Administered through the Manyara Ranch, the 30,000 vaccine doses target to safeguard mostly goats and sheep in the precinct, from the deadly ‘Peste des Petits Ruminants,’ (PPR) virus which according to veterinary experts, usually cause sheep and goats plague.
It was stated during the vaccination exercise at Manyara Ranch, that PPR happens to be a highly contagious animal disease affecting domestic and small wild ruminants, being caused by a virus belonging to the genus Morbillivirus, family Paramixoviridae.
“Once introduced, the virus can infect up to 90 percent of animals in particular heard, with the disease being able to kill up to 70 percent of infected animals,” pointed out Dr Raphael Mwampashi, the acting officer in charge of the Zonal Veterinary Research Centre in Arusha.
The officer explained that PPR was among the 13 diseases that the Tanzanian government through the Ministry of Livestock and fisheries has prioritized in its national livestock vaccination drive.
"In order to conduct successful vaccination exercise, we have been compelled to go through the Manyara Ranch management in order to reduce any resistance from community members who usually don’t trust outside intervention regarding their kept animals,” added Dr Mwampashi.
As it happens, the Manyara ranch, whose conservation programs are coordinated by the African Wildlife Foundation, has hatched good, mutual cooperation with the surrounding communities, making it easier to collectively manage the health of the livestock populations in the precinct.
The Tanzania office for the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organizations (FAO) has identified the Manyara Ranch as one of its Implementers in the ongoing FAO Livestock Vaccination Campaign.
Mapped within 48,000 hectares striding mostly Monduli and Babati Districts of Arusha and Manyara regions, the Manyara Ranch established back in 2001 is supported by the African Wildlife Foundation (AWF) and plays a vital role in conserving the wildlife corridor as well as taking proper care of livestock belong to local communities living in the area.
"There is a high rate of interactions between livestock and wildlife at the Manyara Ranch,” explained Pastor Magingi, the Program Manager for the African Wildlife Foundation in Tanzania.
According to Pastor Magingi, vaccinated goats and sheep in the precinct will reduce the spread of the disease and create safer conditions for both domesticated and wild ruminants grazing or passing through the corridor.
Manyara Ranch is a mixed-use ranch, hosting key wildlife populations including Lions, Elephants, Zebras and wild ruminants, while also hosting a thriving commercial livestock program currently consisting of more than 840 herds of cattle and 540 sheep.
“The ranch also supports the livestock menagerie from two neighboring communities, Oltukai and Esilalei, with pasture and water points during the dry season. In addition, the local grazers benefit from improved cattle breeds under AWF assistance,” explained Lemaly Sigir Ole Kibinti, the Deputy Ranch Manager.
The ranch also plays the role of protecting the wildlife corridor, which is an important animals’ passage connecting Tarangire and Lake Manyara National Parks.
A representative of Esilali and Oltukai Villages, Lelia Medoti said that in conjunction with local communities, the AWF has successfully cut down poaching and illegal harvesting of natural resources in the area
"We have benefited from this vaccination exercise and from AWF's management of the ranch. Wildlife populations have recovered and the ranch is well-maintained and clean. We appreciate the livestock operations on the ranch which have helped to improve the communities' livestock herds, thereby improving the health of the ecosystem at large," said Medoti.