Hippos still dying in Malawi: 45 deaths recorded since October

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The Department of Parks and Wildlife in Malawi says 45 hippopotamuses have died at Liwonde National Park since October.

The hippos are dying due to an outbreak of Anthrax at the national park which is home to about 1,900 hippos.

According to Director of Parks and Wildlife, Brighton Kumchedwa, 12 hippos have died since December 5.  Kumchedwa however noted that the number of recorded deaths per day is now decreasing.

“In the past, we could register five deaths daily but now the last recorded was on December 24 and the previous one was on December 19,” he said.

He added that the tourism at the park is still thriving despite the deaths which are  only happening along Shire River banks of the park.

According to Kumchedwa, to avoid further spread of the disease the department cover carcasses with lime and bury them.

“We were advised that burning the carcasses actually increases the spread of the [of the infection],” he said.

The Department of National Parks and Wildlife first noticed carcasses of hippos floating on Shire River in Liwonde on October 10 this year. In November, the death toll was at 22.

Kumchedwa said it is the first time in Malawi for a lot of hippos to die in a short period of time.

Earlier this month, government warned Malawians about the disease and urged people to refrain from grazing domestic animals in infected areas, avoid touching, opening or eating dead wild animals and avoid slaughtering sick animals for consumption.

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