Disease is 'spurious' reason to close Bushmen's reserve- vet experts

September 16, 2005

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A group of internationally renowned veterinary experts have today dismissed as ’spurious' the Botswana government's given reason for the closure of the Gana and Gwi Bushmen's reserve.

The government claims it has closed the Central Kalahari Game Reserve (CKGR) due to an outbreak of the disease sarcoptic mange in the Bushmen's goats. But in a letter published today in the Botswana newspaper Mmegi, the veterinary scientists claim, ’This disease, while potentially serious in some populations, can be very easily treated in domestic animals with modern drugs.'

’Adequate control of infectious diseases in livestock is critically important, but measures should be proportionate and removing the animals from the park cannot be justified on grounds of disease control in this case.'

The group includes Professor Lord Soulsby of Swaffham Prior, and Ivan Horak, Emeritus Professor of Veterinary Tropical Diseases at Onderstepoort University, South Africa.

The Bushman organization First People of the Kalahari said in a press release on Tuesday, ’The government of Botswana is seriously evicting and fighting the Bushmen of the CKGR. Police and members of the armed forces are all over the CKGR, and are harassing and threatening the people.'

There are reports today that police have shot one Bushman in the hand.

Photos and footage available. For more information contact Miriam Ross on (+44) (0)20 7687 8734 or email [email protected]

To read the veterinary experts' letter, click here