Number Of Elephants Mysteriously Dying In Zimbabwe Doubles To 22
Warning: This article contains images which some readers may find distressing
The number of elephants that have died at a wildlife park in Zimbabwe has doubled to 22.
An investigation was launched this week when 11 elephants at Pandamasue Forest, between Hwange National Park and Victoria Falls, died in mysterious circumstances.
It's thought the sudden deaths were the result of a bacterial infection, though this has yet to be confirmed. Cyanide poisoning has been ruled out as a cause, however.
A spokesperson for Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority (Zimparks), Tinashe Farawo, confirmed that a further 11 elephants had been found dead on Tuesday (1 September) and Wednesday (2 September).
He said the majority of the elephants found were young, with the oldest being 18 years old.
In a tweet, he wrote: "After an aerial survey @Zimparks can confirm that 22 jumbos were found dead in Pandamasue Forests. More samples are collected for lab tests. We are burning and burying the carcasses."
While he told the press: "We suspect it is the same causes as the first group and we are also looking at taking samples to other independent laboratories so that we can broaden our investigations."
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Mr Farawo also said it would be a while before a final report would be published on the elephants' cause of death.
Speaking about the previous carcasses discovered last week, Mr Farawo said: "We can confirm that 11 elephants have been found dead and we're investigating the cause of the death.
"Our preliminary investigations have ruled out poaching and cyanide poisoning because the tusks are intact and no other animal species has been affected including vultures.
After an aerial survey @Zimparks can confirm that 22 jumbos were found dead in Pandamasue Forests. More samples are collected for lab tests. We are burning & burying the carcasses. @StarFMNews @DailyNewsZim @HeraldZimbabwe
- Tinashe Farawo (@FarawoTinashe) September 2, 2020
"Zimparks suspects anthrax and veterinary doctors are on the ground. We have taken samples to the laboratory and we are waiting for results. The affected animals are sub-adults and calves and they all died within the proximity of water bodies."
Back in July, more than 350 elephants were reported to have been found dead in Botswana.
At the time, scientists described the event as a 'conservation disaster', with the cause of death still unknown.
The first deaths were reported at the start of May, and when the figure rose to 169 elephants by the end of the month, scientists grew more concerned.
The number had more than doubled by the middle of June, with local sources saying they believed around 70 percent of the deaths to have occurred near waterholes.
Featured Image Credit: PA
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