Jakarta, CNN Indonesia –
Hundreds elephant in Botswana mysteriously died. The bodies of the elephants were found around the water hole in the Okavango Delta.
This incident was first reported in early May where 169 elephants were found dead. Then in mid-June the number increased dramatically. Reportedly more than 350 elephants died.
“This is mass death at a rate that has not been seen in a very, very long time. Outside the drought, I do not know death like this,” said conservation director at National Park Rescue Niall McCann was quoted as saying by The Guardian, Thursday (2/7).
Until now it is not yet known why the elephants died and whether this also poses a risk to human health. But the local government has ruled out the possibility of poisoning and anthrax as a cause of death.
Residents around said the dead elephants were of all ages and genders. Some elephants look weak and thin. Before falling down, the elephants were seen circling.
“We know that elephants are dying. Of the 350 animals, we have confirmed 280. We are still in the process of confirming the rest,” acting director of the Botswana Wildlife and National Park Department Cyril Taolo told Guardian.
However there are allegations of more deaths than reported because of carcasses difficult to find.
Taolo claimed to have sent samples for further analysis. However, it may take a long time to find out the results due to limitations due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
It is known that there are around 15 thousand elephants living in the Delta. Ecotourism has contributed to 12 percent of Botswana’s GDP, second only to diamonds.
“You see elephants as a national asset. They are diamonds roaming around the Okavango Delta,” McCann said.
According to him the death of the elephant elephant was a conservation disaster. McCann considers the state to fail to protect one of its most valuable assets.