"The elephants were electrocuted when they knocked down power lines, which fell into the gushing pool of water.”
When nine elephants were found dead in their village in central Botswana, residents were confounded as to what had happened.
Reuters reports that nine elephants were accidentally electrocuted to death on Monday in the small village of Dukwi in Botswana. Though villagers were initially confused as to how the elephants had died, local investigators quickly surmised that they had been electrocuted to death.
They concluded that one of the elephants must have accidentally knocked down an electricity pole, sending the live transmission cables attached flying into the watering hole the elephants were drinking from.
Otisitswe Tiroyamodimo, the director of Botswana’s Wildlife and National Parks, said, “Investigations are still at a preliminary stage, but what we have discovered so far is that the elephants were helping themselves to water from a damaged supply pipe. The elephants were electrocuted when they knocked down power lines, which fell into the gushing pool of water.”
Investigators believe the elephants were searching for water after they broke out from the nearby Makgadikgadi Pans Game Reserve. They found water, under deeply unfortunate circumstances, in a broken water supply pipe servicing Dukwi.
With an elephant population of around 150,000 to 200,000, Botswana has the largest number of elephants of any African nation. However, poaching and habitat loss have contributed to an enormous recent decline in the elephant population.
The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has said the worldwide number of African elephants has fallen by around 111,000 to 415,000 in the past decade, the worst drop in 25 years.
They continue to say that African elephants are dying off at a rate of 30,000 elephants a year.
These nine elephants may be a drop in the bucket compared to these large numbers, but their saddening simultaneous deaths remain a tragedy.