The Botswanan government along with international experts believes that the cause behind the mysterious death of around 300 elephants in the past few weeks might be a neurotoxin.
They arrived at the conclusion after dismissing other possibilities such as illegal hunting or lack of water. Many of the animals were found close to water sources and with tusks intact, which indicated that they couldn’t have been victims of ivory hunting. Curiously, the elephants also seem to have made an odd circular pattern before collapsing.
The Environmental Minister, Oduetse Koboto, says results will be made public next week of the analyses made of the elephant’s remains, but initial results have ruled out the usual diseases that cause this kind of “mass death”, meaning that the disease could be something new.
The Botswanan authorities confirm 281 elephant deaths, but some elephant conservation charities and other experts think the figure might be closer the 350.
There is next to no evidence that elephants are affected by coronavirus and there have been no human cases in the area, so this possibility has been dismissed, as well as poison, as no carrion birds feeding on the carcasses have been reported dead.