Streaming issues? Report here
Sara-Jayne King Sara-Jayne King
Weekend Breakfast with Sara-Jayne King
06:00 - 10:00
volume_up
volume_mute

Up Next: An Hour With a Special Guest on Just the Hits
See full line-up
Weekend Breakfast with Sara-Jayne King
06:00 - 10:00
Home
arrow_forward
Local
fiber_manual_record
Africa

Independent scientists must probe mysterious elephant deaths in Botswana: expert

6 July 2020 4:55 PM
Tags:
Elephant
Botswana
Wildlife
Elephant conservation
elephant deaths
Dr Niall McCann
elephant die-off
National Park Rescue

A conservationist says Botswana’s government needs to hire an independent team to investigate the unexplained deaths of hundreds of elephants.

Dr. Niall McCann, the director of the UK-based conservation charity National Park Rescue, has described the deaths of hundreds of elephants as unprecedented and catarsophic.

The carcasses of more than 400 elephants have been discovered north of the Okavango Delta in the past two months, but nobody knows what’s killing them.

It could be a pathogen, poison, or natural toxin.

McCann says independent wildlife forensics are needed to thoroughly test various samples from the carcasses, including blood tissue, muscle tissue, stomach contents, and brain matter.

He says samples of the environment will also have be collected, including the water and soil in the area.

An independent team needs to come in, thoroughly sample the area, transport those samples back to the labs, and do the tests themselves.

Dr Niall McCann, Director and founder - National Park Rescue

Widely-spread pictures of the elephant carcases have triggered an international outcry from conservation groups which have accused Botswana authorities of dragging their heels.

The unexplained deaths need to be urgently investigated because whatever is killing the elephants could pose a risk for human safety, if it's a disease or poison, says McCann.

He adds that the mass deaths may have a negative impact on the country's economy given that elephants are the second-largest contributors to GDP in Botswana, through the country's eco-tourism.

RELATED: Botswana bans hunters who shot dead a research elephant and destroyed its collar

It's way beyond just a local issue, this is an issue of international concern.

Dr Niall McCann, Director and founder - National Park Rescue

In the region of 400 elephants have died already in the Okavango Delta region, near the Caprivi Strip in Nambia, from unknown causes. This is pretty staggering.

Dr Niall McCann, Director and founder - National Park Rescue

Normally, when you come across a die-off event, it's very easy to tell what's happened; anthrax, or cyanide or whatever. But at the moment, we just do not know [what's happened].

Dr Niall McCann, Director and founder - National Park Rescue

None of the elephants are showing signs of wounds. They all seem to be dying of some kind of neuronal impairment.

Dr Niall McCann, Director and founder - National Park Rescue

Those that are dying are often dying very quickly, falling flat on their faces as if suddenly they've collapsed.

Dr Niall McCann, Director and founder - National Park Rescue

Others have been witnessed alive but wandering around in a confused state with motor impairments, indicating that something is happening to their nervous system.

Dr Niall McCann, Director and founder - National Park Rescue

McCann hasn't ruled out the possibility that poachers could be behind die-off.

At the same time, cyanide, the most commonly used poison in the region, has been ruled out because no scavengers - such as vultures, jackals, and hyenas - are dying from feeding off the carcasses.

Listen to the discussion for more analysis:


6 July 2020 4:55 PM
Tags:
Elephant
Botswana
Wildlife
Elephant conservation
elephant deaths
Dr Niall McCann
elephant die-off
National Park Rescue

More from Local

190715-winde-edjpg

[WATCH] Alcohol sales should be allowed in the Western Cape, says Premier Winde

7 August 2020 6:28 PM

Premier Alan Winde says he's pushing for the alcohol ban to be lifted in the province.

Share this:
Read More arrow_forward

no-smoking-sign-prohibition-cigarette-ban-tobacco-products-illicit-trade-123rf

Judgment reserved in tobacco case, lawyer says it's headed to the SCA either way

7 August 2020 5:42 PM

Judgment has been reserved in the lastest major court challenge of the ban on the sale of tobacco products.

Share this:
Read More arrow_forward

liquor-sales-alcohol-beer-booze-drinking-consumption-drinks-bottles-123rf

Provincial leaders discuss possibility of exempting Western Cape from booze ban

7 August 2020 3:29 PM

Premier Alan Winde has been locked in a meeting with his provincial Cabinet discussing a differentiated approach to the alcohol ban in the province.

Share this:
Read More arrow_forward

Septic tank 123rf

Cops link case of severed head in septic tank with burnt body and 19 firearms

7 August 2020 1:59 PM

"The case is complicated," says Brigadier Mathapelo Peters. "I think 'bizarre' is the appropriate description."

Share this:
Read More arrow_forward

mask-child-boy-learner-pupil-class-classroom-Covid-19-teaching-school-123rf

Send kids back to school, it’s safer for them there - SA Paediatric Association

7 August 2020 12:57 PM

"Covid-19 is going to be with us for years. On balance, it’s better for kids to be in school," says Prof Mignon McCulloch.

Share this:
Read More arrow_forward

laptop-movie-series-film-online-content-streaming-platform-internet-123rf

Lawyer concerned that 'internet censorship bill' may be used as a political tool

7 August 2020 12:31 PM

Legal advisor Nicholas Hall argues that the controversial the Film and Publications Amendment Bill is highly problematic.

Share this:
Read More arrow_forward

mrs-base-on-the-day-of-her-dischargejpg

Cape Town woman (63) recovers from Covid-19 after 69-day hospital stay

7 August 2020 10:36 AM

A mother of three from Gugulethu was finally discharged after being hospitalised for almost 70 days due to Covid-19.

Share this:
Read More arrow_forward

Drinking driving keys whisky whiskey brandy drunk diu 123rf

'Nothing fishy about R600K Range Rover deposit. It was owed to me for alcohol'

7 August 2020 10:25 AM

Thabane Zulu (former DG, Human Settlements) reluctantly testified before the Zondo commission on Thursday, says eNCA’s Erin Bates.

Share this:
Read More arrow_forward

200722capetowntechgif

Daily infection rate of confirmed SA Covid-19 cases has stabilised - researcher

7 August 2020 9:11 AM

Ridhwaan Suliman gives an overview of Covid-19 statistics from his personal perspective having tracked the numbers consistently.

Share this:
Read More arrow_forward

traffic lights vandalised Jakes Gerwel Drive 2016

Traffic light battery theft during lockdown cost City of Cape Town R6.5 million

7 August 2020 7:19 AM

City 's Transport Mayco member Felicity Purchase says replacing infrastructure instead of providing more services is a tragedy.

Share this:
Read More arrow_forward

More from Africa

performance-3202707-1920jpg

Nigerian Afrobeats star aims to raise $20m to fund the continent's musicians

6 August 2020 9:03 PM

'Mr Eazi' launched the Africa Music Fund to support the continent's creative talent. Bruce Whitfield interviews Lee Kasumba.

Share this:
Read More arrow_forward

sheep-squashed-together-herd-farm-animals-live-export-trade-livestock-123rf

NSPCA heads to High Court in latest battle against live sheep export

5 August 2020 4:55 PM

Animal welfare group National Council of SPCAs (NSPCA) wants to put an end to the live export of animals to the Middle East.

Share this:
Read More arrow_forward

absajpg

Absa wins international award for its response to Covid-19

5 August 2020 11:38 AM

The bank is one of only six in the world to be recognised in this way for outstanding performance during the global health crisis.

Share this:
Read More arrow_forward

I love Zimbabwe 123rf 123rfAfrica

Zimbabwean lives matter! Yet, deafening silence from regional superpower SA

5 August 2020 9:37 AM

Zimbabweans are mobilising against the state’s brutal attacks, but seek regional solidarity, says Amnesty International SA.

Share this:
Read More arrow_forward

Nigeria flag nigerian 123rf 123rfAfrica 123rfBusiness

Shoprite pulls the plug on Nigeria (pop 206m) – trouble for SA companies abroad?

3 August 2020 6:34 PM

Shoprite is exiting the oil-rich but spending-money-poor nation. Bruce Whitfield interviews Dianna Games (Africa At Work).

Share this:
Read More arrow_forward

Zimbabwe flag 123rf

Zim govt 'clamps down on dissent' after Covid corruption exposés spark protests

3 August 2020 5:13 PM

Zimbabwe is making international headlines as authorities arrest citizens for protesting against alleged corruption by the government.

Share this:
Read More arrow_forward

Maize field mealie farm farmer agriculture 123rf 123rfbusiness 123rflifestyle

Covid-19 makes it clear – African agriculture is vital, now more than ever

14 July 2020 2:23 PM

The economy is shedding jobs – but not in agriculture, says Roux Wildenboer, Head of Agriculture at Absa.

Share this:
Read More arrow_forward

Food security hunger feeding 123rf 123rfbusiness 123rflifestyle

South Africa is an emerging epicentre of hunger – Oxfam

10 July 2020 3:39 PM

More people are likely to die from Covid-19-related hunger than the disease itself, warns Oxfam in its “Hunger Virus” report.

Share this:
Read More arrow_forward

Port Louis Mauritius

World Bank declares Mauritius to be a high-income country

7 July 2020 8:36 PM

It’s official – Mauritius is a rich country. It joins Seychelles as the only other African country on the list.

Share this:
Read More arrow_forward

Dar es Salaam Tanzania 123rf 123rfbusiness Africa 123rfAfrica

World Bank declares once-poor Tanzania a middle-income country

7 July 2020 8:09 PM

It’s official - Tanzania, though not yet rich, is no longer poor. Bruce Whitfield interviews Lee Kasumba (Africa State of Mind).

Share this:
Read More arrow_forward