Botswana: More than 360 elephants die for mysterious reasons

Hundreds of elephants die from mysterious causes in Botswana

According to protection director Niall McCann at the UK charity National Park Rescue, some carcasses appear to be clustered around the water holes, while others “fell perpendicular to their faces”.

Observers said that the live elephants seen nearby seemed physically weak and someone was walking around, unable to change direction. Other species in the region have not been shown to be affected by things that hit elephants.

The Botswana government is testing samples of dead elephants, but has not yet identified a cause of death.

McCann said an unusual number of elephant carcasses were first recorded at the beginning of May.

“Horrible – we must know what happened in hell,” he added, adding that he could not remember another time when many elephants died for a mysterious reason.

Botswana hosts 130,000 African elephants – more than other countries on the continent. McCann said that the Okavango Delta, where carcasses are located, is home to about 10% of the country’s elephants.
Former President says Botswana's return to elephant hunting will not solve any problems
Last year, Botswana scrapped an elephant hunting ban in 2014 and started breaking new ground internationally. McCann said that poaching cannot be ruled out this time, although his teeth are still on elephants.

“800 of them lie as a magnet for criminals,” he added.

McCann said there are a number of possibilities for what causes deaths, including elephant-specific parasites – even Covid-19.

“What I want to emphasize is that this has the potential to be a public health crisis,” he said.

Whatever the reason, McCann said it was important to get under it, as the loss of elephant life is “globally important”.

African elephant It is classified as vulnerable in the Red List of the International Association for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). The first Big Elephant Census, the pan-African survey conducted in 2016, revealed that the number of elephants dropped at least 30% or 144,000 in just seven years between 2007 and 2014.

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