Elephant deaths rise to 39 in Botswana, ongoing investigation

Dead elephants are seen in Okavango Delta. photo: Reuters
Dead elephants are seen in Okavango Delta, 2020, photo: Reuters

Botswana is investigating the deaths of 39 elephants since the beginning of the year. So far, they’ve ruled out poaching, anthrax and bacterial infections as the cause. The death toll rose to 39 from the 11 reported in January, the environment ministry said on Wednesday.

“Further laboratory analysis is ongoing. Extensive field and air investigations have not uncovered any mortality of other wildlife species within the area,” the ministry said in a statement.

The ministry ruled out poaching as the tusks of the elephants were found intact. The animals were found dead in the Moremi Game Reserve.

The latest deaths are happening months after 330 elephants died under mysterious circumstances near the borders of the Okavango Delta.

Under pressure from conservationists, the ministry released a report in September that pointed to toxic microorganisms called cyanobacteria as the cause of death.

Not all cyanobacteria are toxic, but scientists say the poisonous ones are occurring more frequently as climate change drives up global temperatures.

Become a Friend of The Animal Reader and support animal journalism. 

Previous articleIstanbul stray dogs Zeytin, Nazar and Kartal star in movie Stray
Next articleSpain starts killing 1600 calves after months at sea on the Elbeik