Botswana says pure toxin could possibly be behind over 280 elephant deaths


Gaborone, July 30

Preliminary assessments to elucidate the rationale for tons of of mysterious elephant deaths in Botswana level to a naturally occurring toxin as a possible trigger, a senior wildlife official instructed Reuters.

It was extremely unlikely that an infectious illness was behind the stunning deaths of a minimum of 281 elephants, added Cyril Taolo, appearing director of the Department of Wildlife and National Parks.

Officials had been struggling to ascertain the reason for demise greater than two months after the primary carcasses have been noticed within the Okavango Panhandle area.

Initial investigations appeared to rule out frequent causes like poaching and anthrax.

“We have received more test results from other countries including the United States, and so far the results show that it’s highly unlikely that the cause could be an infectious pathogen,” Taolo mentioned.

“Our main attention … is now on investigating broader environmental factors such as naturally produced toxins from bacteria that are found in the environment, such as water bodies.”

The authorities has despatched samples to laboratories in Botswana, South Africa, Zimbabwe and the United States for assessments.

As of final week it had obtained outcomes from bacterial detection and toxicology assessments in Botswana, histopathology assessments in South Africa, and bacterial detection and histopathology assessments in Zimbabwe.

Taolo mentioned toxicology outcomes have been anticipated from South Africa quickly.

“It’s a game of elimination where we start testing the most common causes and then move on to the less common ones. We then have to verify and corroborate these results from different laboratory tests. We are hoping to provide a more concrete update tomorrow,” he mentioned.

The elephant deaths have involved some conservationists, who concern deaths may spiral uncontrolled if a trigger can’t be established shortly.

Africa’s general elephant inhabitants is declining as a result of poaching however Botswana, house to virtually a 3rd of the continent’s elephants, has seen numbers develop to round 130,000. — Reuters



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