Over 350 elephants mysteriously die in this country! Search to find death causes intensifies

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Published: July 2, 2020 2:05 PM

More baffling is the fact the wildlife authorities of the African nation have not been able to ascertain the cause of the death of such a large number of elephants as the lab results are weeks away from conclusively ascertaining the cause of the tuskers' death.

The nation hosts more than one third of the total population of the elephants in Africa. (Representative image)

The sudden death of more than 350 elephants in Botswana in a span of less than 2 months has shocked the wildlife community across the world. More baffling is the fact the wildlife authorities of the African nation have not been able to ascertain the cause of the death of such a large number of elephants as the lab results are weeks away from conclusively ascertaining the cause of the tuskers’ death, the Guardian reported. The nation hosts more than one third of the total population of the elephants in Africa.

We have sent the samples to the laboratories but the Coronavirus restrictions around the world are also not helping in the transportation of the samples, Dr Cyril Taolo acting director for Botswana’s department of wildlife and national parks told the Guardian. He hoped that the lifting of restrictions gradually is a good sign and they would now be able to send the samples to different laboratories around the world.

After being alerted by the local authorities, the Wildlife authorities conducted an aerial survey and spotted a mind boggling 169 carcasses in a 3 hour flight, Dr McCann from UK based charity National Park told BBC. The number added up to over 350 dead bodies after a month, Dr McCann added. Dr McCann also highlighted the fact that such a large number of deaths without any naturally occurring event like drought is unprecedented.

The puzzle behind the big animals’ death mystified further when the government authorities ruled out the angle of poaching as the tusks of the animals were intact. The tusk of the animal is one of the world’s most expensive materials used to make premium jewellery and ornaments and is also one of the biggest reasons for large scale poaching of the animal. Moreover, if the elephants had been poisoned then the dead bodies of other animals who may have accidentally consumed the poison meant for elephants would also have been found, Dr McCann reasoned.

Looking at the possibility of the elephant’s population suffering from some acute neurological disease, Dr McCann said that unless the source of their deaths is ascertained, one can also not rule out the possible transmission of the disease from elephants to humans. It is not only a conservation disaster but might also turn out to be another public health crisis, he added.

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