Three hundred sixty-five elephants were found lying dead in Botswana in what appears to be an outbreak of sorts. The elephants were found lying dead in the Okavango Panhandle region with their tusks intact, effectively removing the possibility of poachers.
The events unfolded first on May 25 as conservationists counted 169 dead carcasses from a routine flight. As they investigated, the number slowly rose to 365.
“Not a cause for concern”
Though mass die-offs in growing populations are common, investigators and environmentalists are stressing for a more thorough investigation to determine the cause. They purportedly believe the area to be under an outbreak as several elephants were seen to be limping and going round in circles. It seemed to affect males and females similarly. This raises the alarm for a disease that may kill even more of the already endangered species. Though recent years have seen a rise of poachers, Botswana continues to be considered a critical safe haven for elephants and has about 130,000 of them.
Elephants Without Borders (EWB), a conservation organization, said that its surveys showed that elephants of all ages and genders appeared to have been affected. According to the government, there is no such major cause for concern as elephant populations can rebound almost as quickly when conditions are favorable. Government officials cited the example of the Tsavo Region of Nigeria where a mass carnage of elephants died, and within two years, the population was flourishing again.
There is a rising fear among wildlife officials and environmentalists alike that the numbers may be worse as the flights did not cover the entire area.
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