Monday, 04 July, 2022

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Why are Elephants dying in Botswana?

A naturally toxin has been identified as the cause of the mysterious deaths of hundreds of elephants in Botswana.

Officials of the Department of Wildlife and National Parks had been struggling to establish the cause of death more than two months after the first carcasses were spotted in the Okavango Panhandle region.

Initial investigations appeared to rule out common causes like poaching and anthrax.

The government has sent samples to laboratories in South Africa, Zimbabwe and the United States for tests.

So far it has received results from bacterial detection and toxicology tests in Botswana, histopathology tests in South Africa, and bacterial detection and histopathology tests in Zimbabwe.

Toxicology results are expected from South Africa soon.

The elephant deaths have concerned some conservationists, who fear deaths could spiral out of control if a cause cannot be established quickly.

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.