Almost 400 elephants in southern Africa died bizarrely! Listlessness, turning around in place, the reason is a mystery
In Botswana, the”Elephant Kingdom” in southern Africa, nearly 400 elephants have died bizarrely. From May to the present, the cause of elephant death remains a mystery.
In May this year, when some environmentalists flew over Okavango in Botswana in southern Africa, they saw a disturbing picture:as many as 169 elephants died.
In the second flight in June, they found more dead bodies and the total number of deaths reached 356. According to the New York Times quoted by environmentalists, some of these elephants appeared to have died suddenly while walking or running, but their tusks were still there, suggesting that poachers may not be the culprit for the bizarre death of elephants.
However, experts still have little clue to determine the cause of death of these elephants. Is it because of poisoning? Or died of natural disease? The reason is unknown.
“As the number of dead elephants grows, more deaths may occur and the scale will continue to expand.” Chris Solis, research director of the Kenya-based environmental organization Save the Elephants Thouless) said.”Death is not an interesting thing, but it will come to all living things.”
Some environmentalists believe that the recent bizarre deaths of elephants may have been caused by natural causes, but others have expressed more concerns.
“In Botswana, elephants are facing a huge crisis.” said Mark Hiley, the director of rescue operations for the British nonprofit organization National Park rescue.”The most important thing now is to have an independent team go to this area to collect multiple samples of corpses, soil and waterways and determine the cause of death.”
Elephants Without Borders, an environmental group from Botswana Of the researchers flew over Botswana and observed that some living elephants seemed to be disorientated, some would walk in circles, some dragged their hind legs, as if paralyzed, and some appeared listless and very thin. Both male and female, old and young, seem to be affected in the same way.
There are approximately 130,000 savanna elephants in Botswana, accounting for about one-third of the world’s population. Although there are signs that the poaching of elephants and rhinos is increasing, many environmentalists still believe that this country is an important refuge for elephants.
In a report submitted to government officials, Elephants Without Borders estimates that this series of mysterious deaths started at least as early as March this year, and the total number of dead elephants is certainly not only 356 , Because their flight range did not cover the entire affected area.
Some environmentalists say the government’s attention to the bizarre deaths of elephants is far from enough. As early as May this year, government officials collected samples from dead elephant carcasses for testing, but they have not yet announced the results.
“This started a few months ago, so far, the government should be able to clearly tell everyone what happened.” Healy said.”So far, many well-known laboratories should be able to draw conclusions.”
Healy believes that the slow test may be”killing more elephants.”
In response, Dr. Mmadi Reuben, Chief Veterinary Officer of Botswana’s Wildlife and National Parks Department, stated that the government is taking the deaths seriously, “We immediately, fully and Responsibly responded.”
Ruben said that based on some test results, they have ruled out common causes such as anthrax. He and his colleagues are now collaborating with laboratories in Zimbabwe, South Africa and Canada for further testing.”This will not be a one-time thing, this is a continuous dialogue with different laboratories.” As of now, there is still no evidence that the incident was caused by humans.
Poachers sometimes poison elephants with cyanide, but this time it seems unlikely. Because where the poison is used, elephant carcasses tend to congregate into pieces, which can also cause other animals to die, but this time obviously no other species have been affected.
Healy also said that elephants are less likely to die from new crown pneumonia because the disease has not infected people in remote areas of Okavango and there is no evidence that elephants Will be infected with this virus.
Solis suspects that natural diseases are most likely to be the culprit. One guess is encephalomyocarditis, a viral infection that can be transmitted by rodents and can cause neurological symptoms. In the mid-1990s, the disease killed about 60 elephants in Kruger National Park, South Africa. Solis said that Botswana has just experienced a drought recently, which may make some elephants more susceptible to disease.
He believes that at this point, the death of the elephant does not constitute a protection crisis, because so far, the number of recorded elephants only accounts for 15,000-20,000 heads living in Okavango A small part of the elephant.
“This is distressing, but as far as the current number is concerned, it is insignificant.” Solis said.
Past examples have also shown that when conditions are favorable, the number of elephants can quickly rebound. For example, in 1970 and 1971, a drought in Kenya’s East Tsavo National Park killed about 5,900 of the park’s 35,000 elephants. By 1973, the number of elephants had returned to 35,000.
“Human intervention in nature is limited.” Solis said.”You can make a huge effort, but in fact, there is no difference in protection.”