Botswana: mysterious death of hundreds of elephants

Botswana: mort mystérieuse de centaines d'éléphants

GABORONE | At least 275 elephants have died recently under mysterious conditions in Botswana, in the delta region of the Okavango delta (north), very popular with the tourists, was heard Thursday from several sources.

“We received a report on the death of 356 elephants in the north of the Okavango delta, and so far we have confirmed the deaths of 275 thick-skinned”, said to AFP the director of national parks and wildlife of Botswana, Cyril Taolo.

“The cause of death is being determined. We have sent samples to South Africa, Zimbabwe and Canada for analyses,” he added.

“The anthrax (or anthrax) is excluded. We did not suspect either of the poachers because the animals have been found with their tusks”, he said.

According to a report by the non-governmental organization Elephants without borders (EWB), dated June 19, 2020 and sent to the press on Wednesday, 356 elephants have been found dead in the Okavango delta.

It is estimated that in the death of approximately 70 % of them comes back up to about a month ago, while the death of the remaining 30% seems to be more recent, between one day and two weeks”, according to the director of the NGO, Michael Chase, author of the report.

Elephants have been observed to be very weak, lethargic, and some confused and finding it difficult to move, he said, adding that the males and females of all ages appeared to be affected by this “mysterious disease”.

“There was an elephant turning in circles and unable to change direction in spite of the encouragement of the other members of the troupe”, he said.

The ministry of Tourism had indicated at the end of may to investigate the mysterious death of a dozen of elephants in the Okavango delta.

Wedged between Zambia, Namibia and South Africa, Botswana is home to approximately 130 000 elephants in freedom, or one-third of the african population known.

In 2018, the EWB had created controversy by claiming to have identified 90 carcasses of the elephants, a situation described at the time by Michael Chase as the “most serious episode of poaching in Africa” which he has been informed.

The Botswana government had then strongly denied these numbers, arguing that the NGO had in fact counted 53 carcasses of elephants, the majority of which had died “of natural causes or conflicts between man and wildlife”.

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