfontein and Epukiro were also cancelled while roadblocks were set up at strategic points in order to ensure compliance with the measures.
“We need the area to be cleared first by the people on the ground,” said Shoopala.
The concern over the buffalo comes in the wake of Namibia having come out of a crippling foot and mouth disease outbreak that nearly crippled the local beef industry.
The domino effect was further felt by ordinary Namibians selling Kapana who saw business going down.
It has been regarded as the most feared disease in the country and it hit cattle in Ohangwena and Oshikoto regions three years ago for the first time in nearly 45 years