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350 Elephants Drop Dead In Botswana, Some Walking In Circles Before Doing Face-plants

Discussion in 'News - Breaking News & Political Forum' started by Zuleika, Jul 9, 2020.

  1. Zuleika

    Zuleika - Staff Member

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    More than 350 elephants in Botswana have mysteriously died since May, in a phenomenon that some scientists have dubbed a "conservation disaster," and one that has evaded explanation.

    The elephants — which died in the swampy Okavango Delta — still had their tusks intact, suggesting that ivory poaching hadn't driven the deaths, The Guardian reported. A flight over the delta in May by researchers with Elephants Without Borders, a wildlife conservation organization, first spotted 169 carcasses; that number jumped to 356 in June, when the conservationists took another flight over the area.

    Botswana's Ministry of Environment, Natural Resources Conservation, and Tourism has verified 275 of those elephant carcasses, according to a statement from the African Wildlife Foundation.

    The mass die-off could be explained by either a poison or some as-yet unknown pathogen, according to The Guardian. Already, officials have ruled out anthrax, the carcasses tested negative for that bacterium, said Scott Schlossberg, a research consultant for Elephants Without Borders.

    The bacterium that causes anthrax disease, called Bacillus anthracis, occurs naturally in soils, where it can stay inactive as spores for decades, scientists reported in 2019 in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B. Grazing animals can ingest anthrax-tainted soils along with plants or while drinking from watering holes.

    This isn't the first elephant die-off in the region; more than 100 elephants died over a two-month period in the fall of 2019 in Botswana's Chobe National Park, primarily driven by drought. Some of those deaths may have been due to anthrax, as the elephants would have ingested soil (possibly contaminated with anthrax spores) while grazing around dried-up watering holes and across wilted grasslands, the AFP reported at the time.


    What's behind the recent deaths?

    Local sources told The Guardian that 70% of the elephant carcasses — which span all ages — have been found around watering holes, so perhaps the culprit is somehow linked to watering holes, The Guardian reported. Also, locals have reported that some of the elephants were walking in circles before their deaths, suggesting a neurological issue.

    "If you look at the carcasses, some of them have fallen straight on their face, indicating they died very quickly," Niall McCann, director of conservation at the U.K.-based conservation organization National Park Rescue, told The Guardian. "Others are obviously dying more slowly, like the ones that are wandering around. So it's very difficult to say what this toxin is."

    Related: In photos: The most surprising elephant relatives on Earth

    Another idea, though unlikely, is cyanide, which poachers often use to poison elephants. However, in the case of cyanide poisoning, the elephants are generally clustered in one area where the poison was deployed, and other animals scavenging on their carcasses also show up dead, The New York Times reported. This hasn't been the case in Botswana.

    https://www.google.co.uk/amp/s/www.livescience.com/amp/elephant-mass-deaths-botswana.html
     
  2. LivingInPeace

    LivingInPeace Well-Known Member

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    Noooooo! I love elephants!
     
  3. Shimmie

    Shimmie "God is the Only Truth -- Period" Staff Member

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    This is very sad. I pray for the answer swiftly and that it doesn’t spread to humans and food sources. God have mercy:pray:
     
    Jas123, mensa, Zuleika and 4 others like this.
  4. Theresamonet

    Theresamonet Well-Known Member

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    This is terrible. :( I hope they find some answers soon.
     
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  5. Black Ambrosia

    Black Ambrosia Well-Known Member

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    I bet if this was coronavirus things would be different.
     
  6. Ganjababy

    Ganjababy Well-Known Member

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    What do you mean?
    things seems to just get worst. Month by month. What a year...
     
    Last edited: Jul 10, 2020
  7. Black Ambrosia

    Black Ambrosia Well-Known Member

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    PETA or some other organization that values animals over people would be in full effect. These people without masks that cough on folks would catch hands.
     
  8. Ganjababy

    Ganjababy Well-Known Member

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    So true
     
  9. SoopremeBeing

    SoopremeBeing Well-Known Member

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    This is awful.
     
  10. nysister

    nysister Well-Known Member

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    This saddens me. Elephants are such beautiful, majestic and kind creatures.
     
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