A aquatic biomonitoring survey was carried out in September in the Kruger and the results were troublesome because it revealed that the crocodile found between the western boundary and high-water bridge in the Olifants River are highly emancipated.
Dr Eddie Riddell, who is the manager of aquatic biodiversity in the Kruger National Park said, ‘A few individual emaciated crocodiles were noticed along the Olifants River and that is typically not seen in a normal year. But obviously the Kruger is very sensitive to the fact we had a big die-off of crocodiles down in the gorge due to pansteatitis.’
While speaking to IOL, Dr Eddie Riddled believes that the cause wasn’t pansteatitis “It’s probably due to problems in the aquatic food chain. And again, there are probably a multitude of reasons, one being that the river is under stress because we’re in this five-year drought period,” he said.
Pansteatitis, also known as yellow fat disease, is a physiological condition in which the body fat becomes inflamed.
“The primary productivity in the aquatic food chain is probably being compromised to a certain extent and again we’re not quite sure, but the suspicion would be that we had a very late start to the rainy season last year.
“We’re getting elevated salts in the system because we’re dealing with these extremely low flows continuously over the past few years and the pollution effect that comes from upstream, whether it’s in the Selati, which is next to us, or even the larger catchment.
“I think what we’re seeing now is a suite of multiple stressors impacting on the ecosystem.” He told IOL.
Read: Lubyelubye pride and Mazithi males come face to face with a crocodile here.