Wildlife

Elephant Deaths – Zimbabwe

Zimbabwean wildlife authorities are investigating the deaths of 12 elephants last week in a forest north of the country’s famed Hwange National Park.

Zimbabwe’s wildlife agency said on Wednesday it had discovered more elephant carcasses near a major game park, bringing the number of dead animals suspected to have been killed by a bacterial infection to 22, double the initial figure.

The Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority (Zimparks) has already ruled out poaching and cyanide poisoning for the death of elephants in Pandamasuwe Forest in western Zimbabwe, between the largest wildlife sanctuary Hwange National Park and Victoria Falls.

Zimparks spokesman Tinashe Farawo said the latest elephant carcasses were found on Tuesday and Wednesday. Most of the animals were young, with the oldest being 18 years.

The elephants, which had their tusks intact, had died in similar circumstances to those first discovered last week.

Zimbabwe is home to some 80,000 elephants, around a fifth of Africa’s total, conservationists estimate. Overall numbers have declined sharply in recent years, mostly due to a combination of poaching, illegal hunting and drought.

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Mauritius Oil Spill

The 1,000 tons of fuel oil that spilled around Mauritius from a grounded Japanese tanker in July appear to have left at least 40 dolphins dead. Dead fish, turtles, whales and crabs were also observed. Fishermen say they saw a mother dolphin using the last of her energy in a futile attempt to keep her faltering calf alive. While the country’s fisheries minister said that at first glance, the deaths didn’t appear related to the spill, local oceanographer Vassen Kauppaymuthoo told reporters the deal dolphins smelled of fuel.

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