by Ulyces | July 1, 2020
Since the beginning of May, more than 350 elephants have been found dead in mysterious circumstances in Botswana, reports the Guardian this July 1st. A tragedy that scientists struggle to explain and describe as ” disaster for the preservation of the species ».
The first reports reported, at the beginning of May, of a group of 169 elephants found dead without explanation in the Okavango Delta, in the north of this southern African country which shelters the largest population of elephants from the continent. By mid-June, the death toll had more than doubled, and around 70% of the corpses were discovered around water points.
The elephants were not hunted or killed by poachers, scientists are sure of that. But until the government of Botswana authorizes the taking of blood from the remains, they will be forced to rely on speculation. The two most likely being that they were poisoned, or that an unknown pathogen contaminated the water in the delta.
It is feared that poachers have chosen the poisoning method, but researchers tend to refute this possibility because the scavengers feeding on elephant corpses do not seem to be contaminated.
« It is a massacre that we have not seen for a very, very long time. Aside from periods of great drought, I am not aware of such an important hecatomb Laments Dr. Niall McCann, director of the British NGO National Park Rescue. Witnesses on the spot say they saw the elephants walking in a circle before dying, a sign of a probable neurological affection.
The Okavango Delta is home to around 15,000 elephants, or 10% of the total population of Botswana’s pachyderms. Until the mystery is unraveled, scientists are helpless and hope that the phenomenon will not accelerate.
Source : The Guardian