A herd of 87 elephants has been killed and stripped for their tusks near a Botswana famous wildlife sanctuary. The elephants were discovered by Elephants Without Borders while flying for an aerial census. “People did warn us of an impending poaching problem and we thought we were prepared for it.” wrote Mike Chase of the non-profit organization.
Chase told the BBC: “I’m shocked, I’m completely astounded. The scale of elephant poaching is by far the largest I’ve seen or read about anywhere in Africa to date.”
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Not just elephants were killed. Three white rhinos in the same area were poached and killed within the last three months. Poaching for ivory continues to wipe out herds across Africa.
Botswana disarmed its anti-poaching unit in May. The country previously had a shoot-to-kill policy against poachers.
The BBC reports a “senior official in the president’s office, Carter Morupisi, told journalists in Botswana at the time that the ‘government has decided to withdraw military weapons and equipment from the Department of Wildlife and National Parks’, but he did not explain why.”