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South Africa staged a mass shooting elephants
06 September 2018, 08:59 | Justin Tyler
Nearly 90 Elephants Killed Close To Botswana Wildlife Sanctuary
But recently, conservationists came across a disturbing discovery near the famed wildlife sanctuary - the bodies of 87 elephants, many of which bore brutal injuries consistent with being killed for their tusks.
All of them were assumed to have been poached for their tusks.
"I am shocked: the scale of poaching of elephants today are the largest I have seen in any part of Africa so far",- said Sprigtail organization Mike chase.
The aerial survey of the area is only halfway through, meaning the elephant death toll could be much higher, The ABC reported.
Poachers had attempted to hide the "mounds of rotting flesh" with drying bushes, the report said.
Three white rhinos, killed within the past three months, were also found in the area.
The carcasses were found near the protected Okavango Delta wildlife sanctuary, deep in Botswana. Kenya, for example, has a population 25 times larger and is nearly as big as Botswana in geographical size. "Botswana is the last refuge for these elephants and they must be conserved". Africa's elephant population continues to drop, although it has stabilized in southern Africa and east Africa.
The safety had been reinforced by strong anti-poaching efforts.
Then, this May, President Carter Morupisi issued a directive stripping the guns from anti-poaching units patrolling the country's porous border regions.
Chase told the news station that the group was warning "of an impending problem and we thought we were prepared for it".
University of Cape Town Criminology researcher Annette Hübschle said that even in Botswana, "the darling of the conservation world", communities - especially rural ones - "are likely to support poachers and poaching economies because there are no benefits to these conservation areas for them". "We have the world's largest elephant population and it's open season for poachers", Chase tells Leithead.
Botswana disarmed its anti-poaching unit in May, one month after President Mokgweetsi Masisi took office. President Masisi announced in May that the "government has chose to withdraw military weapons and equipment from the Department of Wildlife and National Parks" without further explanation.
Botswana Tourism Minister Tshekedi Khama confirmed to AFP that dozens of elephants had been poached, but gave no further details.
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