Climate link to bug killing off elephants
HUNDREDS of elephants that died mysteriously were killed by natural toxins in delta water, investigators said.
And climate change could make these algal blooms more common, posing a long- term threat to wildlife.
About 330 elephants have been found dead in Botswana’s Okavango Delta since May, with the vast majority near watering holes.
Yet only elephants seemed to be affected in the wildlife- rich wilderness. The Department of Wildlife and National Parks head vet Mmadi Reuben said: “Tests have detected cyanobacterial neurotoxins to be the cause of deaths.”
Cyanobacteria are microscopic organisms common in water and sometimes found in soil.
Not all produce toxins but those that do are being found more often as climate change makes the world hotter.
Southern Africa’s temperatures are rising at twice the global average say climate change experts.
Elephants may have been so hard hit because they drink such large volumes and immerse themselves in the watering holes.
African elephants have fallen from about 10 million in the 1930s to around 400,000 today.