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Ninety elephant carcasses found in Botswana after horrific poaching spree

Ninety elephant carcasses found in Botswana after horrific poaching spree

Ninety elephant carcasses found in Botswana after horrific poaching spree

Ninety elephant carcasses have been discovered in Botswana with their tusks hacked off in what is believed to be one of Africa’s worst mass poaching sprees.

Most of the animals killed were large bulls carrying heavy tusks, Elephants Without Borders said on Tuesday.

The discovery was made over several weeks during an aerial survey by scientists from Elephants Without Borders and Botswana’s Department of Wildlife and National Parks.

Mike Chase, the charity’s director, said: “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.”

“While we had elephant poaching in the country before this year, it certainly wasn’t of the magnitude that we’re seeing now. It’s completely unprecedented,” Mike Chase, director and founder of Elephants Without Borders, told CNN.

“We were always warned that the poaching that has happened in East Africa and parts of northern Mozambique may spread south. What I’m astounded by is the scale and the speed at which it has happened,” he said.

The country has the largest elephant population in Africa at over 135,000. The number of African elephants has fallen by around 111,000 to 415,000 in the past decade, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

The killing continues at a dizzying pace of about 30,000 elephants a year to meet demand for ivory in Asia, where tusks sell for around US$1,000 a kilogram.

The International Fund for Animal Welfare’s vice-president for conservation, Jason Bell, said of the slaughter: “Until now, Botswana’s elephant herds have largely been left in peace, but clearly Botswana is now in the crosshairs.”

Poachers have also targeted rhinos in Botswana, with six white rhino carcasses found in recent months.

Botswana previously had a zero-tolerance approach to poaching, with a “shoot-to-kill” policy against poachers.

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