A mysterious surge in elephant deaths has Botswana’s wildlife professionals perplexed.
Dr Cyril Taolo, acting director for Botswana's department of wildlife and national parks "We have had a report of 356 dead elephants in the area north of the Okavango Delta, and we have confirmed 275 so far… we do not suspect poaching since (the) animals were found with tusks… we have sent [samples] off for testing and we are expecting the results over the next couple of weeks or so." In March 2020 a cluster of elephant deaths was reported in the Okavango Delta, when authorities found 12 carcasses in the space of one week, in two villages in the northwest of the country. The latest discoveries were publicised by a wildlife conservation charity, Elephants Without Borders (EWB), whose report referred to the 356 dead elephants. EWB believes the elephants have been dying in the area for the last three months. According to the report, dated June 19, 2020, "70 percent of elephant carcasses were considered recent, having died about a month ago, and 30 percent of the carcasses appeared fresh, ranging from one day to two weeks old." Elephants Without Borders founder and director, Mike Chase, said in his report, "several live elephants that we observed, appeared to be weak, lethargic and emaciated.