According to a report from NGO Elephants Without Borders (EWB) dated June 19, 2020 and released to the press this week, 356 elephants were found dead in the Okavango Delta, in northern Botwana. Authorities confirm the deaths to 275 of them.
What happened to the many elephants found dead in northern Botswana? “We have received a report on the deaths of 356 elephants in the northern Okavango Delta, and to date we have confirmed the deaths to 275 pachyderms,” said Park Director National and Wildlife Authority, Cyril Taolo on Thursday, July 2.
The cause of their death is determined. “Dandelion (or anthrax) is excluded. We also do not suspect sniper because the animals were found with their defenses,” he said.
The Ministry of the Environment said that slaughter samples were analyzed at three laboratories in Zimbabwe, South Africa and Canada.
According to a report from NGO Elephants Without Borders (EWB) dated June 19, 2020 and transmitted to the press on Wednesday, 356 elephants were found dead in the Okavango Delta. EWB estimates that about 70% of them died “about a month ago, while the remaining 30% appear to be newer, between one day and two weeks”.
Other hidden and disoriented elephants
Living elephants have been observed to be very weak, dead and some disoriented and difficult to move, said NGO Director Michael Chase, adding that men and women of all ages seemed to be affected by this “mysterious disease”.
“We saw an elephant spin in circles and couldn’t change direction despite the encouragement from other members,” he said.
The pachyderms seem to be “dead very suddenly in some cases,” says biologist Keith Lindsay, a conservationist. “The carcasses are of animals that fell on their sternum while walking, which is very unusual,” he told AFP.
“So far there seems to be no indication” about the causes of these deaths. But “when something like this happens, it’s worrying.” By the end of May, the Botswana Ministry of Tourism had already indicated that it was investigating the mysterious death of a dozen elephants in the Okavango Delta.
About 130,000 elephants streaming free
Caught between Zambia, Namibia and South Africa, Botswana is home to approximately 130,000 free-standing elephants, one-third of their known African population.
By 2019, at least 100 elephants had died in two months in Chobe National Park (north), the largest in Botswana, victims of the effects of drought.
The year before, EWB had created controversy by claiming to have identified 90 carcasses of pachyderms, a situation that Michael Chase described at the time as the “most serious crawling episode in Africa” about which he was informed.
The Government of Botswana then strongly denied these figures, arguing that the NGO had actually counted only 53 elephant damage and that a majority had died “due to natural causes or conflicts between humans and animals”. .