GABORONE, 25 March 2021 – Officials in Botswana’s ministry of the environment have reported the mysterious deaths of 39 more elephants in the country’s Moremi Game Reserve.
The 39 carcasses of elephants have been identified since January 2021, as officials probe the mysterious deaths of elephants in the country.
Officials have explained the deaths of 330 elephants reported between May and June 2020 in Botswana’s Okavango Delta.
They attributed the 330 deaths to the ingestion by the animals of toxins that can occur naturally in standing water.
The toxins, made by microscopic algae in the water, are known as cyanobacteria.
On Wednesday, officials in the capital, Gaborone, said their investigations into the 39 carcasses discovered since January have permitted them so far to rule out anthrax and bacterial infections as the cause of death.
Officials have also ruled out poaching as a cause.
Aerial surveillance of the parks has been stepped up as the environment ministry pursues further investigations aimed at resolving the mystery.
In the meantime and based on extensive air and field investigations, environment officials say they did not uncover any death of other wildlife species.
The African elephant population has been decimated over the last decade notably by poaching and conflict.
Experts estimated that some 111,000 African elephants were killed in the decade to 2016.
Today, Africa’s elephant population is just 415,000 big.
A third of all elephants in Africa live in the forests and parks of Botswana.