In a tragic accident, 9 elephants have died in a freak accident after being electrocuted by power lines near Sua Pan and a village called Dukwi in Botswana.
The elephants were drinking water from a leaking pipe that supplies water to the village. They knocked down an overhead power line, which fell into the pool of water and electrocuted the elephants. The Ministry of Wildlife, Environment and Tourism has confirmed the accident and said that an investigation has been launched.
This area of Botswana has few natural sources of water once the pools of water resulting from seasonal rain have dried up, and elephants frequently seek water from water pipes and boreholes.
Botswana hosts more than one-third of Africa’s elephant population, partly due to the country’s successful wildlife conservation strategy and tourism policies, and partly due to pressure in other countries from habitat loss, poaching and human-wildlife conflict. This population represents a significant conservation resource in ongoing attempts to repopulate areas of Angola, Namibia, Zambia and Zimbabwe. One significant hurdle to overcome is that of the provision of sufficient water, as elephants can no longer range over their historical migratory paths because of direct persecution and the rapid growth in human populations, farming activities and other development. Elephants are increasingly being marginalised into areas with insufficient water and food.
Water for Elephants Trust has an ongoing program of providing borehole water to thirsty elephants in this arid region.