Last week My Gokwe Media House reported that eleven elephants were found dead in the Pandamasue Forest, Hwange/Victoria Falls Protected Area in the western part of Zimbabwe.

This was based on the revelations by the Zimbabwe National Parks and Wildlife Management Authority (Zimparks) on Saturday last week through the ZIMPARKS spokesperson Tinashe Farawo.

Mr Farawo said “The elephants were found dead in Pandamasue Forest.

However, upon search and investigations it was discovered that instead of 11 reported cases, there were 22 deaths.

At first it was reported that, Zimparks suspected anthrax and Veterinary doctors were on the ground. Zimparks was waiting for results from the laboratory.

However, it seems Zimparks now suspects natural food poison.

This comes out after discoveries that, the victims are mainly younger elephants that can’t reach higher tree branches. This is to the effect that they “end up eating everything and some of the vegetation that they eat might be poisonous,” Farawo as quoted by The Associated Press.

Justifying why this has become a new trend, Mr Farawo blamed persistent and successive drought induced vegetation and water shortages.

He claims that above climatic conditions can trigger a situation where by some animals succumb to the stress of walking long distances for food and water.

According to Mr Farawo there is acute over population in the forest. He said, overpopulation is “the biggest threat” to the survival of wildlife in the southern African country’s parks. The “animals are becoming a threat to themselves.”

What rules out the idea of human poaching is that the elephants’ tusks aren’t missing, which rules out poaching for ivory.

The Zimbabwean case have parallels to what happened in Botswana recently where more than 250 elephants died mysteriously.

In the Botswana case it was reported that, these elephants walk in circles and appear dizzy before suddenly dropping dead, sometimes face-first. No one knows why.

According to the Botswana sources, the bizarre behavior and sheer number of deaths suggest to experts that it’s unlikely that diseases known to afflict wild elephants, such as tuberculosis, are to blame.

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