Botswana: Mysterious deaths of at least 275 elephants reported

At least 275 elephants have mysteriously died in Botswana’s famed Okavango Delta, which is home to an estimated 15,000 elephants.

“We have had a report of 356 dead elephants in the area north of the Okavango Delta, and we have confirmed 275 so far,” Cyril Taolo, acting director of the Department of Wildlife and National Parks, told AFP news agency in a text message.

So far, the cause of the mysterious deaths has not yet been recognised. “We do not suspect poaching since (the) animals were found with tusks,” he said.

Samples for testing have been collected and sent to South Africa, Zimbabwe as well as Canada.

As a reminder, earlier this year, similar deaths were reported by the authorities who found 12 carcasses in a single week in two villages in the northwest of the country.

According to the wildlife conservation charity, Elephants Without Borders (EWB), these big mammals have been dying in the area for around three months.

“70 percent of elephant carcasses were considered recent, having died about a month ago, and 30 percent of the carcasses appeared fresh, ranging from one day to two weeks old,” highlighted a report from the EWB that was released on June 19, 2020.

“There was good evidence to show elephants of all ages and sex appear to be dying. One elephant was observed walking in circles, unable to change direction although being encouraged by other herd members,” its report said.

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