Poisoning not ruled out as cause of death for Botswana elephants

XINHUA 發布於 08月08日11:11

Test results received so far have not ruled out poisoning as cause of death for the 281 elephants that died mysteriously in Botswana since March 2020.

GABORONE, Aug. 8 (Xinhua) -- Botswana's Ministry of Environment, Natural Resources Conservation and Tourism has ruled out commonly used agro-chemicals or pesticides as the cause of death for the 281 elephants that died mysteriously since March 2020.

The deaths were recorded in areas around Seronga, North West part of the country.

Botswana Department of Wildlife and National Parks officers skin one of the elephant carcasses that were recently discovered in the Okavango Delta area, northern Botswana, July 2, 2020. (Xinhua)

A press released on Friday from the ministry stated that toxicological analysis of nine pesticides and chemicals commonly implicated in wildlife poisoning have tested negative.

"Encephalomyocarditis virus, an acute viral disease characterized by inflammation and degeneration of skeletal and cardiac muscle and lesions of the central nervous system, has also been eliminated as the cause of mortality," said the statement which further stated that clinical data and laboratory results received so far showed that infectious pathogens are unlikely to be the cause of death.

Photo taken on July 2, 2020 shows one of the elephant carcasses that were recently discovered in the Okavango Delta area, northern Botswana. (Xinhua)

Two suspected mineral elements and starvation have also been ruled out as potential causes of death.

The statement said that results received so far do not eliminate poisoning and therefore, environmental factors including naturally occurring toxins are still being investigated.

No new mortalities have been recorded and the ministry awaits further results.

Tests were done in Botswana, South Africa, the U.S. and Zimbabwe.