Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?

World

Natural toxins likely killed hundreds of Botswana elephants: govt

-

Hundreds of elephants that died mysteriously in Botswana's famed Okavango Delta probably succumbed to natural toxins, the wildlife department said Friday.

The landlocked southern African country has the world's largest elephant population, estimated to be around 130,000. Around 300 of them have been found dying since March.

Authorities have so far ruled out anthrax, as well as poaching, as the tusks were found intact.

Preliminary tests conducted in various countries far have not been fully conclusive and more are being carried out, Wildlife and Parks Department boss Cyril Taolo told AFP in a phone interview.

"But based on some of the preliminary results that we have received, we are looking at naturally-occurring toxins as the potential cause," he said.

"To date we have not estabished the conclusion as to what is the cause of the mortality".

He explained that some bacteria can naturally produce poison, particularly in stagnant water.

Government has so far established that 281 elephants died, although independent conservationists say more than 350.

The deaths were first flagged by a wildlife conservation charity, Elephants Without Borders (EWB), whose confidential report referring to the 356 dead elephants was leaked to the media early in July.

EWB suspected elephants had been dying in the area for about three months, and mortality was not restricted to age or gender.

Several live elephants appeared weak, lethargic and emaciated, with some showing signs of disorientation, difficulty in walking or limping, EWB said.

Tests are being conducted at specialist labs in South Africa, Canada, Zimbabwe and the US.

Hundreds of elephants that died mysteriously in Botswana’s famed Okavango Delta probably succumbed to natural toxins, the wildlife department said Friday.

The landlocked southern African country has the world’s largest elephant population, estimated to be around 130,000. Around 300 of them have been found dying since March.

Authorities have so far ruled out anthrax, as well as poaching, as the tusks were found intact.

Preliminary tests conducted in various countries far have not been fully conclusive and more are being carried out, Wildlife and Parks Department boss Cyril Taolo told AFP in a phone interview.

“But based on some of the preliminary results that we have received, we are looking at naturally-occurring toxins as the potential cause,” he said.

“To date we have not estabished the conclusion as to what is the cause of the mortality”.

He explained that some bacteria can naturally produce poison, particularly in stagnant water.

Government has so far established that 281 elephants died, although independent conservationists say more than 350.

The deaths were first flagged by a wildlife conservation charity, Elephants Without Borders (EWB), whose confidential report referring to the 356 dead elephants was leaked to the media early in July.

EWB suspected elephants had been dying in the area for about three months, and mortality was not restricted to age or gender.

Several live elephants appeared weak, lethargic and emaciated, with some showing signs of disorientation, difficulty in walking or limping, EWB said.

Tests are being conducted at specialist labs in South Africa, Canada, Zimbabwe and the US.

Written By

With 2,400 staff representing 100 different nationalities, AFP covers the world as a leading global news agency. AFP provides fast, comprehensive and verified coverage of the issues affecting our daily lives.

You may also like:

Tech & Science

Leaders may be going into the UN climate summit in Glasgow with the do-or-die goal of limiting global warming at 1.5 degrees Celsius.

World

In this file photo taken on October 10, 2021, Aya Biran (C), paternal aunt of Eitan Biran who was the sole survivor of a...

World

People attend a candlelight vigil in Burbank, California, for cinematographer Halyna Hutchins, who was accidentally killed by a prop gun fired by actor Alec...

Tech & Science

Lakes in the Northern Hemisphere have been warming six times faster since 1992 than they were in the past 100 years.