Rabies outbreaks. Rabies occurs in domestic dog populations in villages that are adjacent to wildlife areas. Spillover into wildlife happens if domestic rabies vaccination campaigns are not totally effective. Our CWF member PDC vaccinates many domestic dogs near HNP annually. However, cases in wildlife continued to rise with five Honey Badger deaths and a Hyena now confirmed as positive in 2018. PDC tragically lost an entire known pack of Wild Dogs in their study area last year. In addition a Hwange Lion Research staff member encountered a rabid domestic dog inside HNP recently, which a ZPWMA ranger destroyed and CWF sampled. CWF has official sample kits from the government’s Central Veterinary Laboratory now operational in Hwange and all cases are submitted either directly or via our collaborators at VFWT Vet Lab in Vic Falls. Rabies is a national notifiable disease. Our manager and Field Ops manager and involved staff are qualified and trained to safely take samples the correct samples required by Government and other laboratories.
CWF funds these field collection kits and materials, and the necessary transport to the nearest lab for investigation. CWF manager has given informative talks to educate different Hwange stakeholders about Rabies to allay many misconceptions about the disease.
In addition, CWF Manager Dr Richard Hoare has recently facilitated a foreign veterinarian with her own full funding for a PhD study starting in 2019, to investigate the rabies problem and its control around Hwange. This is in collaboration with our CWF member PDC who will accommodate her at PDC in Hwange and assist with her permits etc, and arrange for her to supervise PDC’s already extensive rabies vaccination campaigns in communal land villages around Hwange.
CWF has arranged for the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Zimbabwe to collaborate (through the Dean who was approached). This project which will also involve government Veterinary Dept personnel in Hwange, and Victoria Falls Wildlife Trust Vet Lab.