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Why Are Our Elephants Dying in Botswana? : The Inquiry Continues, What We Know So Far

Mystery Remains as Hundreds of Elephants Found Dead in Botswana, Africa: What We Know So Far

  • Dead African elephants discovered primarily in the Okavango Delta, “home to about 18,000 elephants”++

 

  • Botswana government has confirmed that neighboring countries of Zimbabwe, Angola, Namibia and Zambiahave not seen similar elephant deaths.” <>

 

  • “…70 per cent of the elephant deaths have occurred around waterholes…” #

 

  • Elephants Without Borders counted 169 dead elephants” through “its own aerial surveyson 25 May 2020  & “another 187 on 14 June”**

 

  • Elephants Without Borders director Mike Chase noted that some elephants in the area “appeared to be weak, lethargic and emaciated” while others seemed “disorientated,” displaying an impaired ability to walk & “signs of a partial paralysis or a limp”. “One elephant was observed walking in circles, unable to change direction although being encouraged by other herd members.“**

 

 

  • Samples from the tissue of the dead elephants have been sent to “three laboratories in Zimbabwe, South Africa and Canada…”**

 

  • Speculation into the probable causes of death include “…a virus, vegetation, or overnutrition after last year’s drought…” ++

 

  • There has been no (recent) drought in the area…” #

 

Image: CC Flickr by youngrobv sunset in Okavango Delta, Botswana Africa

 

 

  • Dr Niall McCann: “The whole environment needs to be sampled — the vegetation, water and soil.” #

 

  •  “Wildlife officials…. have ruled out anthrax among possible causes.” <>

 

 

  • “Officials and conservationists ruled out poaching at an early stage because the carcasses have been found intact, with their tusks on.” ++

 

  • It is still possible that cyanide poisoning, or other poisons, caused these elephants deaths. #

 

  • “Poachers sometimes use poisons like cyanide to kill elephants, but scavenging animals do not appear to be dying near the carcasses.” ++

 

 

  • This mysterious spate of African elephant deaths, over 350, “of varying ages and sex,” has been pinpointed to the area of the Okavango Delta & “other northern parts” of Botswana. Aerial photographs have revealed the tragedy, showing elephant carcasses scattered all around. #

 

 

  • ” The government now claims that initial test results have ruled out a number of known diseases – suggesting that a new pathogen could be to blame” ++

 

  • Existing elephant herds could still be vulnerable as many elephants have been seen “wandering near the carcasses which have been marked, by officials, in red paint.” ++

 

 

  • Although the government of Botswana has recently received (on 10 July 2020) preliminary test results from the laboratory in Zimbabwe they have not been publicly released awaiting findings from South Africa. <>

 

 

Image: CC Flicker by stephenjjohnson, elephant herd drinking from waterhole Okavango Delta Botswana Africa

 

 

  • “Africa’s overall elephant population is declining due to poaching…” <>

 

  • “Botswana, home to almost a third of the continent’s elephants, saw its elephant population rise from 80,000 to 130,000 in the late 1990s.”**

 

  • “Although the number of deaths so far represents a fraction of the estimated 130,000 elephants in Botswana, there are fears more could die if authorities cannot establish the cause soon.” <>

 

  • Dr Niall McCann added, ‘It is incredibly important to rule out the prospect of this crossing over into people.”#

 

See also: Why Are Our Elephants Dying in Botswana? :  Mystery Remains as Hundreds of African Elephants Found Dead in Botswana : The Inquiry Begins

 

Image: CC Flicker by George Lamson, magnificent elephant in river in Okavango Delta, Botswana Africa

 

 

Donate to Elephants Without Borders, a reputable elephant charity founded by Mike Chase

 

Dr. Niall McCann website

Okavango Delta wiki

 

Images: CC Flicker by George Lamson, magnificent elephant in river in Okavango Delta, Botswana Africa  & profile of magnificent elephant cruising in river in Okavango Delta, Botswana Africa; by stephenjjohnson elephant herd drinking from waterhole Okavango Delta Botswana Africa; by youngrobv, sunset in Okavango Delta, Botswana Africa

For photos of this elephant tragedy (WARNING they are graphic) please see the articles below

Resources:

#  Mystery virus could have killed 400 elephants that ‘looked confused and wandered in circles before collapsing’, say experts – amid fears it could jump to humans” By Jemma Carr for The Daily Mail / MailOnline

 

**Botswana investigates unexplained deaths of hundreds of elephants

 

++ New pathogen may be responsible for hundreds of elephant deaths in Botswana, government warns as six more dead animals are found” By Tim Stickings for The Daily Mail / MailOnline and REUTERS

 

<>  “Botswana gets first test results on elephant deaths” by Reuters

 

Image: CC Flicker by George Lamson, profile of magnificent elephant cruising in river in Okavango Delta, Botswana Africa

One thought on “Why Are Our Elephants Dying in Botswana? : The Inquiry Continues, What We Know So Far

  1. Pingback: Elephant Population in Zimbabwe Facing Similar Deaths as Neighboring Country of Botswana, Bacterial Infection Suspected as Cause of Young Elephant Deaths | Elephant Spoken Here

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