330 elephants in Botswana could have died from poisonous algae

Gaborone, September 21

The sudden deaths of some 330 elephants in northwestern Botswana earlier this yr could have occurred as a result of they drank water contaminated by poisonous blue-green algae, the federal government introduced Monday.

The elephants within the Seronga space died from a neurological dysfunction that seems to have been attributable to ingesting water tainted by “a toxic bloom of cyanobacterium in seasonal pans (water sources) in the region”, mentioned Cyril Taolo, performing Director of the Department of Wildlife and National Parks.

The unexplained deaths ceased after the water pans dried up, mentioned Taolo, in a press convention in Gaborone, the capital.

No different wildlife species had been affected by the poisonous water within the Seronga space, near Botswana’s famed Okavango Delta, mentioned Taolo.          

Even scavengers, like hyenas and vultures, noticed feeding on the elephant carcasses confirmed no indicators of sickness, he mentioned.

With an estimated 130,000 elephants, Botswana has the world’s largest inhabitants of the pachyderms which attracts worldwide vacationers.

After the mysterious deaths of the elephants within the Seronga space, the federal government carried out intensive checks to find out the reason for the fatalities. Both female and male elephants of all ages died, with medical indicators restricted to neurologic signs, mentioned Taolo.

The deaths occurred primarily close to seasonal water pans and didn’t unfold past the initially affected area, he mentioned.

“Mortality event characteristics and the field, clinical, postmortem, histopathological, and laboratory findings suggest the elephants died from neurotoxic cyanobacterium (blue-green alga) toxicosis associated with a toxic bloom of cyanobacterium in seasonal pans in the region,” mentioned Taolo.

Taolo maintained neurotoxins from cyanobacteria dwelling in contaminated water may have affected the transmission of neurologic alerts inside an animal, inflicting paralysis and loss of life, predominately associated to respiratory failure.

“Neurologic signs were reversed in an animal receiving an opiate antagonist during field immobilization, suggesting the clinical signs arose from some process affecting the animal’s neurologic receptors,” mentioned Taolo.

He, nonetheless, couldn’t clarify why these toxins didn’t have an effect on another animals ingesting the affected water. He additionally dominated out human efforts like anthrax, poaching and sabotage.

“A monitoring plan of seasonal water-pans on a regular basis to track such future occurrences will be instituted immediately and will also include capacity building to monitor and test for toxins produced … by cyanobacteria,” mentioned Taolo. AP 


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