SADMore than 350 elephants have died in Botswana from unknown causes, with aerial photos showing their carcasses scattered across the Okavango Delta (pictured) and other northern Botswana

Posted by Naturalist Gilbert on Wednesday, July 1, 2020

Two months ago (early May) Dr. McCann undertook a flight over the Okavango delta and “We spotted 169 in a three-hour flight.” he said. It is impossible to see that much of dead elephants in a 3-hour flight. By mid-June, the mortality rate of elephants was increased by 70% and now more than 350 elephants have died only in two months. Still, no one knows the reason for this mass die-off and scientists described that as a “conservation disaster”.

“This is a mass die-off on a level that hasn’t been seen in a very, very long time. Outside of drought, I don’t know of a die-off that has been this significant,” said Dr. Niall McCann, the director of conservation at UK-based charity National Park Rescue.

According to images and local news of Botswana, all of these elephant dead bodies were found near water bodies (around Okavango delta). Last year, there was a mass die-off of elephants in the same National park in Botswana because of poisoning by poachers. Poachers have been kept poisoning elephants for a while to get ivory and hair. But the Botswana government has not tested samples yes. So, there are two main possible causes of this disaster.

  • Poisoning
  • Unknown pathogen

But there were no die-offs reported neighboring parks.

according to recent studies, there are over 15,000 of elephants in this area call Okavango delta. “You see elephants as assets of the country. They are the diamonds wandering around the Okavango Delta,” said McCann.

Dr. Cyril Taolo, acting director for Botswana’s department of wildlife and national parks, told the Guardian: “We are aware of the elephants that are dying. Out of the 350 animals, we have confirmed 280 of those animals. We are still in the process of confirming the rest.

“We have sent [samples] off for testing and we are expecting the results over the next couple of weeks or so,” he said. “The Covid-19 restrictions have not helped in the transportation of samples in the region and around the world. We’re now beginning to emerge from that and that is why we are now in a position to send the samples to other laboratories.” Taolo declined to say which laboratories they had been sent to.



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