...DISEASE FREE BUFFALO...
Disease free BUFFALO refers to selected disease free buffalo. In Southern Africa diseases like Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) are diseases causing great economic losses and subsequently FMD are also managed internationally by the "O I E" - World organization for animal health (www.oie.int). The strict monitoring and protocols to be followed in a FMD zone ensures that diseases are not transferred from one area to another area. Typically 3x zones would exist, the infected zone, the fascination zone and then finally the monitoring zone. Also referred to as the red, yellow and blue zones.
- Buffalo and the relevant diseases.
Buffalo in Southern Africa's world famous Kruger National Park are carriers of Foot and Mouth Disease. The BUFFALO do not die from the disease but can spread the disease. Current legislation in South Africa specifically requires BUFFALO to be free / clean of the following diseases before the group or individual animal is moved from its current location:
- Foot and Mouth Disease
- Corridor Disease
Wildlife Producers wanting to move BUFFALO will typically quarantine the group of animals, blood samples will be taken and tested for the presence of the above mentioned diseases and the animals will stay in isolation until the results are made available. When animals are declared clean the details of the animals will be taken and recorded by the State Veterinarian Service Department. Micro chips well be installed in the BUFFALO to ensure animals can be traced and identified and traced back to a source when ever more detail on data is required.
- Breeding Projects
Breeding projects came into existence due to the demand by Wildlife Producers for clean buffalo. The Wildlife Industry in South Africa is very well established and a profitable business.
I do not intend to explain the complete process of taking buffalo and developing a clean herd from it with the relevant phased approach followed. What is more important is to expose our readers to the quality of the BUFFALO available in South Africa amongst clean herds.
Numerous buffalo are hunted every year in South Africa with horn size reaching 40 inches and above on regular basis. I am not an advocate of the tape measure club at all. Buffalo hunting is always a privilege and very enjoyable. Professional Hunters will not present inferior quality animals to their clients, it is downright unethical. A person doing so will end up with no client.
Take a look at the photos taken of the breeding herd of Mbogo Wildlife Ranch in the Theunissen District in the Free State, South Africa.
The BUFFALO bull on top shows a heavy set boss. It is a myth that clean buffalo are not producing heavy structured horns. The picture in the middle shows a cow. Notice the ear tag in the cow's ear. Personally I think the authors stating that clean buffalo are not having good horn structure are confused by immature bulls and cows. The bull below is still young and already shows very good quality and potential for producing horns above the forty inch mark!
Disease Free BUFFALO are not domesticated animals! Bank on it and be aware of it. If you act like and try to be brave these BUFFALO will kill you - guaranteed. It must be the second biggest myth going around about disease free buffalo. Disease free buffalo are not "tame". Any procedure performed on these disease free BUFFALO is done by a Veterinarian and the animals are tranquillised. There is no question in my mind about taking a client on a Buffalo Safari where it is a clean herd. In fact when I listen to the experiences of other Professional Hunters in neighbouring countries it is no option for me to even consider walking around for 11x days not seeing any descent BUFFALO bulls!
- Way forward
Political instability and the ever increasing pressure for land in Africa will ensure that wildlife is desecrated. The days of massive herds of plains game and buffalo are over for good. Initiatives like this one mentioned of Mbogo Wildlife Ranch on clean BUFFALO will be the only hope for the future. Many parks are poached way beyond sustainability and the will and effort by the powers to be does not exist to control these highly organized poaching efforts. Bush meat is no longer a term used for poaching and senseless killing; sadly it is used to glorify the pathetic food shortages of people in Africa.
We need to develop more breeding ranches for disease free BUFFALO in order to ensure that the gene pool of the specie is diverse and stays healthy at all times.
I would like to thank all that contribute to the success of the disease free Buffalo;
Veterinary Services; Nature Conservation; Wildlife Veterinaries; professional hunters; Journalist’s and the Buffalo breeders.