Twelve elephants have been found dead in Zimbabwe again. This brings the number of pachyderms that have probably succumbed to the same bacteria in a month to 34. The Zimbabwean authorities announced this on Monday.
“A total of 34 carcasses have been found (…) but others have not yet been located,” said Director of the Parks and Wildlife Authority, Fulton Upenyu Mangwanya. The animals died between August 24 and September 23 near Hwange Park, Zimbabwe’s largest reserve, located near the Botswana border. “They were found face down,” suggesting an “extremely sudden death,” Mangwanya said.
Tests conducted in Zimbabwe indicate a disease caused by bacterial infections. The foresters were initially afraid of poaching poisoning, but this trail was ruled out as the animals were found with intact tusks.
Further analyzes will take place in South Africa, as well as in laboratories in Great Britain and the United States.
Similar deaths have been reported in neighboring Botswana, which has the world’s largest population with 130,000 individuals. More than 300 elephants there fell prey to ‘cyanobacterial neurotoxins’. These would be released via dying algae in water pools.
In Zimbabwe there is an overpopulation of elephants. The African country has more than 84,000 elephants, while the estimated ecological carrying capacity is between 45,000 and 50,000 animals. In the Hwange Reserve, which has between 45,000 and 53,000 elephants on some 14,600 km2, many of them have died of hunger and thirst in recent years.
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