Last year we had an outbreak of Canine Distemper Virus In domesticated and feral dogs of Kasane, Botswana. In 4 years of service to the community I had not seen one case of this explosively deadly disease. I negotiated with relevant authorities for 9 weeks to try and get some support to vaccinate dogs. The main issue for me was that this is extremely contagious to the wildlife predator population. Lions, Cape (painted) Wild Dogs, Hyenas, Jackals and Leopards are susceptible to this virus. In the interim during the negotiation, 3 cases in infection resulted in over 100 dogs that were affected and died. These corpses were thrown into the bush were hyenas scavenge every night, they sub sequentially got infected and took the virus to lions and other predators. Since sick animals go off to die it’s almost impossible to prove, as no carcasses were ever found or looked for.
Kasane is a unique ecosystem in that here we live in direct contact with wildlife. There are no fences or boundaries to separate us. It of course causes a lot of human wildlife conflict but not a subject for this current concern. A fact is that this last past dry winter when the ONLY water source is the Chobe River and ALL animals have to come daily to drink, the predators live by the river. Prey at this time is easy to catch and there is no reason for the lions and other predators to leave the waterfront. For the first time in over 30 years I have been visiting Chobe, there were 4 months, were no Lions were seen at waterfront. To my mind the only reason for that was they died of distemper.
I am currently applying for grants and have full backing from the Parks department to research what lion logistics are in this area. This will include satellite collar monitoring and full blood work for presence of antibodies to various diseases. I know in my heart that they will be positive for distemper exposure. In the interim 2 new prides of lions have moved in to Chobe probably migrating form Savuti or even Zimbabwe.
My PRIMARY concern is that I have to take immediate action and vaccinate all dogs in this community, as I did last year. TIME is f the essence as I need to purchase vaccines from South Africa and coordinate with all proper authorities to execute this vaccination. Dogs will be vaccinated with 5- in- one and also Rabies and dewormed. Tattoos will be placed in their ear to identify them for That was about $10 000.00 but that included blood works and all kinds of other expenses. I think I can get it done for about $5.00 /dog at an estimated cost of $5000.00
PLEASE THIS IS A SERIOUS ISSUE THAT CAN NOT WAIT TO BE EXECUTED. PLEASE DONATE WHAT YOU CAN SO I CAN GET THIS DONE. I HAVE NO OTHER SOURCE OF INCOME A THE MOMENT AND NEED YOUR HELP. You can donate through website, or if you like email me and I will send you bank account numbers in the USA and in Botswana. Let’s save suffering in hundreds of dogs and improve their quality of life and let’s prevent the spread into the wildlife population.
TIME IS OF THE ESSENCE.