Anthrax killed more than 100 hippos in Namibia, officials say

Anthrax is a disease which is caused when bacterial spores which can survive in water or soil for years enter the body and start producing toxins

Over 100 hippos were found dead in the National Park within Namibia in an incident that has not been seen yet in the country. "Our veterinary services are now working at the area to determine the cause of death ... but the signs so far show that it could be anthrax", Namibia's environment minister says, per the Guardian.

"Our veterinary services are now working at the area to determine the cause of death".

"Over 100 hippos died in the past week".

"The widespread mortality may be a result of the communal scavenging or "cannibalism" of carcasses of anthrax-killed hippos by other hippos", biosecurity and agriculture analyst Joseph Dudley told the New Scientist at the time.

Anthrax, a bacterial disease, is known to kill cattle and even human beings especially in arid conditions.

Pictures from the range demonstrate many dead hippos - some on their backs - lying in streams with low water levels.

It's now unclear if there have been more deaths than the reported 109, as local wildlife such as crocodiles and vultures have been consuming the bodies. The toll is expected to go up as some of the carcasses could have been eaten by crocodiles in the area.

The hippo population in Namibia was estimated at 1 300 before the latest deaths. One service official said Namibia had never observed anything like this.

In 2004, an outbreak of anthrax left at least 180 hippos dead in Uganda.

He also said they are now monitoring the situation, and that the dead hippos are yet to be disposed of.

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