52 buffalo have been found dead by Zambian Wildlife Authority (ZAWA) officers during their tour along the Musa River in the southern part of Kafue National Park. At a vast 22,400km2, Kafue is Zambia’s largest game reserve and is found in the Itezhi Tezhi district of Central Province.
Most of the dead buffalo carcasses were floating in the Musa River itself but have since been taken by people from some of the local communities.
Local District Commissioner George Sichula confirmed that a stampede took place on Friday the 1st of August. He said “the 52 buffaloes were found dead in the Kafue National Park along Musa River. They are believed to have died in a stampede and ZAWA officers are investigating the cause of the stampede”.
ZAWA spokesman Readith Muliyunda said that the number of dead buffaloes could in fact be higher than those counted. “We suspect that some might have been eaten by crocodiles,” he said. He also said that it was unusual for a stampede to cause so many deaths
However, this is the third time since 2009 that a large number of buffaloes have died in similar fashion at the same location. In August 2012, a stampede killed 81 buffalo.
Buffalo usually move in herds of about a thousand and tend to all run in the same direction if disturbed, thereby causing a stampede.
Kafue is home to thousands of Cape buffalo.