Scientists Reveal the Mystery of 350 Elephants Suddenly Diing in Africa Tech – 5 hours ago

Jakarta, CNBC Indonesia – Scientists uncover the mysterious deaths of 350 elephants in Africa. In the latest research, they concluded that an unknown bacteria called Bisgaard taxon 45 was the cause.

In May and June 2020, the deaths of 350 elephants in the Okavango delta in Botswana, South Africa, baffled conservationists and sparked global speculation about the cause. Elephants of all ages and genders are affected.

According to reports, many of them walked in circles before suddenly dying. Two months later, 35 more elephants died in northwestern Zimbabwe.


At that time, elephant deaths in Botswana were said to have occurred due to cyanobacterial poisoning which was not specifically explained and no further details were published by the local government.

After a long time, tests on dead elephants in Zimbabwe finally showed that the cause was a bacteria called Pasteurella Bisgaard taxon 45. This bacteria causes septicemia or blood poisoning.

According to a paper published in the journal Nature Communicationsthis bacterial infection has not previously been linked to elephant deaths.

Researchers believe the infections may be the same cause of deaths in neighboring countries.

“This represents an important conservation concern for elephants in the largest remaining meta-population of this endangered species,” the researchers wrote in the paper, quoted from The GuardianMonday (30/10/2023).

The report was written by an international team of researchers from the Victoria Falls Wildlife Trust, the University of Surrey, laboratories in South Africa, and the UK government’s Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA).

The paper suggests that infectious diseases should be included in the list of pressures they face.

Arnoud van Vliet from the University of Surrey said this infection adds to the list of disease threats to elephant conservation. Elephants are highly sociable animals, and they were likely stressed due to drought conditions at the time, which made this outbreak more likely.

Pasteurella bacteria have previously been linked to the sudden death of around 200,000 saiga antelopes in Kazakhstan, an incident that researchers believe could explain what happened to the elephant herd.

Scientists believe Pasteurella bacteria generally live harmlessly in the tonsils. However, an unusual increase in temperature of up to 37 degrees Celsius causes bacteria to enter the bloodstream and cause septicemia.

Taxon Bisgaard 45 has previously been found in tigers and lions through testing of human bite wounds, as well as in squirrels and psittacines.

Other things experts tested included cyanide, which some people use to poison elephants. However, there were no traces of any poison on the carcass or near the waterhole.

Other theories include ingestion of toxins from algae growth. Meanwhile, illegal hunting was ruled out as the cause, because the carcasses of dead elephants still had tusks.

Lead investigator Chris Foggin, a wildlife veterinarian at the Victoria Falls Wildlife Trust, said investigating the mass deaths was a challenge.

“Identifying and then reaching the carcasses in time to obtain useful samples is one of the problems we often face. However, we also don’t know what diseases we might be dealing with,” he said.

At first they suspected it was anthrax, which is known to occur frequently in the area. Or perhaps another disease that might pose a risk to human health.

Investigators must therefore be careful when carrying out postmortem examinations on elephants which is a difficult task for such a large animal, especially if working in the field.

Scientists were unable to visit the site in neighboring Botswana and most samples were collected from animals that had already begun to decompose.

The paper said the blood poisoning findings may represent an ongoing phenomenon in the region, where cases were previously missed due to a lack of testing.

[Gambas:Video CNBC]

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