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Sep 23, 2020

Botswana jumbo deaths due to toxic algae

Toxins made by microscopic algae in water caused the previously unexplained deaths of hundreds of elephants in Botswana, wildlife officials say.

Botswana is home to a third of Africa's declining elephant population.

The alarm was raised when elephant carcasses were spotted in the country's Okavango Delta between May and June.

Officials say a total of 330 elephants are now known to have died from ingesting cyanobacteria. Poaching has been ruled out as a cause of death.

Cyanobacteria are toxic bacteria which can occur naturally in standing water and sometimes grow into large blooms known as blue-green algae.

Scientists warn that climate change may be making these incidents - known as toxic blooms - more likely, because they favour warm water.

(BBC News)

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