Botswana’s Ministry of Environment, Natural Resources Conservation and Tourism has ruled out commonly used agro-chemicals or pesticides as the cause of death for the 281 elephants that died mysteriously since March 2020. The landlocked southern African country has the world's largest elephant population, estimated to be around 130,000. Over the past several months, hundreds of elephants have died in Botswana, some with these symptoms. The cause of death had not yet been determined and the Botswana government has claimed that the possibilities the deaths were caused by poaching, poisoning by humans and anthrax have been ruled out. The official death toll stands at 330, with the fatalities occurring between late April and June. That’s a daunting challenge in this remote area, where an elephant’s body may not be found and analyzed for days or even longer. But cyanide remains in carcasses long after death, and there’s no evidence that animals eating the bodies of the dead elephants—hyenas, jackals, vultures—are dying as well. On May 25, conservationists were flying over Botswana’s Okavango Panhandle when they counted something disturbing: 169 dead elephants. A dead elephant found near Seronga, in the Okavango delta, Botswana. Over the past several months, hundreds of elephants have died in Botswana, some with these symptoms. Hundreds of sudden elephant deaths in Botswana aren't just a loss for the ecosystem and global conservation efforts. More than 350 elephants were reported to have died in Botswana in recent weeks but the cause of death had remained unknown. Botswana is home to a third of Africa's declining elephant population. To verify this, Kock says, scientists would need to examine the victims’ liver, which acts as the body’s natural toxin filter, and stomach, where the potentially contaminated food might be testable. More than 350 elephants have died from unknown causes, with … The Botswana government is testing samples from the dead elephants, but is yet to determine a cause of death. The Botswana government is testing samples from the dead elephants, but is yet to determine a cause of death. Here's what we know … The alarm was raised when elephant carcasses were spotted in the country's Okavango Delta between May and June. Elephants could become infected when they breathe in or ingest contaminated soil, plants, or even water. Africa’s overall elephant population is declining due to poaching but Botswana, home to almost a third of the continent’s elephants, has seen numbers grow to around 130,000. Natural anthrax poisoning, which killed at least 100 elephants in Botswana last year, has reportedly been ruled out as a cause of death for the elephants investigated this year. At least 350 carcasses have been discovered … “Results from Canada and the U.S. will follow thereafter.”. https://www.nationalgeographic.com/animals/2020/07/botswana-elephant-death-mystery.html, has been known to affect domestic and wild animals. The bizarre behavior and sheer number of deaths suggest to experts that it’s unlikely that diseases known to afflict wild elephants, such as tuberculosis, are to blame. Now, the country has pointed to a naturally occurring toxin as a probable cause, according to a senior wildlife official. But skeptical conservationists are demanding that the full results of the government's investigation be released. August 11, 2020 by Kraig Becker One of the stories we’ve been following closely over the past month or so is the continuing mystery surrounding the death of more than 350 elephants in a … The cause of death had not yet been determined and the Botswana government has claimed that the possibilities the deaths were caused by poaching, poisoning by humans and anthrax have been ruled out. Government officials say they’ve verified that 281 elephants have died since March 2020; conservation NGOs in the area say the death toll is even higher. It’s possible that the elephants in Botswana were sickened by something else and, perhaps feverish, craved water and died soon after drinking or trying to drink. All rights reserved. But elephants generally drink from the middle of water bodies—not the edges where cyanobacteria tend to accumulate. Photograph: Reuters E arlier this year, more than 350 elephants mysteriously died in the Okavango delta in Botswana. But temperatures in the region haven’t been exceptionally high lately, and the deaths are still relatively confined, making this theory less likely. If anthrax is killing the elephants, it would be a difficult problem to stamp out, he adds. Botswana, with an estimated 130,000 savanna elephants, is one of the species’ last strongholds in Africa, where ivory poaching has been responsible for reducing their numbers to roughly 350,000. Given that the deaths have been occurring in such a remote region, with few roads, getting to all the carcasses would be an additional challenge. Mysterious death of over 300 elephants in Botswana solved The carcass of one of the many elephants which have died mysteriously in the Okavango Delta in Botswana National Park Rescue/AFP/Getty Than 360 elephants die known to affect domestic and wild animals around the world ’ s largest population of after! 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