More elephants mysteriously die in Okavango Delta


Thalefang Charles, Mmegi Online

Date Published
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The Department of Wildlife and National Parks (DWNP) and the Department of Veterinary Services (DVS) have today confirmed 11 new elephant carcasses in the Okavango Delta.
The cause of the deaths is still a mystery, but officials have ruled out poaching as all the carcasses had the tusks intact and did not have bullet holes.

According to the director of DWNP Kabelo Senyatso, “A joint investigation team comprising DWNP and Department of Veterinary Services vets and other technical experts is at Mombo to (i) sample the carcasses we are aware of and (ii) use a helicopter to overfly Chief’s Island within Moremi Game Reserve to see if there are any more carcasses.”

Senyatso added, “The National Vet Lab would then provide their guidance as per the schedule for processing the samples, and at that stage DWNP will be in a position to issue a report on what may have killed the elephants.”

In 2020, over 330 elephants died in the Gonutsoga area on the Eastern Okavango Panhandle from ingesting cyanobacteria.

Cyanobacteria is toxic bacteria that can occur naturally in standing water and sometimes grows into large blooms known as blue-green algae.

Botswana is home to a third of the world’s total elephant population.