Masai residents of Loliondo District pose with their dog, vaccinated as part of the Serengeti Health Initiative.
Vaccination season 2013 is off to a running start! We kicked off the process in Loliondo District east of Serengeti National Park. Our Serengeti Health Initiative team is vaccinating domestic dogs and cats there for rabies, canine distemper and parvovirus.
Loliondo is very special. Unlike the other districts in our vaccination program, the villages there cover large areas of rough terrain. Homes, or “bomas”, are spaced far apart from one another, making it very difficult for dog owners to bring their dogs to one central vaccination location.
So we bring the vaccines to the dogs! Our team sets out early in the morning, navigating over hills, around boulders and through rivers, walking several miles each day from boma to boma vaccinating hundreds of dogs.
The Masai are pastoralists that herd cattle, goats, and sheep over Loliondo’s vast and difficult terrain.
It’s quite the workout, but well worth it to protect Serengeti’s people, domestic animals and wildlife from devastating diseases such as rabies.
Research Coordinator Anna Czupryna studies domestic dog population dynamics near Tanzania’s Serengeti National Park. Her work is one part of a zoo-led vaccination campaign that protects the region’s people, pets and predators.