Botswana officials are examining the baffling deaths of at least 350 elephants in just a few weeks.
First elephants were reported to have died in northern Botswana, at the beginning of May.
By June, the number of deaths stood at 169, but this figure has now more than doubled, with an aerial survey revealing 70% of the corpses positioned on watering holes.
Dr Niall McCann, director of conservation at the UK National Park Rescue, labelled the situation as a “catastrophic die-off” and called for a further probe.
“At least 350 elephants have died – the scale of it is astonishing. Botswana is home to a third of Africa’s elephants and 10% of those are in this region, so this could have a real impact on the global population.”