A few other dead animals are shown briefly, including some (elephant, zebra) who've died of … According to veterinarians and wildlife experts interviewed by National Geographic, as well as an examination of past elephant die-offs, possible causes include: ingestion of toxic bacteria in water, anthrax poisoning, poisoning by humans, viral infection from rodents, or a pathogenic microbe. Like what you see here? But that is exactly what happened after I attended a screening of “The Elephant Queen” recently in London. Wild elephants gather inexplicably, mourn death of "Elephant Whisperer" Author and legendary conservationist Lawrence Anthony died March 7. Anthony, a world-renowned conservationist, environmentalist, explorer and best-selling author -- one of his most famous books was "The Elephant Whisperer" -- died of … But elephants generally drink from the middle of water bodies—not the edges where cyanobacteria tend to accumulate. (The Department of Wildlife and National Parks has already burned some carcasses close to communities, Taolo says.) By then, the hot sun has helped degrade the body, likely erasing key evidence, and scavenging animals may eat organs before they can be recovered for examination. Under the microscope, anthrax microbes have a distinctive shape, Kock says, but when a body begins to decay, other bacteria invade, which makes identification extremely challenging. If poison—typically cyanide—was used, the deaths would likely be clustered in a specific area, as seen here. The photographer who captured the images, Will Burrard-Lucas, seems to have a knack for spotting creatures of this ilk. Looking for smart ways to get more from life? How best to manage encounters between humans and elephants is politically contentious. The reverse depicts Athena Alkidemos wearing a crested Corinthian helmet, peplos (loose robe), and mantle (loose sleaveless coat). While the cause of death has not been confirmed, conservationists believe he was killed by a poisoned arrow while feeding in the eastern region of the park. Many coronaviruses occur in animals, but there’s no evidence that COVID-19 is behind these elephant deaths, or that it even occurs in elephants, Kock says. ", Photograph by Sergio Pitamitz, Nat Geo Image Collection. She was known by the code F_MU1 and lived in the Tsavo region of Kenya. … In March 2014, Satao, an iconic bull elephant with 100 lb. Other poisons, such as sodium fluoroacetate, which is sometimes used as a pesticide and breaks down more quickly, could be suspects. But cyanide remains in carcasses long after death, and there’s no evidence that animals eating the bodies of the dead elephants—hyenas, jackals, vultures—are dying as well. ", elephant queen 4 Although a vaccine against anthrax is given routinely to livestock such as cattle, administering it to 18,000 elephants is unrealistic, Kock says. Athena, also spelled Athene, in Greek religion, the city protectress, goddess of war, handicraft, and practical reason, identified by the Romans with Minerva.She was essentially urban and civilized, the antithesis in many respects of Artemis, goddess of the outdoors.Athena was probably a pre-Hellenic goddess and was later taken over by the Greeks. Encephalomyocarditis hasn’t been a priority for treatment or vaccine development, so if it’s to blame, there’s little recourse to counter it. Read more: A wild African black leopard has been photographed for the first time in more than 100 years. The Elephant Queen, as Burrard-Lucas called her, died soon after he took the photos. According to Kock, froth in the elephants’ airways and specific signs of heart damage would point to this cause. Here’s a closer look at the possible causes and their significance: One possible explanation for the elephant deaths is anthrax poisoning. Account active In 2015, some 200,000 saiga antelopes died from blood poisoning in Kazakhstan after extreme heat and humidity caused a common Pasteurella bacterium—which under normal conditions occurs harmlessly in the animals—to multiply and fatally overwhelm them. It is not an actual beast from Greek mythology. All rights reserved. He founded an empire that lasted almost 300 years. "I looked down at the live view on my wireless monitor and had to pinch myself," he wrote. It happened after the first wet year following a severe drought—conditions similar to those recently in Botswana—when the rodent population around South Africa’s famous park exploded, says Bengis, who was head of state veterinary services at Kruger at the time. "Super tuskers are very rare these days, precisely because their big tusks makes them prime targets for trophy hunters," Mark Jones from the Born Free wildlife charity told the BBC. He was known as a tusker because his tusks were so long that they almost touched the ground. The elephants’ tusks aren’t missing, which rules out poaching for ivory. Now, Satao is dead, slain by ivory poachers who used poison arrows to bring the great elephant down. What’s killing Botswana’s elephants? Back in March, Lawrence Anthony, a conservationist and author known as "The Elephant Whisperer", passed away. “It is, however, important that there is a diagnosis made to make sure no foul play is at hand—that would be a problem for the population if it is not dealt with.”. The Elephant Queen centers around a 50-year-old female elephant named Athena, and her herd, including two of her offspring, Mimi, “the newborn," and Wewe, “the toddler." On June 5, 1994, Frank was born to Mars, the Roman god of war, and mortal military soldier Emily Zhang. This coin was minted shortly after Alexander's death and before Ptolemy assumed the reign as King (Pharaoh) of Egypt. Burrard-Lucas used his self-developed, remote-controlled BeetleCam to get close-up pictures of the elephant. He's just released another series, this time of a majestic "tusker" elephant, of which there are thought to be fewer than 20 left on Earth. Last week, Thailand suffered one of its biggest ever single elephant tragedies, when 11 animals in one family died in a swollen river. Will Burrard-Lucas. The rest of the herd gathers to say goodbye. Directed by Mark Deeble, Victoria Stone. Satao was an elephant famous for having tusks so long that they nearly reached the ground, and so distinct, that he could be easily identified from the air as he roamed Kenya’s vast Tsavo East National Park. Her mother has lost her milk, and the baby's heart eventually gives out. Topsy the Elephant belonged to the Forepaugh Circus and spent the last years of her life at Coney Island's Luna Park. If poisonings are to blame, authorities would likely want to work with communities that have suffered because elephants have damaged their land and crops. These animals live in the arid lands of Africa, where food and water are scarce and there is a precarious balance between life and death. ... We learn to be Athena to the Medusa within us. The infectious disease, caused by a bacterium found in the soil, has killed elephants in Botswana in the past. Share this on Facebook ... and death, which ends with a … Will Burrard-Lucas. Once Satao was in their clutches, the poachers hacked off his legendary tusks and … There are so few left because ivory poachers target them for their valuable tusks. The area is … Sudden death preceded by neurological symptoms would be consistent with this rodent-borne virus, which causes heart failure. Yet the death toll keeps growing. Will Burrard-Lucas. Burrard-Lucas will publish images of F_MU1 and other tuskers in his book "Land of Giants," coming out on March 20. The bacterium that causes this infectious disease occurs naturally in soil and has been known to affect domestic and wild animals around the world. The title character is the 50-year old elephant Athena. His whole family was blessed by the god with the power to shift into any kind of animal, mythical or living from human form. since. Subscribe to our daily newsletter to get more of it. Multiple factors, including climate change, could contribute to such die-offs. Not only was the use of execution by way of elephant a feared and highly effective form of penalty by death, many believe the method was designed to demonstrate the all-encompassing power of the area’s ruling emperor, for whom even nature was … For, after the latter’s death at the Battle of Corupedium (280 BCE), Ceraunus had first joined Seleucus, then murdered him as avenger of Lysimachus' death, and issued gold staters with the portrait of Alexander on the obverse and Athena Nikephorus on the reverse along with smaller symbols such as an elephant and a lion’s head. "If there were a Queen of Elephants, it would surely have been her. Sometime between the 5th and 15th centuries AD, the use of elephants took a more sinister turn with the practice of Gunga Rao. STUNNING images capture the majesty of the "Elephant Queen" - one of the last of an extremely rare breed who has sadly died aged 60 in Kenya. But Botswana’s Department of Wildlife and National Parks says it has eliminated anthrax as a possibility, though details about how remain scarce. “We have to keep an open mind,” veterinarian Verreynne says. Government officials say they’ve verified that 281 elephants have died since March 2020; conservation NGOs in the area say the death toll is even higher. Over the past several months, hundreds of elephants have died in Botswana, some with these symptoms. Here are the top theories. The film—more wildlife story than documentary— chronicles an elephant matriarch, Athena, a 50-year old whose family of around 10 elephants, which includes her daughters and her grandbabies, toddler Wewe and baby Mimi. Athena is carrying a sword in her right hand and a shield in her left. Just two years ago, poachers killed a 50-year-old tusker elephant living in the same region. No one knows why. It’s very unlikely that the animals succumbed to starvation or dehydration because the die-offs started when the waterholes were still full of rainwater, and the area they live in has an abundance of woodlands for browsing, says Erik Verreynne, a wildlife veterinarian and consultant in Botswana who directs a cattle herding program where the elephant deaths have occurred. Athena is a mother who will do everything in her power to protect her herd when they are forced to leave their waterhole. With Sadoc Vazkez, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Sadoc Vazquez. Perhaps the area’s recent abundant rains, after years of drought, set the stage for an outbreak, he says.