Mass Elephant Deaths: Anthrax, Poison Ruled Out in Botswana

By Antony Sguazzin, Bloomberg

Anthrax and poisoning have been ruled out as the cause of a rising
number of unexplained elephant deaths in Botswana, the country with
the world’s biggest population of the animals.

Wildlife authorities have now discovered 110 carcasses in north west
Botswana, up from the 56 announced earlier in May according to a
government statement.

“I would say 90% of the new cases we have found are old carcasses we
previously did not locate,” said Dimakatso Ntshebe, a regional
wildlife director, in an interview. “However, a few are indeed new
deaths. All recovered carcasses do not show signs of poaching.”

Elephants have become a political issue in the southern African
nation, with President Mokgweetsi Masisi last year lifting a hunting
ban and saying more needed to be done to stop the 135,000 elephants in
the country from damaging crops and occasionally trampling villagers.

Further efforts to determine the cause of the deaths has been
complicated by travel restrictions due to the coronavirus pandemic
that have delayed sending samples to a laboratory in Zimbabwe, Ntshebe
said.

africanelephantjournal.com

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