According to wildlife officials in Botswana recent mass deaths of elephants in the Okavango Delta was caused by a waterborne bacterium. It is estimated that 330 elephants died between April and June this year.
Dr. Mmadi Reuben, the chief veterinary officer for Botswana’s Department of Wildlife and National Parks, told a news conference that the cause was cyanobacteria, a waterborne bacteria that produces deadly toxins which can affect an elephant’s nervous system.
He said officials are still investigating why the bacteria affected only elephants.
“We know the elephant to be the only animal for example, that is drinking below the surface of the water. And where the depth is a challenge, it clearly shows the possibility of the specie being able to suck the silt, which is really where the growth of the cyanobacteria is,” he said.
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