The carcasses of nearly 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.
87 carcasses were recently discovered by the NGO Elephants Without Borders during an aerial survey of the nation, which has long been considered one of the continent’s most reliable strongholds against elephant poaching.
Shockingly, the mutilated elephants were found near the protected Okavango Delta region, and far away from the borders where poaching has traditionally been more rife.
Even more maddening is the fact Elephants Without Borders’ survey is only halfway done.
Speaking to the BBC, the group’s Dr Mike Chase said the findings suggest that Botswana is recording double the amount of fresh poached elephants – so, elephants killed within the last three months – than anywhere else in Africa.
“I’m shocked, I’m completely astounded,” he said.
“The scale of elephant poaching is by far the largest I’ve seen or read about anywhere in Africa to date.”
The findings come several months after the nation’s government drastically wound back its anti-poaching operations and withdrew military support for units in national parks.
In a July open letter condemning members of parliament who adopted a motion to wind back the ban on trophy hunting, Dr Chase wrote “We must now harness our global position as a leader in wildlife tourism and ensure that our national elephant herd improves the quality of life for all Batswana.”
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