Suspected ‘Scrotal Hernia’ affects lion in Crater

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HERNIA, a disease which was previously thought to be the domain of male human beings, has just descended into Ngorongoro Crater, affecting large wild cats.

For the whole of this week, Wildlife Veterinary Officers in the Ngorongoro Conservation Area Authority (NCAA) have been hunting down a large male lion, which was discovered to suffer from a disease which, according to the experts, resembled either scrotal or umbilical hernia due to the bulging puffiness seen on the large carnivore’s lower parts of anatomy.

They managed to locate, dart and sedate the affected lion last Thursday afternoon, and according to one of the NCAA Public Relations Officers, Mr Nickson Nyange, officers together with experts from the Tanzania Wildlife Research Institute (TAWIRI) later set out to diagnose the lion, after which, the animal was subjected to undergo treatment through surgical operation right within the Caldera.

“We stayed on guard overnight, watching over the lion which remained under sedation for more than 12 hours,” reported Mr Nyange on Friday afternoon. However, the management of NCAA said it was early to state anything on the disease since they are waiting for the conclusive veterinary experts’ report on the progress before making an official statement on the malady which so far has affected a single lion in the crater.

Earlier on, ‘Omphalophlebitis,’ a condition which is also resulting from inflammation and infection of the umbilical vein, was suspected. While it is the first time for the malady to be seen in Tanzanian lions, some Kenyan elephants were reported to suffer from the condition before.

Despite its virile ferociousness, the lion is listed among the world’s endangered species, following recent realisations that the number of the wild carnivore was also dwindling fast. Still though, Tanzania has got a respectable population of the large cat within the country’s national parks. The Ngorongoro Crater itself is reported to be home to more than 60 lions among other wild cats, making it one of the densest known populations of East African lions.

However, experts have realised that the crater being a natural enclosure results into the lion population to be significantly inbred, since very small number of new bloodlines, in form of migrating lions, ever enter the crater.

Even the few new lions that get to descend into the caldera find it difficult to contribute to the local gene pool because they are often prevented from mating with crater female lions by the native cats that usually fight to expel any outside competitors.

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