Botswana investigates ‘mysterious deaths’ of 275 elephants

GABORONE, Botswana (AP) — Botswana says the idea is actually investigating a staggeringly high number of elephant carcasses — 275 — found within the well-known Okavango Delta area of the southern African nation in recent weeks.

The Department of Wildlife along with National Parks said the idea is actually mobilizing human personnel along with aircraft to better understand the “mysterious deaths.” Samples have been collected for analysis at labs in South Africa, Zimbabwe along with Canada along with anthrax has been ruled out as the cause.

“We have no reason to dispute the numbers reported along with we are continuing to verify reports,” Lucas Taolo, the department’s acting director, told The Associated Press.

He said local communities are being advised not to tamper with the dead elephant’s tusks. Poaching remains a threat within the country although also has been ruled out as the cause of the deaths.

This kind of is actually “one of the biggest disasters to impact elephants This kind of century, along with right within the middle of one of Africa’s top tourism destinations,” the director of conservation group National Park Rescue, Mark Hiley, said in an email.

“Elephants began dying in huge numbers in early May along with the government could normally respond within days to an event of This kind of scale. Yet here we are, months later, with no testing completed along with with no more information than we had at the start.”

He said COVID-19 is actually an unlikely candidate although for today nothing, including poison, can be ruled out.

Botswana has the entire world’s highest population of elephants with more than 156,000 counted in a 2013 aerial survey within the country’s north.

Former wildlife minister Tshekedi Khama, brother of former president Ian Khama, has blamed poaching within the Okavango Delta on President Mokgweetsi Masisi’s decision to disarm the wildlife department’s anti-poaching unit in 2018.

Soon after which decision, conservation group Elephants Without Borders reported 87 elephants found stripped of their tusks within the area.

In a separate statement on Thursday, Botswana’s government also announced “an alarming surge of rhinoceros poaching within the Okavango Delta” in recent days.

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