The Africa Report: 12 September

EWN’s Africa correspondent Jean-Jacques Cornish reports on the day’s top African news

Cape Vultures. Picture: Commons Wikipedia

POACHING PUTS VULTURES UNDER THREAT

The negative effect of the illegal elephant and rhino poaching in Africa has extended its grasp to vultures who are being killed by poisoned carcasses.

When poachers attack elephants and rhinos, they poison the carcasses so that the vultures do not alert game wardens to the location of poaching activity.

It is estimated that a poisoned carcass kills approximately 600 vultures, as was the case with a July incident near Namibia's Bwabwata National Park where a poisoned elephant carcass killed hundreds of vultures.

The Namibian vulture breeding species has since been brought to extinction.

Africa's largest vulture population is the Cape Vulture of which there are only about 3 500 breeding pairs left in the wild and under 10 000 individuals in only two countries, South Africa and Botswana.

Vultures have the ability to prevent the spread of diseases so there is a knock-on effect for humans as illustrated by the increased presence of rabies in Asia due to the near-extinction of their vulture population.

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NEW MENINGITIS VACCINE IN AFRICA

A new vaccine, MenAfricVac, is offering new hope to the "meningitis belt" of north-central Africa after it proved to be 94% effective.

On Thursday, doctors reported that within the three areas they had vaccinated in Chad, the number of cases of the potentially fatal disease was reduced by 94%.

The risk of transmitting the disease was reduced by 98%.

MenAfriVac, the vaccination developed for use across the belt, is the product of the Meningitis Vaccine Project who were granted $70 million by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to develop a meningococcal conjugate vaccine.

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KENYA'S NEWLY DISCOVERED WATER SOURCE

The discovery of two previously unknown aquifers in Kenya's arid Turkana region has brought hope to a region riddled with droughts.

The Kenyan government have stated that this find of the huge water source in the north could supply the country for 70 years.

Namibia, the driest country in Africa, found an aquifer of their own recently and the Kenyan's new find was discovered using satellite and radar technology.