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Tanzania Ruaha Buffalo Disease Study

With SCI Foundation’s help, the project is leading more in-depth research on health, ecology, herd movement, and habitat use of Ruaha’s African buffalos. Nothing was previously known about buffalo home ranges or seasonal movements, except that herds disappear from the park during the wet season and return to congregate at the Great Ruaha River during the dry season. This seasonal movement may overlap with pastoral livestock populations.

Species involved: Cape Buffalo

Project partners: UC Davis, Ruaha National Park

Total SCIF Investment: $65,000

Year SCIF began involvement: 2015 (Timeline: 2014-2018)

 

Project Objectives

1) Conduct a health assessment of up to 35 adult buffaloes from at least 3 herds within Ruaha National Park (RNP), which includes testing bovine tuberculosis, Brucellosis, Rift Valley fever virus, and various other blood-borne pathogens.

2) Quantify seasonal movement patterns for cape buffalo and determine ecological drivers for movements. 3) Identify high risk wildlife-livestock interface areas.

3) Collect population and demographic data on buffalo herds within RNP.

 

Anticipated Outcomes

This project seeks to identify the disease and other factors governing populations of Cape buffalo, one of the most desired hunted species in Africa. The results will be used to manage this population more effectively for sustainable use. The project also takes place in one of the largest remaining contiguous ecosystems in the African continent on a hunted species of international importance. It will help build in-country capacity for wildlife research and management.