BBC

BuffaloesImage copyrightSERONDELA LODGE
Image captionOn Wednesday morning local people woke up to find hundreds of dead buffaloes in the Chobe river

Hundreds of buffaloes have drowned in a river on the border between Botswana and Namibia.

Early investigations suggest the herd was being chased by lions and ran into the river, say Botswana authorities.

A local lodge owner told the BBC that it looks like the buffaloes then got stuck because the bank on the other side of the river was too high and that they panicked and stampeded.

He has never heard of such a large group of buffaloes drowning before.

The authorities in Botswana estimate that roughly 400 buffaloes died.

People living in the area collected the buffaloes and took them home to eat.

Simone Micheletti, who owns a lodge on the Namibian side of the river, said that the herd was unusually large – at roughly 1,000 buffaloes.

He took photos of the scene:

BuffaloesImage copyrightSERONDELA LODGE
BuffaloImage copyrightSERONDELA LODGE

Mr Micheletti told the BBC that he heard the lions roaring a lot on Tuesday night. When he went down to the river on Wednesday morning he saw hundreds of dead buffaloes.

He added that it was cloudy on Tuesday night so he suspects the clouds blocked the moonlight, meaning the buffaloes couldn’t see.

Botswana’s environment ministry released a statement saying that mass drownings are not unusual in the Chobe River, but Mr Micheletti says that the scale of the deaths is unheard of. The biggest mass drowning he has heard of before was around 50 buffaloes.

He said that most of the bodies have been taken out of the river by people living nearby in order to eat them, something he said the authorities have given them permission to do.

Woman holding buffalo legImage copyrightSERONDELA LODGE
People holding buffaloesImage copyrightSERONDELA LODGE
People on river bankImage copyrightSERONDELA LODGE

Phys.org

Lions suspected in drowning of 400 buffaloes in Botswana

November 8, 2018
A herd of wild buffaloes roam a game reserve in the Chobe district of northern Botswana in September 2018
A herd of wild buffaloes roam a game reserve in the Chobe district of northern Botswana in September 2018

More than 400 buffaloes believed to have been chased by lions drowned in a river in northern Bostwana this week, the government said.

The mass drowning occurred in Chobe River near the border with Namibia.

Early investigations by authorities in both countries “suggest that an exceptionally large  herd was grazing in Namibia when they stampeded into the Chobe River,” Botswana’s Ministry of Environment, Natural Resources Conservation and Tourism said in a statement late Wednesday.

“Initial indications are that they were being chased by a pride of lions,” the ministry said.

“It is estimated that more than 400 animals drowned due to the massive movement of buffalo trampling, and falling from steep river banks.”

Mass drownings are not uncommon, the ministry added.

Namibian media reported that the incident occurred on Tuesday night.

Read more at: https://phys.org/news/2018-11-lions-buffaloes-botswana.html#jCp