Elephants drink from the Chobe National Park in Botswana. (File photo/AP)
BOTSWANA: The sudden deaths of some 330 elephants in northwestern Botswana earlier this year may have occurred because they drank water contaminated by toxic blue-green algae, the government announced Monday.
The elephants in the Seronga area died from a neurological disorder that appears to have been caused by drinking water tainted by “a toxic bloom of cyanobacterium in seasonal pans (water sources) in the region,” said Cyril Taolo, acting Director of the Department of Wildlife and National Parks.
The unexplained deaths ceased after the water pans dried up, said Taolo, in a press conference in Gaborone, the capital.
No other wildlife species were affected by the toxic water in the Seronga area, close to Botswana’s famed Okavango Delta, said Taolo. Even scavengers, like hyenas and vultures, observed feeding on the elephant carcasses showed no signs of illness, he said.
With an estimated 130,000 elephants, Botswana has the world’s largest population of the pachyderms which attracts international tourists. (AP/RSS)