Almost 90 Elephants Killed Close To Botswana Wildlife Sanctuary

04 September, 2018, 16:53 | Author: Sherry Houston
  • Nearly 90 elephants were found slaughtered near a famous wildlife sanctuary in Botswana making the scale of poaching deaths the largest seen in Africa

The Elephants Without Borders group and wildlife officials in Botswana have conducted half of a national elephant census and so far have counted almost 90 "fresh and recent" carcasses of poached elephants, group director Mike Chase said in an email.

According to BBC, conservation group Elephants Without Borders discovered the elephants while carrying out an extensive aerial survey on wildlife close to the Okavango Delta wildlife sanctuary.

Experts from the Elephants Without Borders organization said it was the largest poaching casualty discovered at one time.

Botswana was home to a well-armed anti-poaching unit, which protected its elephants from human attackers with an unwritten "shoot-to-kill" policy towards poachers until it was disarmed in May.

Dr Mike Chase, from the group Elephants Without Borders, told the BBC that the massive scale of the find meant the government of Botswana needed to take "urgent and immediate action" on poaching. Five white rhinos were also killed over the past few months.

Then, this May, President Carter Morupisi issued a directive stripping the guns from anti-poaching units patrolling the country's porous border regions.

"I'm shocked, I'm completely astounded".

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The Great Elephant Census conducted in 2015 found that a third of African elephants have been lost in the last decade. "That is one of the reasons why, in Botswana, with our anti-poaching unit, we don't necessarily interrogate the poacher".

"People did warn us of an impending poaching problem and we thought we were prepared for it", Chase told BBC.

The poaching coincided with the disarming earlier this year of Botswana's rangers, according to Chase.

'Clearly we need to be doing more to stop the scale of what we are recording on our survey'. The survey is still underway and it is feared that the final figure could be higher.

"Botswana has always been at the forefront of conservation and it will require political will".

Dr Chase added: 'Our new president must uphold Botswana's legacy and tackle this problem quickly. "Tourism is vitally important for our economy, jobs, as well as our worldwide reputation, which is at stake here as being a safe stronghold for elephants." said Mr Chase.

'Tourism is vitally important for our economy, jobs, as well as our global reputation, which is at stake here as being a safe stronghold for elephants'.

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