More than 350 elephants mysteriously die in Botswana

WION Web Team
Gaborone, Botswana Published: Jul 02, 2020, 07:41 PM(IST)

Elephants in Namibia (Representative Image) Photograph:( WION )

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The landlocked southern African country has the world's largest elephant population, estimated to be around 130,000.

Hundreds of elephants have died mysteriously in Botswana's famed Okavango Delta, the wildlife department said Thursday.

The officials ruled out poaching as the tusks were found intact.

The landlocked southern African country has the world's largest elephant population, estimated to be around 130,000.

Samples have been collected and sent to specialised laboratories in South Africa, Zimbabwe and Canada for testing.

Similar deaths were first reported in May when authorities found 12 carcasses in just a week in two villages in the northwest of the country. 

The latest discoveries were flagged by a wildlife conservation charity, Elephants Without Borders (EWB), whose confidential report referring to the 356 dead elephants, was leaked to the media on Wednesday.

EWB suspects the elephants have been dying in the area for about three months.

According to the report dated June 19, 2020, "70 per cent of elephant carcasses were considered recent, having died about a month ago, and 30 per cent of the carcasses appeared fresh, ranging from one day to two weeks old".

There was good evidence to show elephants of all ages and sex appear to be dying, the report said.

Several live elephants appeared to have been weak, lethargic and emaciated, with some showing signs of disorientation, difficulty in walking or limping, EWB said.

Botswana has an overpopulation of elephants which President Mokgweetsi Masisi has flagged as the source for much of the human-animal conflict in the country.

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