For over a year it has been observed that some animals are being infested by ticks to a level raising concern. Some animals if not spotted early and early treatment instituted death is inevitable. Kigio W.C. is the home of endangered Rothschild giraffe where it thrives very well. Severe tick infestation was first noted in elands’ ears. Later it was noted in few common zebras. This was last year during dry period. The severely infested ones were either euthanized if spotted late or found dead. The ones spotted early were treated and recovered. This year as dry period seem to set in due to long rain failure tick infestation has resurfaced this time on common zebra. At least one case has been witnessed in month of July.
Pathology of Tick Infestation
It has been observed that the infested animals suffer immensely both socially and physiologically. Animals become isolated from the herds, they become partially blind ramming into objects resulting in self-inflicted injuries, organ mutilation especially ears, circling, inco-ordinated movements, loss of balance and gait, listlessness, frequent head shaking and ear flapping, plunging into gullies/gorges.
The infestation leads to wound myiasis particularly of the ears. Severely infested individuals are euthanized while less infested animals are treated but left with deformed organs especially ears.
It is feared that with increased tick population and as different animal species are infested it will be disastrous if Rothschild giraffe is infested. Intervention can be put in place to reduce tick population to tolerable levels
1.The conservancy to construct a dip and establish/introduce a herd of cattle. Cattle will help to collect ticks as they graze within the conservancy after which they will be dipped in plunge dip. With effective dipping regime tick population will be controlled in a repetitive manner probably weekly.
2. Alternatively community around the conservancy could be allowed to graze in the Conservancy. This must run concurrently with effective dipping regime within the community or otherwise the conservancy to have its own dip in which community cattle will be dipped.
3. Burning is another way but with unpredictable rainfall amount and its poor distribution this will affect pasture regeneration time and thus it is not preferred for the time being.