Mystery over dead Elephants

SHARE   |   Wednesday, 27 May 2020   |   By Solomon Tjinyeka
Dead elephant in the Okavango Dead elephant in the Okavango

Residents of Okavango sub district have dismissed claims suggesting that they are behind the recent mysterious deaths of about 54 elephants, which continue to die in large numbers along the Okavango delta.

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A resident of Seronga, Molathegi Moyei also the chairman of Okavango Community Trust (OCT) stated that residents are still shocked by the death of elephants. He dismissed claims that farmers could have poisoned them as a revenge as they destroy their crops. “This time there was minimal human wildlife conflict in our areas as many farmers ploughed and secured their yield before elephants could destroy their fields. I don’t see any motive for farmers to do this,” said Moyei.

Moyei who is also a nominated Botswana Democratic Party BDP, highlighted that residents are also cooperating with wildlife authorities so that they can find the cause of the death of elephants. He also said they have also advised residents not to be tempted to feed on elephants’ carcasses as it could be dangerous. ‘People are cooperating and are not eating on elephants’ carcasses,’ Moyei stated

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He also expressed concern that some carcasses were found inside the Okavango delta and this poses a threat to their lives as residents depend on river. He however, stated that it’s not much of a threat as the river is flowing as it washes out the waste.

Ministry of Environment, Natural Resources Conservation and Tourism issued a statement raising concerns about the mysterious death of elephants in Seronga and Eretsha over the last past weeks. A total of 12 death were recorded last week compared to 44 that were registered on the 18th of March 2020.

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Its further states that preliminary investigations regarding the causes of deaths are currently ongoing, whilst surveillance operations are underway to trace any more dead elephants. The department has also ruled out possibility of poaching because all carcasses of the elephants found intact.

North West regional wildlife officer, Dimakatso Ntshebe told this publication that as of yesterday carcasses of recovered along the delta area stand at 54 which is high number.  The regional wildlife officer says the death of elephants still unknown and the tests have been conducted and sent to Gaborone veterinary laboratory, results are expected next week. Ntshebe further stated that they could not state whether its anthrax or any disease as that will be revealed by the postmodern.

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He however stated the department still shocked by the mortality rate of elephants as it is the first time to experience such especially in the many elephants dies this season as they always die during the dry season. Ntshebe also said previously some hippos and elephants died due to anthrax outbreak but not at such a high rate. The regional wildlife boss further ruled out poisoning of elephants as it could also lead to collateral damages of some scavengers feeding on elephants’ carcasses also died but that was not the case. “If it was poisoning, some scavengers who were feeding on elephant carcasses could have died but that was not the case,” he said, adding that they are still not sure of the death of elephants.



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