September 22, 2020 at 3:52 pm
This cyanobacterium was one of those on the list of probable reasons behind elephant deaths in Botswana, the African country with the largest herds on the continent and worldwide.
How the Novo Jornal reported about two weeks ago, the prolonged drought that the south of the continent goes through has dried up ponds and ponds, forcing animals to drink water that, normally, and instinctively, they refuse because they have accumulated memory of the harmful effects that cause the presence of these bacteria that give off a characteristic odor and are potentially deadly to several species of wildlife.
This discovery resulted from the efforts made by dozens of researchers who sought over the past few months to find the reason for these unusual deaths of hundreds of elephants, having now reached this conclusion through laboratory tests carried out in South Africa and Europe
According to the local press, those responsible for the wildlife department of the Gaborone Government admitted their satisfaction that they finally understood the reason for these deaths, but according to one of those responsible for the Botswana Department of Wildlife and National Parks, Cyril Taolo, now we need to find out why other animals are not being affected.
And it was also known that the deaths reduced to a great extent when the wells and ponds in the most affected region dried up.
Since the beginning of this year, more than 350 elephants have been found dead in Botswana, in the Okavango Delta, with no one yet having explanations for this death and the phenomenon is spreading to Zimbabwe, where dozens of bodies have already been found. of this species also without known causes.
The phenomenon of elephants killed in Botswana, in a number never seen without knowing the reason, began to be noticed last May and after, in 2019, the Gaborone Government created legislation to allow the killing of pachyderms, claiming the need the return of hunting tourism and also because the herds are growing unsustainably due to the long years of protection that this species is subject to due to the risk of extinction on the African continent and because they are beginning to invade plantations in the region due to severe drought.
Among the elephants killed, both in Botswana and Zimbabwe, are juveniles, adults, females and males, without apparent distinction, and this situation has caught scientists off guard.
The phenomenon became even more intriguing because many of the individuals who perished, before falling dead, walked for some time in disconnected circles, eventually fainting and letting their heads fall forward.
Scientists who have analyzed and studied this phenomenon describe the situation as an unparalleled “natural disaster”.
On recent reconnaissance flights, large herds of hundreds of elephants have given way to just a few, scattered, almost always older individuals, which means that thousands have fled the region, so far without knowing very well where, but neighboring countries are a possibility, which includes, in addition to Zimbabwe, Angola, Zambia, Namibia and even South Africa.
Shortly after the first abnormal bodies were discovered, the theories that gained the most credibility were an epidemic of a virus called EMC, with the scientific name of encephalomyocarditis, or a neurotoxin from an algae that grows in pools of water with certain climatic conditions, mostly as a result of climate change that force animals to travel long distances to find water, sometimes consuming contaminated water in despair because of severe thirst.