The birth of a “half-human and half-beast” creature has triggered fear among many of 4,000 inhabitants and farmers of Lady Frere village of South Africa, who think the creature has been “sent by the devil”.
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The panic was so intense that the Eastern Cape Department of Rural Development sent out experts to conduct tests after its pictures spread through the community.
Chief Director of Veterinary Services Dr Lubabalo Mrwebi admitted that at first glance the lamb – which was born dead – did resemble a human being, but was not part-human.
“We can confirm this isn’t a hoax photo, but that the severely-deformed lamb was born by a sheep in Lady Frere this week – which at a glance resembles a human form,” he said.
“It is not however human but a deformed stillborn lamb sired by a sheep and was subsequently infected by a Rift Valley Fever at an early stage of its pregnancy.
“It is worth noting that a sheep has 28 pairs of chromosomes while humans have 23 pairs, which is important in dispelling the myth that a union of a sheep ovum and a human sperm can lead to a development of a viable life form,” he said.
Dr Lubabalo Mrwebi said, “The deformed lamb exhibits signs that are consistent with an early foetal development that went wrong as a result of a viral infection and nothing more.”
Chief director of veterinary services said that the gestation period for a sheep is five months, and that meant that the particular sheep was conceived in late December 2016 or early January 2017.
He said it was a time of plentiful rainfall which brings with it many mosquitoes and midges which are carriers of viruses that cause the Rift Valley Fever in sheep.
Dr Mrwebi said: “It is fair to assume, therefore, that the sheep was infected by the RVF virus.”
“The resultant circulation of the virus in the blood found its way through the maternal blood into the uterus and the foetus, which was at a very critical stage of development,” he said.
“The infected foetus then, as a result, failed to form properly, leading to the deformity that it became. It does look like a human form but it is not part human at all.”
The department’s veterinary officials are conducting a post-mortem and its results will be made public for the villagers who are fearful that witchcraft is at play.
A villager was quoted as saying: “The elders when they saw it said it was sent by the devil and was born after a coupling between a man and a sheep and then there was panic.
“Many people are afraid and will not be happy until it is burned.”
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