Over 350 elephants died in northern Bostwana from causes still mysterious and very quickly. The Guardian reports it. For scientists, this is an “environmental disaster” that began in early May when a group of elephants were found dead in the Okavango delta. By the end of the month the number had risen to 169 and in mid-June more than doubled with 70% of the animals found lifeless near pools of water.
“Such a death hasn’t been seen in a while, perhaps never seen. Apart from drought periods, there has never been such a high death toll,” said NGO director National Park Rescue.
The government of Botswana has yet to carry out tests on elephant corpses to understand the reasons for the massacre and whether there are risks to human health. Among the causes of death, poisoning or an unknown disease. Coronavirus has also been mentioned, but it seems an unlikely hypothesis. The anthrax that scientists had initially thought of was excluded. According to local witnesses, before dying the elephants started spinning on themselves, a sign of a neurological problem. “Some of them collapsed on the muzzle, which means they died very quickly, others seem to be many more slowly, so it is difficult to determine which toxin caused the death,” said McCann.
The other mystery is that male, female and all age elephants died. And now there is the concern that others will die in the coming weeks, warn environmentalists who have already noticed some specimens lose weight on the spot. The death of elephants in the Okavango delta, where there are 15,000 specimens (10% of the total), is a multi-level disaster for Botswana. Ecological tourism in fact represents 10-12% of GDP, second only to the diamond business. And it’s “an environmental disaster,” says McCann accusing of not protecting his greatest asset.
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