21 January 2019

Namibia: Predators Attack 30 Goats in Oshikoto

Photo: The Namibian
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Creatures that allegedly suck blood from livestock have attacked animals at two villages in the north of the country, killing 30 goats so far this year.

The attacks that have been occurring since 2000 in the north are consistent with what scientists call surplus killing, excessive killing or henhouse syndrome where a predator kills more than they can immediately eat and then they either cache or they abandon the remainder.

The first incident where 18 goats were attacked occurred on 10 January at Uukwanambwa, and the second one was on Friday at the Amuteya village in the area of Onyaanya district in the Oshikoto region.

The Friday attack left two of Helena Amukanda's goats dead and three others with broken jaws.

Another resident, Linea Aron, from the same village had seven goats attacked. One died, while others sustained deep cuts.

The Namibian could not get details on the attacks at the Uukwanambwa village.

Olga Kamati, who lives in Amukanda's house, said the state veterinarian who visited the village advised them to kill the injured goats and burn the meat.

"This is not the first time that our goats are being killed by strange animals. This also happened about two years back. Sometimes, the creatures bite the goats on the knees. This time around, they broke the jaws.

"We are tired of these animals. We do not know what type of animals they are. Normally, they kill livestock in the kraals, but last night they killed goats sleeping in the bush," Kamati said.

The Oshikoto region's veterinarian, Reinhold Haimbodi, confirmed to The Namibian that some of the wounded goats could be treated, but some had to be killed.

"Others had a knee bone fracture and low jaw fracture, and could not be treated. We told the family to kill the animals and burn the meat," Haimbodi said.

The environment ministry's deputy director for the north-central region,s Rehabeam Erckie, said it is scientifically difficult to state what type of animal it is as these animals are not seen, and no one has concrete information.

"Scientifically, these things attacking the goats in that manner are not part of the wildlife we know. It is important to understand the history of these mysterious animals. People have been guessing, but according to history, these things are not seen".

Erckie said the difference between a mysterious animal and predator species is that predator species eat meat (flesh), while these mysterious animals seem to only suck blood.

"These species normally occur close to the rainy season. We still need the communities to help us carry out more research and to get to the bottom of what this species is," he added.

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