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87 elephants killed in one of Africa's largest ever mass killings

06 September 2018

Experts from the Elephants Without Borders organization said it was the largest poaching casualty discovered at one time.

The carcasses of almost 90 poached elephants have been discovered in Botswana causing one conservation group to say they are experiencing the greatest scale of elephant poaching recorded in Africa.

Botswana boasts the world's largest elephant population in the world.

According to the report, Elephants Without Borders, which provided National Public Radio, in the past several weeks have killed large numbers of elephants, and for the last three months in the same area, and three white Rhino have become victims of poachers.

"We started flying the survey on July 10, and we have counted 90 elephant carcasses since the survey commenced", Mike Chase, the charity's director, told AFP.

Chase added that, compared to his 2015 census, "we are recording double the number of fresh poached elephants than anywhere else in Africa".

This comes just months after anti-poaching units were disarmed.

Then, this May, President Carter Morupisi issued a directive stripping the guns from anti-poaching units patrolling the country's porous border regions.

The sudden rise in poaching incidents followed the disarming of Botswana's anti-poaching unit in May. "We have the world's largest elephant population and it's open season for poachers", Dr Chase said.

'Clearly we need to be doing more to stop the scale of what we are recording on our survey'. Africa's elephant population continues to drop, although it has stabilized in southern Africa and east Africa.

Conservationists fear the final figure of poached elephants for the year will only increase and are concerned the problem is being ignored as it is bad for the country's reputation.

Unarmed patrolmen can not be expected "to patrol and possibly have contact with armed poachers", Chase said, adding that he had not seen any members of the APU in the bush during the first two months of the survey.

"Traffic" conservation group program manager Tom Milliken said that the report signals "a major escalation in elephant poaching".

Poachers have targeted old bull elephants that presumably have the heaviest tusks, killing them when they go to drink at seasonal water sources, Chase said.

"Our new president must uphold Botswana's legacy and tackle this problem quickly".

87 elephants killed in one of Africa's largest ever mass killings