GABORONE, Oct. 28 (Xinhua) — The Botswana government and some unnamed private organizations are setting up boreholes in the northern part of the southern African country to save drought stricken elephants, an official said Monday.
Thato Raphaka, the permanent secretary in the ministry of environment, natural resources conservation and tourism, said all wildlife regional offices in northern Botswana have been requested to report elephant mortalities so quickly.
“As of now, the government and some private organizations are assisting with the setting up and rehabilitation of boreholes in the northern region (of Botswana) so as to provide water to wildlife,” said Raphaka in a telephone interview with Xinhua.
According to Raphaka, wildlife officials based in the northern part of Botswana have been requested to report elephant mortalities to that quick sampling for further investigation can be done.
Raphaka said wildlife go long distances in search for water and vegetation since the whole of the northern Botswana is affected by the climate change induced drought hence getting in contact with diseases and ultimately end up dying.
Approximately, at least 120 elephants in Chobe area, some 870km northwest of Botswana’s capital city, Gaborone were last week reported dead mainly due to anthrax, which is associated with the drought, he said.
Where anthrax is suspected, Raphaka said dead animals are disposed off by burning in a bid to stop the disease’s transmission which could cause more animal deaths as diseases would easily spread.
He said the latest deaths were in the Chobe River front and Nantanga areas in northern Botswana, where 14 dead elephants were found this week.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the United States, anthrax is a bacteria found naturally in soil and commonly affects domestic and wild animals when they breathe in or ingest spores in contaminated soil, plants, or water.
Anthrax is not contagious and humans can only get infected by ingesting the bacteria. It can be prevented in animals via regular vaccination.
Botswana is home to almost a third of Africa’s elephants, around 130,000 in a development that forced the southern African country to lift a ban on big-game hunting to combat a growing conflict between humans and wildlife.