Elephant poaching spree kills 90 after anti-poaching unit disbanded.
It happened in Botswana.
This is an unprecedented massacre.
And a distinct change.
Botswana long has been recognized as a strong defender of African wildlife.
The massacre took place after a new government disbanded an anti-poaching unit.
Under President Mokgweetsi Masisi anti-poaching units (APU) were removed from Botswana’s borders.
And on top of that the anti-poaching units had their guns confiscated.
Until now elephants from other countries were crossing into Botswana for safety.
Botswana has about 130,000 elephants.
About 35,000 elephants are killed each year in Africa.
The killings have sparked an international outrage.
Elephant Poaching Spree Kills 90
And now a petition is circulating seeking the restoration of the anti-poaching unit.
Most of the dead elephants were large bulls carrying heavy tusks, Elephants Without Borders says.
The grizzly discovery was made during an aerial survey.
It was conducted by scientists from Elephants Without Borders and Botswana’s Department of Wildlife and National Parks.
Says Mike Chase, director, Elephants Without Borders:
“We started flying the survey on 10 July, and we have counted 90 elephant carcasses since the survey commenced. Each day, we are counting dead elephants.”
According to Chase, the carcasses’ skulls were “chopped open by presumably very sharp axes, to remove their tusks”.
In some cases, the trunks were also removed.
National Public Radio quotes Chase as saying.
“All carcasses [were] presumed to be poached, because all of them had their skulls chopped to remove their tusks. Poachers tried to hide their crimes by concealing the mounds of rotting flesh with drying bushes.”
“The varying classification and age of carcasses is indicative of a poaching frenzy which has been ongoing in the same area for a long time.”
Until this latest incident elephant conservation was deemed a great success in Africa.
Elephants have a close affinity with humans and some of the interactions are amazing.