• Schools Education
  • Students Research
  • Zoo or Aquarium
  • BIAZA Membership
  • Corporate Membership
Jan 1, 2008

Grevy's Zebra Anthrax

Grevy's zebra anthrax response from Marwell Wildlife   

Threatened by competition with domestic livestock, habitat degradation and, in some areas, unsustainable hunting, Grevy’s zebra (Equus zebra) has suffered a rapid collapse in range and numbers.  

From an estimated 15,000 in the late 1970s, there are now only between 1,700 and 2,100 animals left with many living in small, fragmented populations. The largest contiguous population occurs in the northern rangelands of Kenya.

In December 2005, an outbreak of anthrax was confirmed in this area, causing deaths in domestic livestock and wildlife alike, but disproportionately affecting equids. By the end of February 2006, it was estimated that over 100 Grevy’s zebras had died of anthrax. Left unchecked, this rate of mortality was predicted to result in catastrophic losses amongst this important population.

The plight of this important Grevy’s zebra population triggered an emergency response by local and international stakeholders. Following recommendations from wildlife and anthrax epidemiologists, an emergency vaccination of Grevy’s zebras was planned and donor funding sought.The safety and efficacy of the anthrax vaccine for Grevy’s zebras was tested under controlled conditions at the Lewa Wildlife Conservancy. With positive results, an operation to vaccinate the affected population was then undertaken.

The vaccine was successfully delivered by injection dart from the ground or by helicopter to 620 out of a population of approximately 1,000 Grevy’s zebras. All individuals treated were identified by age and sex class, and their unique stripe pattern for future monitoring. Grevy’s zebra mortality due to anthrax reduced post-vaccination, while the disease continued to affect plain’s zebra and livestock.

Monitoring efforts are ongoing and contingency plans in place to address any further outbreaks. 

Developed by:  Marwell Wildlife 


Text size A A A

T +44 (0) 20 7449 6599
E admin@biaza.org.uk

Paignton Zoo's Great Big Rhino Project has made crucial donations of cash to wildlife conservation on two continents. The Project is to give £60,000 to support work in Africa and South East Asia to protect rhinos in the wild. More

Collaborative research by the Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust, Bristol Zoological Society and the Comorian NGO Dahari has revealed the Livingstone’s fruit bat is likely to be the most endangered fruit bat in the world. 


New data released by WWF and ZSL (Zoological Society of London) today reveals that overall global vertebrate populations are on course to decline by an average of 67 per cent from 1970 levels by the end of this decade, unless urgent action is taken to reduce humanity’s impact on species and ecosystems.


Bookmark and Share