Agri Kultuur January / January 2018 - Page 35

Wildlife held in the Kruger National Park. Nkululeko says it all started with small-scale studies that he conducted along with colleagues on the ecology and distribution of tick species in the Eastern Cape Province. “This led to the development of a much larger study that included localities with different agro-ecological zones, including aspects of animal management practices as well as veld management,” he remembers. Major research findings: climate change, animal movement is allowing ticks to change their distribution/to re-distribute He has since published ten research papers in peer- reviewed journals about his work – not bad for a newly graduated PhD. One of his first significant findings was that the alien pantropical blue tick (Rhipicephalus microplus), a parasite that originated in Asia has spread to Namibia. It probably piggybacked on livestock imported from South Africa. The tick is linked to tick fever (babesiosis), and gall sickness (anaplasmosis) in cattle. In his latest paper, published in the Journal of the South African Veterinary Association, he sets out how this tick has slowly but surely expanded its range across South Africa. It was previously thought to occur only in the northern and eastern parts of the country. Worryingly, Nyangiwe’s studies have shown that the pantropical blue tick is now also present throughout the coastal region of the Eastern Cape, as well as the north-eastern region of the Northern Cape province. One record was made for the Free State. In the Western Cape, it was found on animals from farms near Wellington, Stellenbosch and Kuilsriver. Many of these animals are part of breeding stocks that are regularly transported to and from the northern grassland and savanna regions of South Africa. Nkululeko Nyangiwe Photo credit Sonja Matthee AgriKultuur |AgriCulture 35