Anthrax Ruled Out In Khwai Elephant Deaths


North West District Council Chairman Itumeleng Kelebetseng has in his address to the just ended full council meeting revealed that anthrax has been ruled out at the cause of mysterious elephants’ deaths that were experienced in the NG 19 concession late last year. He said it has been found that the animals died due to a combination of foot lesions and the raging drought.

A total of 42 elephants died in the Khwai area, after they were found to have difficulties walking, which subsequently affected their ability to access water and forage leading to their deaths.

“The wounds were suspected to be a result of wild fires and the extremely hot conditions experienced towards the end of year 2023,” Kelebetseng said.

Meanwhile Kelebetseng has noted with concern an alarming increase of elephant poaching in Khwai and surrounding areas. He indicated that council together with the Department of Wildlife and National Parks are closely monitoring the situation.

“Even though poaching intensity has gone down, we still get sporadic cases of bush-meat poaching in various parts of the district I plead with you honorable councilors to discourage constituents from engaging in illegal wildlife activities as this has a negative impact on our fauna,” Kelebetseng said.

Khwai Development Trust Vice-chairperson Paul Mothathobi had previously in an interview claimed that for a period of four months he had spotted a total number of 10 elephants carcases located within the same radius on different occasions in their concession.

He indicated that from his analysis of the carcases the elephants did not have gunshot wound to suggest poaching, raising his fears that Anthrax may have been the cause as it had been detected in neighbouring countries.

Mothathobi had dismissed assumptions that the elephants might have been killed by drought arguing that the animals are mixed feeders adding that surface water is still available in the Khwai areas.

“I think there is need for a research to establish what is killing the elephants in such numbers within a short period and find ways to prevent the deaths. I have been a resident of Khwai and have never witnessed elephants dying in such numbers,” Mothathobi noted.


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