On National Wildlife Day, this story is a sad reminder of what innocent animals across the globe endure.
According to BBC, 87 elephant carcasses were recently discovered near the borders of the well-known Okavango Delta wildlife sanctuary in Botswana. The heartbreaking discovery was made by Elephants Without Borders, a charity dedicated to conserving wildlife and nature in southern Africa.
The non-profit did an aerial sweep of the areas surrounding the sanctuary as part of a government elephant census and found the animals, all of which they believe are victims of poachers. After closer inspection it appears that most of the animals were killed for their tusks within the past three weeks.
“The scale of elephant poaching is by far the largest I’ve seen or read about anywhere in Africa to date,” Dr. Mike Chase of Elephants Without Borders told the BBC.
The unsettling rise in elephant poaching is aligned with the recent decision to disarm Botswana’s anti-poaching units. Poaching has depleted Botswana’s elephant population, the largest in the world, adding to Africa’s overall elephant losses; according to Elephants Without Borders, one-third of the continent’s elephants have been killed in the past decade.
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Unfortunately, the conservation group is only halfway through its aerial survey of Botswana, which means the non-profit may discover even more dead elephants in the days ahead.
Dr. Chase told BBC that for Botswana to come back from these horrible losses, the country needs to recommit itself to the strict anti-poaching practices that once made it a safe haven for thousands of elephants.