- Officials in Botswana says the cause of an elephant die-off may be a novel disease.
- At least 350 elephants have been found dead in the country in the last two months.
- Botswana is home to Africa’s largest elephant population of 130,000.
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Elephants in Botswana may be facing a deadly outbreak of their own.
Earlier this month, conservationists told Business Insider that at least 350 elephants have been found dead in the African country over the last two months, with no answers yet as to what killed them.
Distressing photographs show some of the elephants have fallen on their faces on the savanna, never to get up again.
But Botswanan officials suggested in a recent statement that a novel disease could be to blame, according to Bloomberg.
That’s because samples of the elephant carcasses tested so far have ruled out known diseases that have caused mass deaths in herds in the past.
The officials said they plan to release more information on the tests next week.
UK-based conservation organization National Park Rescue has criticized the Botswanan government for not addressing the deaths fast enough.
“It’s one of the biggest disasters to impact elephants this century, and right in the middle of one of Africa’s top tourism destinations,” Mark Hiley, National Park Rescue’s co-founder, said.
Botswana, in southern Africa, with 130,00 elephants, is home to the world’s largest population.
Hiley said that conservationists had urged Botswanan officials to act, to no avail.
He said officials dragged their feet for weeks about sending samples of the carcasses off for analysis.