Over 100 livestock perish in drought hit areas

A cows carcass in Pangani village in Lamu. PHOTO: NATASHA NEMA.

Lamu, KENYA: At least 100 heads of livestock have perished in areas hard hit by the ravaging drought in Lamu County in the last two months.

Lumshi and Pangani areas in Witu are leading in the mortalities.

County Veterinary Officer Gichohi Mathenge said the biggest challenge is tsetse fly transmitted tryapanosomiasis disease (Gandi) that is causing increased mortalities in drought affected livestock.

Herders in Pangani,Lumshi,Chalaluma,Dide Waride and Hongwe areas that are worst hit in Lamu said their livestock mainly portray symptoms of fatigue,weakness after which they collapse and die.

The herders have expressed worry of losing all their livestock is the current situations persists and are now urging for aid in terms livestock feeds and drugs in order to help them deal with the situation.

According to County vet Gichohi Mathenge, samples taken from cattle in late January in affected areas were sent to the Central Veterinary Laboratories in Kabete to see if there are any other notifiable livestock diseases and that results are still being awaited.

Mathenge said there is an increase of tsetse flies owing to the drought situation which has greatly increased deaths of livestock apart from the obvious lack of food and water for the animals.

“We are currently trying to immunize the remaining animals but the challenge is that it’s hard to do so on an animal that’s already infected or on the verge of dying but we are trying our best,” said Mathenge.

The vet urged herders to be on the lookout and report to his office any weird symptoms they might witness in their livestock in order to allow for prompt interventions.