Carcasses of almost 90 elephants found in Botswana

Carcasses of almost 90 elephants found in Botswana

Carcasses of almost 90 elephants found in Botswana

Poachers are killing elephants in the southern African country in increasing numbers after wiping out large numbers of elephants in nearby Zambia and Angola, a conservation group said.

The carcasses of almost 90 poached elephants have been discovered in Botswana causing one conservation group to say they are experiencing the greatest scale of elephant poaching recorded in Africa.

"We started flying the survey on 10 July, and we have counted 90 elephant carcasses since the survey commenced", Mike Chase, the charity's director, said.

The scientists involved with the survey estimated numerous elephants were killed for their tusks.

'This requires urgent and immediate action by the Botswana government, ' Dr Chase said.

The poaching coincided with the disarming earlier this year of Botswana's rangers, according to Chase.

Botswana has had a reputation for an unforgiving approach to poachers and had largely escaped the elephant losses seen elsewhere.

Botswana has the world's largest elephant population, but poachers have been breaching its border.

A team of scientists carrying out a survey found that numerous 87 elephants were killed for their horns near the Okavango Delta wildlife sanctuary in Botswana. The report added that the dead animals were found shortly after Botswana deactivated its anti-poaching unit and appeared to have been killed a few weeks ago for their tusks.

"People did warn us of an impending poaching problem and we thought we were prepared for it", said Mr Chase, who pointed to the disarmament of the country's anti-poaching unit as a cause. It's a move that goes against Botswana's former policy against poachers, which had garnered praise from conservationists for its "shoot to kill" stance.

Botswana Tourism Minister Tshekedi Khama confirmed to AFP that dozens of elephants had been poached, but gave no further details.

The landlocked country was considered a last haven for elephants in Africa. "Tourism is vitally important for our economy, jobs, as well as our global reputation, which is at stake here as being a safe stronghold for elephants", he said.

"A month after you were sworn in you disarmed the anti-poaching unit".

The wild pachyderms were shot with heavy-calibre rifles at watering spots near a popular wildlife sanctuary in the Okavango Delta.

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