Botswana investigates 154 elephant deaths, rules out poaching

www.reuters.com
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fairly difficult
Botswana is investigating the mysterious deaths of at least 154 elephants over two months in the northwest of the country, a wildlife official said on Monday, although poaching or poisoning have been ruled out.
GABORONE (Reuters) -

FILE PHOTO: A young bull elephant is seen in the Okavango Delta, Botswana, April 25, 2018. Picture taken April 25, 2018. REUTERS/Mike Hutchings/File Photo

"We are still awaiting results on the exact cause of death," Regional Wildlife Coordinator Dimakatso Ntshebe told Reuters.

The carcasses were found intact, suggesting they were not poached. Further investigations have also ruled out poisoning by humans and anthrax, which sometimes hits wildlife in this part of Botswana.

Africa's overall elephant population is declining due to poaching, but Botswana, home to almost a third of the continent's elephants, has seen numbers grow to 130,000 from 80,000 in the late 1990s, owing to well managed reserves.

However, they are seen as a growing nuisance by farmers, whose crops have been destroyed by elephants roaming the southern African country.

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