More than 360 elephants have died under mysterious circumstances in Botswana in the past three months.
This is according to a CNN report citing local conservationists.
Niall McCann, director of conservation at United Kingdom charity National Park Rescue, said some of them just fell where they stood.
McCann added some carcasses were found clustered around waterholes
While others appeared to have died “falling flat on their faces.”
Live elephants are seen nearby appeared physically weak, and one was walking in circles, unable to change direction, said the report.
Curiously, other species in the area did not appear to have been affected by whatever struck down the elephants.
CNN said, the Botswana government is testing samples from the dead animals.
However, it is yet to determine a cause of death.
COVID-19 Is A Suspect
McCann believed there are a number of possibilities for what could have caused the deaths.
It could be triggered by an elephant-specific parasite.
He is also not ruling out the possibility that it could even be coronavirus.
“What I would like to emphasize is that this has the potential to be a public health crisis,” he said.
Whatever it may be, McCann said it was important to get to the bottom of it.
This is because any loss of elephant life has global significance, he said.
The African elephant is classified as vulnerable on the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) Red List, said CNN.
The first Great Elephant Census revealed that in just seven years, the numbers plummeted by at least 30%, or 144,000.
This pan-African survey conducted in 2016.
McCann noted that “It’s appalling — we need to know what the hell is going on.”
He added that he couldn’t recall another time when so many elephants had died from a mystery cause.
Botswana is home to 130,000 African elephants more than any other country on the continent.
What do you think caused this crisis?