21 July 2017 - NW1581
Singh, Mr N to ask the Minister of Environmental Affairs
Whether research has been, or will be, conducted in respect of the possible transference of tuberculosis from lions to humans, as there may be substantial health risks for employees in the lion hunting industry in particular (details furnished); if so, what are the full relevant details?
The bacterium causing Bovine Tuberculosis (BTb) is an intracellular bacteria, mainly residing in the lungs and associated tissues. In South Africa, it is maintained primarily in cattle, with specific populations of buffalo and kudu also acting as maintenance hosts, with spill over into various other wildlife species, including lions in those specific areas been documented (including the greater Kruger Complex and Hluhluwe Imfolozi Game Reserve). The disease is under state veterinary (Department of Agriculture) control and there is currently an active test and slaughter policy for BTb in cattle. In addition, certain wildlife areas and properties in the country are also identified as being BTb infected, and are therefore placed under quarantine. All animal movement out of such areas are subject to 2 negative Tb tests. If lions are hunted in an area that is infected with BTb, then those hunts and processing of the trophies/skins thereof will be under strict state veterinary supervision. These carcasses will remain on the infected farm and be inspected by the state vet and disposed of appropriately. All BTb infected properties and areas will need to have in place a risk assessment and management plan for mitigating disease transmission (including to humans) that have been approved by the Department of Agriculture. For any further details on the research relating to this matter, the National Department of Agriculture would be in a better position to respond.