Hundreds of elephants die mysteriously in Botswana

Satellite image of some of the elephant carcasses. (Source: The Guardian)

New Delhi (NVI): Hundreds of elephants have died mysteriously in Botswana’s famed Okavango Delta.

The landlocked southern African country has the world’s largest elephant population, estimated to be around 1,30,000.

A cluster of elephant deaths was first reported in the Okavango Delta in early May, with 169 individuals dead by the end of the month. By mid June, the number had more than doubled, with 70 percent of the deaths clustered around waterholes, according to The Guardian.

The wildlife department has ruled out the possibility of poaching as the tusks were found intact.

Parveen Kaswan, IFS, also tweeted in this regard and stated, “Around 500 elephants have died in Botswana in last few days. Described as a ‘conservation disaster’ in which elephants are dying mysteriously in clusters. Tragic.”

The Botswana government has not yet tested samples so there is no information on what is causing the deaths or whether they could pose a risk to human health.

“This is a mass die-off on a level that hasn’t been seen in a very, very long time. Outside of drought, I don’t know of a die-off that has been this significant,” reported The Guardian, as told by Niall McCann, the director of conservation at UK-based charity National Park Rescue.

However, there have been no reports of elephant deaths in neighbouring countries.