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Cattle transhumance and agropastoral nomadic herding practices in Central Cameroon
- Motta, Paolo, Porphyre, Thibaud, Hamman, Saidou M., Morgan, Kenton L., Ngwa, Victor Ngu, Tanya, Vincent N., Raizman, Eran, Handel, Ian G., Bronsvoort, Barend Mark
- BMC veterinary research 2018 v.14 no.1 pp. 214
- animal health, cattle, control methods, dry season, grazing, herding, infectious diseases, livestock production, migratory behavior, questionnaires, resting periods, risk, transhumance, veterinary medicine, wild animals, Cameroon
- BACKGROUND: In sub-Saharan Africa, livestock transhumance represents a key adaptation strategy to environmental variability. In this context, seasonal livestock transhumance also plays an important role in driving the dynamics of multiple livestock infectious diseases. In Cameroon, cattle transhumance is a common practice during the dry season across all the main livestock production zones. Currently, the little recorded information of the migratory routes, grazing locations and nomadic herding practices adopted by pastoralists, limits our understanding of pastoral cattle movements in the country. GPS-tracking technology in combination with a questionnaire based-survey were used to study a limited pool of 10 cattle herds from the Adamawa Region of Cameroon during their seasonal migration, between October 2014 and May 2015. The data were used to analyse the trajectories and movement patterns, and to characterize the key animal health aspects related to this seasonal migration in Cameroon. RESULTS: Several administrative Regions of the country were visited by the transhumant herds over more than 6 months. Herds travelled between 53 and 170 km to their transhumance grazing areas adopting different strategies, some travelling directly to their destination areas while others having multiple resting periods and grazing areas. Despite their limitations, these are among the first detailed data available on transhumance in Cameroon. These reports highlight key livestock health issues and the potential for multiple types of interactions between transhumant herds and other domestic and wild animals, as well as with the formal livestock trading system. CONCLUSION: Overall, these findings provide useful insights into transhumance patterns and into the related animal health implications recorded in Cameroon. This knowledge could better inform evidence-based approaches for designing infectious diseases surveillance and control measures and help driving further studies to improve the understanding of risks associated with livestock movements in the region.