- Title: Botswana finds more dead elephants, says test results due this week
- Date: 9th July 2020
- Summary: SERONGA, BOTSWANA (JULY 9, 2020) (REUTERS) VARIOUS OF AERIAL VIEW OF HERD OF ELEPHANTS VARIOUS OF ELEPHANT CARCASS WAVE KASHWEEKA, PRINCIPAL VETERINARY OFFICER FOR DEPARTMENT OF WILDLIFE AND NATIONAL PARKS WALKING TOWARDS THE CARCASS (SOUNDBITE) (English) PRINCIPAL VETERINARY OFFICER FOR DEPARTMENT OF WILDLIFE AND NATIONAL PARKS, WAVE KASHWEEKA, SAYING: "The outbreak may still be on-going." MMADI REUBEN, PRINCIPAL VETERINARY OFFICER FOR DEPARTMENT OF WILDLIFE AND NATIONAL PARKS WALKING TOWARDS THE CARCASS (SOUNDBITE) (English) PRINCIPAL VETERINARY OFFICER FOR DEPARTMENT OF WILDLIFE AND NATIONAL PARKS, MMADI REUBEN, SAYING: "It could be infectious diseases and this infectious diseases can be further complicated by the environmental factors, the nutritional status of the animals at this point in time as well may also have contributed to the cause of this elephant mortality that we experience." CARCASS LYING ON GROUND/ HELICOPTER LANDING IN DISTANCE (SOUNDBITE) (English) PRINCIPAL VETERINARY OFFICER FOR DEPARTMENT OF WILDLIFE AND NATIONAL PARKS, WAVE KASHWEEKA, SAYING: "When we got the first report late April to date, we have verified 281 carcasses, elephant carcasses, in this area and this past week we recorded three new discoveries where the elephants appeared to have died sometime in June." PEOPLE STANDING NEARBY ELEPHANT CARCASS
- Embargoed: 23rd July 2020 21:00
- Keywords: Botswana Okavango Delta dead elephants elephants infectious disease mysterious disease outbreak
- Location: SERONGA, BOTSWANA
- City: SERONGA, BOTSWANA
- Country: Botswana
- Topics: Environment,Nature/Wildlife,Editors' Choice
- Reuters ID: LVA001CM3A0JR
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: Botswana wildlife officials investigating hundreds of unexplained elephant deaths have verified six more carcasses and say it is still not clear what is killing the animals, around two months after the first bodies were spotted.
Officials told reporters near the Okavango Delta on Thursday (July 9) that they had now verified 281 carcasses and that the deaths were concentrated in an area of 8,000 square km that is home to about 18,000 elephants.
Flying over the area in a helicopter, a Reuters reporter saw one carcass splattered in droppings from vultures, which had eaten some of the flesh, and red paint from officials marking verified carcasses. Hundreds of live elephants wandered nearby.
Mmadi Reuben, principal veterinary officer at the Department of Wildlife and National Parks, said officials were expecting to receive test results this week on samples sent to South Africa and Canada.
Some campaign groups have criticised the government for acting too slowly to solve the mystery of the dying elephants, an accusation Reuben has denied.
Although the number of deaths so far represents a fraction of the estimated 130,000 elephants in Botswana, there are fears more could die if authorities cannot establish the cause soon.
Wave Kashweka, a senior veterinary officer in Botswana's North-West district, said officials had found elephants which appeared to have died recently, adding aerial surveys would try to find more carcasses. In their initial inquiries, authorities ruled out poaching and anthrax among possible causes.
Africa's overall elephant population is declining due to poaching, but Botswana, home to almost a third of the continent's elephants, has seen numbers grow from 80,000 in the late 1990s.
(Production: Charles Thalefang, Siyabonga Sishi)
- Copyright Holder: REUTERS
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