350 Elephants Killed By Rare Bacteria In Botswana & Zimbabwe, Researchers Say

350 Elephants Killed By Rare Bacteria In Botswana & Zimbabwe, Researchers Say

The tuskers were seen lifeless across the northwestern areas of the African country, with no evident injuries that could lead to any poaching activity.

FPJ Web DeskUpdated: Thursday, October 26, 2023, 07:30 PM IST
article-image
Representational image | PTI

The sudden deaths of more than 350 elephants in May and June 2020 in Botswana's Okavango Delta has stumped scientists and researchers. The tuskers were seen lifeless across the northwestern areas of the African nation, with no evident injuries that would suggest possible poaching. 

The incident affected the jumbos, showing a disturbing pattern of walking in circles before collapsing on their faces. Additionally, 35 elephants suffered the same fate in Zimbabwe's northern region around two months later.

Research suggests 

As per the Guardian, the deaths of elephants in Botswana were due to the unidentified cyanobacterial toxin, said the government official; no other information was revealed. However, the research on the elephants revealed that the cause of sudden deaths was due to a little-known bacterium called Pasteurella bisgaard taxon 45 that resulted in septicaemia, or blood poisoning.

According to the paper issued in the journal Nature Communications, bacterial infection has not before been linked to elephant deaths. Investigators believe the reason behind the deaths could be the same in neighbouring countries. In their report, the researchers said this denotes a vital conservation concern for elephants in the most significant remaining meta-population of this endangered species. 

Research team

The team, in collaboration with international researchers, including the Victoria Falls Wildlife Trust, the University of Surrey, and South Africa's research laboratories, authored the report. The team also featured inputs from the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) experts from the UK government.

About African elephants

With an alarming rate of 8 per cent, African savannah elephants are declining, mostly due to poaching. The study further suggests that infectious diseases should be added to the list of threats this endangered species faces, with only 350,000 remaining in the woods now.

RECENT STORIES

This ‘Not So’ Tiny QR Code Solved A Century-Old Problem In Agriculture

This ‘Not So’ Tiny QR Code Solved A  Century-Old Problem In Agriculture

Rising Black Carbon Levels Threaten Himalayan Glaciers: An Urgent Call For Environmental Action

Rising Black Carbon Levels Threaten Himalayan Glaciers: An Urgent Call For Environmental Action

Charles Darwin Birth Anniversary: Why The Theory Of Evolution Still Supersedes History Of Human...

Charles Darwin Birth Anniversary: Why The Theory Of Evolution Still Supersedes History Of Human...

First Bird Flu Deaths In Penguins Reported In Antarctica, Two Die Of Deadly H5N1 Strain

First Bird Flu Deaths In Penguins Reported In Antarctica, Two Die Of Deadly H5N1 Strain

ISRO's POEM-3 Successfully Achieves All Payload Objectives, PSLV-C58 To Leave Zero Debris In Space

ISRO's POEM-3 Successfully Achieves All Payload Objectives, PSLV-C58 To Leave Zero Debris In Space