Cattle Plague pp 639-657 | Cite as

The Effect of the Panzootic on African Game

  • C. A. Spinage


About 1894, Heinrich Fonck, station commander at Moshi, wrote of Tanzania that one could “wander about the colony for the next ten years without seeing any more wild life than in two hours at the Berlin zoo” (Fonck, 1910). But in spite of the accounts of destruction of game in Africa, contemporary reports of sportsmen and travelers reveal that either the effects were not as catastrophic as painted or most species recovered their numbers remarkably quickly, even though before the disease was passing into South Africa in 1896 it had already begun to re-erupt in areas it had passed through as little as 4 years previously. It is conjectured that this recrudescence was caused by the virus becoming attenuated and smouldering on in an enzootic form in these localities. But when observers enthused over the quantities of game, this often included species unaffected by rinderpest, such as rhinoceros, elephant, and lion, references to which I have largely omitted from quotations of contemporary observers, with the exception of zebra, a species closely linked with the presence of wildebeest.


Large Herd Small Herd White Rhinoceros Contemporary Observer Blue Wildebeest 
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  1. 1.
    In 1970, the total number of topi at Ishasha was estimated to be 3,796, with more than 2,000 in one aggregation (Jewell, 1972).Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    In 1968–9, estimated numbers from ground counts were buffalo 6,100, impala 31,475, topi 8,425, zebra 5,525, eland 1,075, and roan 150 (Spinage et al., 1972).Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    In the late 1970s, the estimated number of sable in the Shimba Hills was 200–250 (East, 1988).Google Scholar

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© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2003

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  • C. A. Spinage

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