Bwabwata — Environment minister, Pohamba Shifeta, last week visited the anthrax-affected areas in the Bwabwata National Park in Kavango East Region to assess the situation on the ground.
By Wednesday last week, 131 hippos that died from anthrax had been disposed and eight of the 20 buffalo that died had been disposed of. The ministry says more carcasses are being discovered through the clean up process.
"It looks like the situation is becoming normal now. Our officials have been disposing of some carcasses and I want to commend them because they have been doing so well. They have been working day and night to dispose these carcasses. It is really a huge task," Shifeta said.
"We still have some few carcasses there but they are slowly decomposing. We are trying to see if we can get some reinforcement from the NDF, especially the navy, as they have some equipment to assist us with. Our equipment can't get us through these streams, especially down to the island where many carcasses are also seen. I'm hopeful that within these two weeks we will maybe manage to dispose of everything if no more mass mortality is recorded," he added.
Shifeta flew over the park to get an aerial image of what is happening on the ground.
"I have taken an aerial view of the stretch here in the park from the Divundu Bridge to the Botswana border. Botswana also recorded six hippo carcasses, which means it did not happen on our side only. It also happened on the other side of Botswana. This river is contaminated, so we just want to caution residents around here that they shouldn't use or access anything from the river like food or even water from the river, because it is still contaminated," Shifeta added.
Shifeta said there are no reports of local people having eaten meat of the dead hippos. "We have to thank the community, as they have been very cooperative. Hippo meat is a delicacy, especially for people living along the river. They also ensured their livestock didn't come to the affected area," Shifeta said.