ELEPHANTS, TOURISTS ATTRACTION IN BOTSWANA are dying. Visits of tourists to Botswana game parks to catch glimpse of wildlife were exciting with vast array of elephants. Botswana has human population of about two million, and elephant population of about 130,000, said to be about a third of Africa’s population.
Botswana escaped the scourge of elephant killings for ivory, still in high demand in China and other countries, due to ban on poaching. But over 100 elephants have been reported dead in Botswana in the past two months, as a result of suspected anthrax outbreak and lack of rainfall, according to wildlife official in the country.
This week, more than 10 elephants were found dead in Botswana. Their carcasses will be burnt to prevent spread of anthrax infection. Parts of Southern Africa have been hit by severe drought. This has also led to deaths of 55 elephants in the famous Hwange National Park, in Botswana’s neighbour Zimbabwe, over the past two months.
Department of Wildlife and National Parks statement said: “Preliminary investigations suggest the elephants are dying from anthrax whilst some died from drought effects. Due to the severe drought, elephants end up ingesting soil while grazing and get exposed to the anthrax bacteria spore.”
Anthrax is caused by bacillus anthracis. It can be deadly, but usually does not spread easily, according to report. It largely survives as spores that hide away in soil for years before entering an animal through a cut or wound.