Scientists Uncover the Mystery Behind Sudden Deaths of African Elephant

In 2020, 35 African elephants died mysteriously in Zimbabwe, raising concerns about the cause of their deaths.

The culprit was a little-known bacterium called Bisgaard taxon 45, which triggered septicemia, or blood poisoning.

Researchers identified heat, drought, and high population density as contributing factors to the outbreak.

Climate change could exacerbate such events in the future, with prolonged droughts and harsh dry seasons.

No confirmed link was found between the Zimbabwe and Botswana elephant deaths.

African elephants are endangered due to poaching and habitat loss, facing an 8% annual decline in numbers.

Six out of 15 samples showed evidence of Bisgaard taxon 45 infection, with no toxins or viral infections.

Sample quality issues and permit delays hindered further detection.

Bisgaard taxon 45 is related to tiger and lion bite wounds in humans and saiga antelope deaths in Kazakhstan.

No additional elephant deaths from this bacterium have been reported since 2020, although monitoring continues.

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