Elephants, one of the most majestic creatures to walk the face of our planet, have been cruelly hunted to the very precipice of possible extinction by humans. Often regarded as being one of the most gentle creatures in the animal kingdom, their numbers have dwindled drastically, prompting conservation efforts to continue propagating their species.
However, in devastating news to emerge from Botswana, it has been discovered that as many as 350 elephants have suddenly died under mysterious circumstances, leading to what has been described by Dr Niall McCann, director of conservation at United Kingdom charity National Park Rescue, as a ‘conservation disaster’.
It was said that these unprecedented deaths of the Botswana population of elephants started as early as May of this year, before spiraling into an unimaginable mass death of the creatures. According to The Guardian. the first cluster of deaths involved as many as 169 elephants, with numbers doubling right after.
Most deaths were seen to have occurred around the vicinity of watering holes, according to an anonymous source.
Elephants spared from death who were found nearby looked weakened, with one seen walking in circles, unable to change its direction.
What makes this all the more worrying is that Dr Niall mentions that the sudden death of these elephants not only deals a massive blow to the country’s efforts to conserve the species, but may also raise concerns over public safety as these deaths could have been triggered by anything, from an elephant-specific parasite to other diseases.
“What I would like to emphasize is that this has the potential to be a public health crisis,”
As of now, poisoning by poachers and Covid-19 have been ruled out as possible causes for these mass deaths. As of now, lab tests are being conducted in Canada, South Africa, and Zimbabwe, with samples taken from the recently deceased elephants.
While no answers have emerged as of yet, we hope that the relevant authorities will get down to investigating the true reason behind these sudden deaths among Botswana’s elephant population.
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