- JOHANNESBURG, South Africa (AP) -- Lions at Kruger National Park are dying
of tuberculosis so widespread and severe that the entire population is
at risk, the Sunday Times reported.
- Lions catch the incurable disease, to
which they have no natural resistance, from infected buffalo, scientists
said. It weakens and emaciates them, leading to death.
- "Lions are dying like flies"
and every one could be dead within 10 years, Dr. Johan Krige, deputy director
of the Department of Agriculture, was quoted as saying Sunday.
- Lions tested in the southern part of
the 4,000-square-mile wild game park, located about four hours' drive from
Johannesburg, showed an infection rate of 90 percent. Scientists said most
of those would die.
- There are several hundred lions in the
- Park officials were considering isolating
the lions by constructing a fence dividing the park in two -- or killing
infected animals to try and protect healthy ones.
- Tests show that herds of buffalo are
infected with TB, which also has been diagnosed in cheetah, baboons and
- A recent study of lions disclosed there
are only about 12 left in an sprawling area of the park that was home to
at least twice that many in 1995, and 67 in 1974. Scientists said the most
likely cause of death was TB.
- In neighboring parts of the park, 34
emaciated lions tested in 1995 showed that 29 were terminally ill with
TB. In another area, 32 of 33 lions tested were infected.