Unvaccinated Dogs are a Big Threat to Wildlife and Humans
Rabies is a very fatal zoonotic disease shared by both animals and humans with very low chances of survival once infected. This virus is a principal concern for the communities adjacent to the Mara National Reserve, which is inhabited by 450 animal species. Through mass dog vaccinations, rabies in dogs can be eliminated over time and can therefore eradicate the threat to wildlife and communities in the Mara.
In recent years, there has been a significant increase in the number of encounters with wild dogs in the grasslands of Mara. Due to this, rabies and distemper outbreaks have decimated the population of wildlife, leaving the ecosystem void of Africa’s heritage.
The communities that inhabit the Trans Mara district keep roughly 10,000 dogs for livestock herding as well as household protection. From time to time, these unvaccinated dogs come into contact with both humans and wildlife, increasing the threat of rabies transmission to both populations.
The human population continues to spread on the periphery of the reserve, raising a concern of shared responsibility by animal welfare organizations and wildlife conservationists - who must do everything in their power to protect the indigenous wildlife.
APAA and Wildlife Conservationists Efforts in Rabies Elimination
In 2015, the world called for action by setting a goal of zero human dog-mediated rabies deaths by 2030. For the first time, four organizations – the World Health Organizaton (WHO), the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE), the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the Global Alliance for Rabies Control (GARC) – joined forces, as the United Against Rabies Collaboration with the determination to reach this goal.
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), an estimated 59,000 people die from rabies each year, 40% of whom are children living in Africa. Those whose relatives or friends have died from attacks by rabid dogs can attest that vaccinations are very crucial. APAA hence believes that rabies is 100% preventable by increasing awareness and vaccinating dogs to prevent the disease.
It is in this backdrop that APAA in collaboration with KESCAVA, Enonkishu conservancy, and other animal welfare organizations have come together to conduct the free Mara mass rabies vaccinations, in order to eliminate rabies by 2030 and save the wild population.
A Call to Action
In an effort to eliminate rabies, we are urging the residents of Mara North to come out in large numbers to have their dogs vaccinated. This will go a long way in reducing the number of animal and human rabies-related deaths by 2030.
These vaccinations are taking place between the 16th and 20th of February 2022. Go and get your dog vaccinated during the Mara Vaccinations and help end the spread of rabies in Kenya.