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.
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