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Twelve more elephants were found dead in Zimbabwe, bringing to 34 the number of pachyderms which, in one month, likely succumbed to the same bacteria, wildlife authorities said on Monday.
Mysterious elephant deaths continue in Zimbabwe. Twelve other pachyderms were found dead, adding another 22 dead in a month, presumably from the same bacteria, wildlife authorities said Monday (September 28th).
“A total of 34 carcasses have been found (…) but others have not yet been located,” said the director of the Parks and Wildlife Authority, Fulton Upenyu Mangwanya.
The animals died between August 24 and September 23 near Hwange Park, Zimbabwe’s largest reserve, located near the border with Botswana.
“They were found lying on their stomachs”, which suggests “an extremely sudden death,” said Fulton Upenyu Mangwanya.
Tests conducted in Zimbabwe indicate illness caused by bacterial infections.
The trail of poisoning by poachers dismissed
The forest guards had initially feared poisoning by poachers, but this track was ruled out because the animals were found with their tusks intact.
Further analyzes are to be carried out in South Africa, but also in laboratories in the United Kingdom and the United States.
Elephants are overpopulated in Zimbabwe, which has more than 84,000 individuals, with an estimated ecological capacity of between 45,000 and 50,000.
In the Hwange reserve, which has between 45,000 and 53,000 elephants in some 14,600 km², many of them have died of hunger and thirst in recent years.
In neighboring Botswana, which has 130,000 free-roaming elephants, the largest population in the world, the mysterious death this year of more than 300 pachyderms has been attributed to natural toxins.