February 20, 2021
Francinah Baaitse Mmana, The Voice Botswana
See link for photos.
A team of doctors flew into the Okavango delta this week in a search mission for elephant carcasses.
This follows the discovery of eleven carcasses around Moremi Game Reserve in the past two weeks, regional wildlife officer in Maun, Dimakatso Ntshebe has revealed. “We can only answer whether or not we are facing another mass elephant mortality by next week. At the moment a team has flown into the delta to search a wider area of the Okavango for clues,” explained Ntshebe.
Last year over 300 elephants died in the delta under mysterious circumstances, throwing conservationist into a dilemma. It was only after months of tests that it was discovered that the beasts died from a water borne bacteria, a mystery cause, since other wild animals which were drinking from the same water sources were not affected.
Some scientists opined that since elephants spend more time in water and drink large amounts of water that could have been the only logical explanation.
“No medication was produced because the deaths naturally stopped,” explained Ntshebe.
He further added that they discovered that the elephants were poisoned as the water levels went down, “but because of the rain water, it appears the bacteria became less concentrated.”
Okavango just as the rest of the country has been receiving above average rainfall this rainy season that started last year October. According to the weather forecast, the rains are expected to continue until next month.
Ntshebe expressed worry as more elephants died last year, 2020, from April until around August and April is just around the corner. “This year we have only recorded 11 deaths but the ongoing investigations will give us a better picture by next week.”