Hundreds of elephants have mysteriously dropped dead in Botswana, leaving wildlife experts and government officials searching for answers.
Dr. Niall McCann, director of conservation at U.K.-based charity National Park Rescue, told the BBC that since the start of May, colleagues in Botswana had spotted over 350 elephant carcasses in the country’s Okavango Delta.
Heartbreaking aerial photos show the dead elephants dotted around the Botswanan landscape. The mysterious deaths have also sparked concerns about the potential health impact on people living in the local area.
“A catastrophic die-off of elephants is happing in northern Botswana, and no one knows why. It’s vital that a team of independent experts visit and sample the carcasses before any more elephants die, or this spills over into the local human population,” McCann tweeted Wednesday.
Government officials in Botswana say there is no evidence that poaching is involved in the mysterious elephant deaths.
McCann told the Guardian that elephants have been seen walking around in circles, which might indicate a neurological condition that is afflicting them. The biologist told the Guardian that some of the elephants have fallen straight on their faces, suggesting that they died quickly. Others, however, are dying more slowly.