Mysterious Botswana elephant deaths may be due to new pathogen

The hundreds of elephants that mysteriously died in Botswana might have been victims of a pachyderm-adverse pathogen, a deadly new novel disease, according to the government.

The world was shocked earlier this month when the intact bodies of 281 elephants were found near the Okavango Delta. Samples were sent to Zimbabwe and South Africa and initial results have, according to Bloomberg, “eliminated known diseases that would cause mass deaths and this may signal ‘novel diseases,’ the government said in a statement.”

Although the number of deaths so far represents a fraction of the estimated 130,000 elephants in Botswana, there are fears more could die if authorities cannot establish the cause soon.


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