An Overview of Disease-Free Buffalo Breeding Projects with Reference to the Different Systems Used in South Africa
This paper describes the successful national program initiated by the South African government to produce disease-free African buffalo so as to ensure the sustainability of this species due to threats from diseases. Buffalo are known carriers of foot-and-mouth disease, bovine tuberculosis, Corridor disease and brucellosis. A long-term program involving multiphase testing and a breeding scheme for buffalo is described where, after 10 years, a sustainable number of buffalo herds are now available that are free of these four diseases. A large portion of the success was attributable to the use of dairy cows as foster parents with the five-stage quarantine process proving highly effective in maintaining the â€œdisease-freeâ€ status of both the calves and the foster cows. The projects proved the successfulness of breeding with African buffalo in a commercial system that was unique to African buffalo and maintained the â€œwildnessâ€ of the animals so that they could effectively be released back into the wild with minimal, if any, behavioral problems.
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