(Riya Singh, Intern Journalist): More than hundreds of elephants have died in northern Botswana. While it is being described as a massive die-off, scientists are calling it a ‘conservation disaster’. The first report on elephant deaths was reported in the Okavango delta in early May, where 169 dead elephants were found by the end of the month. By June, the number has doubled. 70% of the deaths were clustered around waterholes. The number of death now stands more than 360.
Two main possibilities of an increasing number of deaths could be poisoning or an unknown pathogen. Cyanide poisoning could be a possibility. Botswana government has not yet tested any samples. Therefore, there is no information on the cause of death. Locals say that they saw elephants walking in circles, which could act as an indication of neurological impairment.