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Why This Matters: There are approximately 126,000 African elephants in Botswana, about a third of the entire African elephant population. While 356 out of 126,000 may not sound like a lot, it’s only 20 fewer elephants than poachers killed between 2017 and 2018.
Cyril Taolo, deputy director of Botswana’s Department of Wildlife and National Parks, credited environmental changes for the deaths, “There’s absolutely no reason to believe that there was human involvement in these mortalities,” he said, “this is not a phenomenon that was just seen now, it is something that happens quite a lot when there are these environmental changes.” Studies have shown a correlation between algae blooms and climate change. One study conducted in the United States by the Environmental Working Group (EWG) found that warming air and water, as well as increased rainfall, have made algae blooms more frequent, widespread, and longer. Anne Schechinger, EWG senior economic analyst explains, “the climate crisis is quickly accelerating what was already a dangerous, expensive problem.”
Chris Thouless, head of research at Save the Elephants has more questions, however, wondering why there seemingly haven’t been deaths in other species in the region. Roy Bengis, a veterinary wildlife specialist at the University of Pretoria in South Africa, says this may be explained by not only the large volume of water that elephants consume, but also by a common elephant behavior, swimming. For now, conservationists wait for more information, Dr. Bengis concluding, “I can’t say yea or nay with regards to whether this diagnosis is correct or incorrect, or possible or impossible.”
Human activity has nearly doubled the rate of natural disasters in the last quarter-century. And as the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) explained in a new report out this week: While many natural disasters cause great financial hardship and can tragically result in loss of human life, animals are often overlooked in the chaos. […]
Jellyfish are often feared for their ability to deliver painful stings but it turns out that the gelatinous beauties could be serving an important purpose for the world’s oceans. As Eos explained, A new study in the AGU journal Global Biogeochemical Cycles estimates how much carbon gelatinous sea creatures store in their bodies and where […]
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