As if poaching and habitat encroachment weren’t enough, South African wildlife also face the threat of Tuberculosis. First diagnosed in African Buffalo, it then spread to baboons, lions and bushpig. More recently it has also effected leopards, *cheetahs, *wild dogs, honey badgers, mongooses, warthogs, kudu, nyala, bushbuck and *rhinos. (*endangered)
*Buffalos are a reservoir or maintenance host for TB. photo: Thomas Mukoya/REUTERS
All mammals are susceptible, and it spreads quickly throughout the ecosystems.
It directly impacts animal productivity and health, but the long-term consequences to their survival are yet unknown and in particular the direct effects on survival of endangered species is worrisome. Lions in particular have suffered a 35-75% decline from TB in current lion populations over the last two decades. (Professor Michele A Miller, Stennenbosch University)
Wildlife are not the only victims of TB. The disease originated in cattle; which in turn are used for human consumption. In 2013, it was the leading cause…