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No conclusive answer for Botswana elephant deaths, but poison can't be ruled out

12 August 2020 11:18 AM
Tags:
Botswana
Poison
Tests
Dr Niall McCann
elephant die-off
Okavango Delta
Botswana elephant deaths
elephant mass deaths
Conservationist

The first test results to ascertain the cause of the deaths of hundreds of elephants in the famed Okavango Delta have been inconclusive.

However, the results did not eliminate the possibility of poisoning.

More than 300 elephant carcasses have been discovered north of the Okavango Delta since March.

The cause of death remains a mystery.

Botswana, home to the world's largest elephant population, sent test samples to laboratories in South Africa and Zimbabwe.

The preliminary results suggest that the deaths could be linked to environmental factors, including naturally occurring toxins.

Authorities have so far ruled out poaching, as the elephant tusks were found intact.

RELATED: Independent scientists must probe mysterious elephant deaths in Botswana: expert

Conservationist Dr. Niall McCann says more samples of the elephant carcasses and of the environment, including the water and soil in the area, must be collected and tested.

McCann, the director of the UK-based conservation charity National Park Rescue, has described the death as unprecedented and catastrophic.

He says finding the root cause of the mass deaths won't be an easy task.

Trying to identify environmental toxins or poisons, novel pathogens, or whatever this is is frightfully difficult.

Dr Niall McCann, Director and founder - National Park Rescue

It's probably no surprise to many within the field that we still don't have a conclusive answer.

Dr Niall McCann, Director and founder - National Park Rescue

It's obviously concerning. I wish we already knew what it was so that we could rule it out happening again.

Dr Niall McCann, Director and founder - National Park Rescue

Meanwhile, it appears that Bottsawana's remaining elephant population has fled the Okavango Delta since the die-off event.

Listen to Dr Niall McCann in conversation with Mike Wills:


12 August 2020 11:18 AM
Tags:
Botswana
Poison
Tests
Dr Niall McCann
elephant die-off
Okavango Delta
Botswana elephant deaths
elephant mass deaths
Conservationist

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