Eko-Ondersoek: African Horse Sickness
Beautiful and majestic horses reduced to hobbling, feverish animals frothing from the nose and close to death. This is what characterises African Horse Sickness (AHS) in South Africa. It is a highly infectious disease that is transmitted by a small fly called a Culicoides Midge. Zebras are resistant to the disease but are the main carriers of the virus and flies can easily transmit it from wild zebras to nearby horses. The disease has been around since horses were introduced to South Africa in the 17th century. The Eko Ondersoek team is contracted by a community support group called AHS Challenge who say that they want to help minimise the impact of the disease by educating horse owners in South Africa. The team also investigates the vaccines available through the Animal Diseases ACT as well as unlicensed vaccines like the one referred to as the “inactive field isolate”. How can the public be educated about which vaccines to use and to take control measures such as preventing horses from being bitten by the Culicoides Midge? Join us to find out!
World Food Day
The 16 October is World Food Day and is commemorated this year against the stark backdrop of almost 870 million chronically undernourished people worldwide. In South Africa, nearly half of our fresh produce is wasted every year before it even reaches the shelves and this while one in four South Africans is food insecure. Something we don’t think of often is the fact that this food wastage also wastes a huge portion of our fresh water and contributes to global warming through methane gas emissions. In an interview with Dr Suzan Oelofse from the CSIR we investigate why millions of tons of produced food goes to waste in the face of great need! Then we take a look at the EduPlant programme which implements sustainable food growing at schools around South Africa. This form of sustainable living is a great answer to the food security issues in our country.
Elephant Seal Rescue – Marine Week
An emaciated baby elephant seal, found stranded and close to death at Southbroom, along the KZN South Coast, may become the first of its kind to be fully rehabilitated. This unfortunate pup mysteriously found its way to KZN, thousands of kilometres from its natural habitat in the sub Antarctic. Before it can be released the 70kg pup has to moult and reach over 180kgs, which will mean feeding it 12 kgs of fish and calamari a day. This will all be done in a specially chilled pool at uShaka Sea World in Durban. We investigate why this seal roamed so far from its home and how successful its rehabilitation is going to be.
If you are an avid birder, watch closely tonight because it’s all about birds! We find a honeyguide that adopts a mother, some over-eager grey-headed bush-shrikes, hygienic oystercatchers, and a few species that bite off a little more than they can chew!