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Elephants are dying in droves in Botswana and scientists don't know why

Herd of Elephants
African elephants walk through the Moremi Game Reserve in northern Botswana, where a second wave of mysterious deaths among the pachyderms has scientists scrambling.
Die-offs of African elephants have once again erupted in Botswana. In just the first three months of 2021, 39 have succumbed.

The mysterious deaths occurred in the Moremi Game Reserve, in the northern part of the country, nearly 100 kilometers from a region of the Okavango Delta, where about 350 African elephants died during May and June in 2020. Puzzled scientists have been calling for thorough investigations as the government sends mixed messages on the cause of death.

Anthrax and bacterial infections had been ruled out in the new deaths and "further laboratory analysis is ongoing," Botswana's Department of Wildlife and National Parks reported in a March 24 news release.

However, the 39 recent deaths were linked, based on preliminary results, to the same cyanobacteria toxins blamed for last year's mass die-off, said Philda Kereng, Botswana's Minister of Environment, Natural Resources Conservation and Tourism, in a March 30 state television address.

Remote sensing of areas of last year's mass die-off supports the cyanobacteria theory. From March through July 2020, cyanobacteria abundance increased continuously as water sources were shrinking, researchers report online May 28 in the Innovation. With climate change, bodies of water get warmer and toxic cyanobacteria thrive.

Other evidence points to a pathogen as well. "The 2021 elephant mortalities are again specific to elephants, as was the case in 2020," says Shahan Azeem, a veterinary scientist at the University of Veterinary and Animal Sciences in Lahore, Pakistan.

Ice Cube

50 beluga whales trapped by ice in the Arctic - unprecedented since the icy 1980s

Whales trapped in ice – 14 May 2021
© FSBI National Park Beringia
Whales trapped in ice – 14 May 2021
Fifty beluga whales are stuck in Penkigngei Bay. Presumably, they have been in ice captivity since January, but specialists saw them only in April. The animals are fed and constantly monitored.

Hopefully, the Beluga whales, stuck in ice captivity in Chukotka can soon escape as thermometers began to rise and the ice begins to melt. However, when the fast ice will completely melt is still impossible to say - perhaps in 10 days - or perhaps this may happen at the end of May, the press service of the Beringia National Park reports .

According to a zoologist specializing in marine mammals, Grigory Tsidulko, beluga whales are active swimmers, thanks to which the polynya remained open and continues to expand.

They have already eaten most of the fish they could catch in the 4 months in the trap.


Huge lava eruption at Fagradalsfjall volcano in Iceland

Lava flows from an eruption of the Fagradalsfjall volcano on the Reykjanes Peninsula in southwestern Iceland on Thursday, May 13, 2021.

Lava flows from an eruption of the Fagradalsfjall volcano on the Reykjanes Peninsula in southwestern Iceland on Thursday, May 13, 2021.
The lava fountaining episodes at the active vent at Fagradalsfjall continue pretty regularly, as described during the previous days, but with some differences. Now the episodes and the intervals between each one are shorter, with the fountaining phase lasting for 1-3 minutes, and pauses between each episode about 3-4 minutes long. Lava jets are just a bit shorter in height but wider at the same time.

The fountains generally reach 250 meters in height in average during the strong sustained phase, but sometimes can reach 350 meters in height during the most energetic episodes.

The construction of a wall to prevent lava flowing in Nátthagi has begun yesterday.

Cloud Precipitation

Floods kill 3, affect 11,000 people across 3 districts of Sri Lanka - 13 inches of rain in 24 hours (UPDATE)

Army rescues group trapped by flood waters in Ruwanwella

Army rescues group trapped by flood waters in Ruwanwella
Sri Lanka has seen heavy rainfall from around 10 May 2021. As of 13 May, Disaster Management Centre (DMC) reported floods and rainfall damages in the districts of Rathnapura, Colombo and Puttalam, affecting around 1,000 people and displacing 175. Lightning and strong winds also caused damage during the period 11 to 13 May 2021.

DMC said that flooding damaged 3 houses and affected around 10 people in Rathnapura from 11 to 12 May. In Colombo, 175 people were displaced by flooding on 13 May. In Puttalam District, flooding affected 485 people in Chillaw division and 266 in Arachchikattuwa on 12 May.

Acording to Sri Lanka's Department of Meteorology as much as 229 mm of rain fell in 24 hours to 12 May in Beralapanathara. In an 8 hour period on 13 May 2021, several areas recorded more than 140 mm of rain. Hiniduma in Galle recorded 190 mm of rain and Horana in Kaluthara 160 mm during this period.

The heavy rain is a result of a low pressure area developed in the southeastern Arabian Sea. The Department of Meteorology warned on 13 May that "prevailing showery condition in the Southwestern parts of the country (particularly in Southern, Western, Sabaragamuwa, North Central and Central provinces) is expected to continue further. Very heavy falls above 200 mm will occur at some places tonight."

Comment: Update:On May 15 also from Floodlist:
Sri Lanka - Floods and Landslides Leave 3 Dead, 11,000 Affected

Sri Lanka's Disaster Management Centre (DMC) has reported further flooding and landslides in several parts of the country.

Further heavy rain has fallen in Sri Lanka since our report here. The Department of Meteorology reported 336 mm of rain fell in Agalawatta, Kalutara District in 24 hours to 14 May 2021.

Recent figures from DMC show that at least 3 people have died and more that 11,000 have been affected by recent floods, landslides and strong winds across the country over the last few days.

DMC said that 1 person died in a landslide on Warakapola, Kegalle and 2 people died in floods in Nagoda, Galle.

In Kegalle, a total of 1,132 people were affected by severe weather on 13 May, while flooding affected 1,115 people in the Colombo area, where 175 remain displaced.

As many as 6,119 people were affected by floods in in Gampaha where 85 homes were damaged. One person was injured in Aththanagalla

In Kurunegala, 366 people were affected by floods and in Matara a total of 2,806 people were affected, with 98 homes damaged.


Stray dogs maul elderly woman to death in Karnataka, India


Representational image (File photo| EPS)
In a tragic incident, an elderly woman was mauled to death by a pack of stray dogs at Dwaraka Nagar in RR Nagar on Friday night. The dogs were apparently chasing another passerby for over half-a-km, before they across the woman and pounced on her instead, police said.

The police have filed a case against BBMP for not taking adequate steps during the lockdown to keep the stray canine population in check.Meanwhile, the identity of the deceased is yet to be ascertained.

A police officer said the woman, aged about 70 years, was walking alone at around 11.30 pm, when she was attacked by the dogs. She was not carrying anything in her hands. Police also suspect that she had no one to look after her.


14-meter fin whale washes ashore in southern province of Mersin, Turkey

A 14-meter-long fin whale, which has washed up on the shore of the southern province of Mersin, was moved on to the shore after a four-hour operation on May 13.

The dead body of the whale was transferred to Mersin University. Its skeleton will be exhibited in the city's Sea Museum.

Early on May 13, some inhabitants informed the police that "something big" was floating on the sea some 200 meters off the shore.

As the Coast Guard spotted that it was a dead whale, a team of firefighters was also transferred to the seaside.


Tropical Depression Crising causes bridge collapse, flooding, landslides in Zamboanga del Sur, Philippines

Tropical Depression Crising caused devastation in Zamboanga Peninsula with reports of flooding, bridge collapse, and landslides.

In the municipality of Bayog, a hanging bridge collapsed due to the raging waters of the Dipili River, according to a report on News TV Live on Saturday.

Meanwhile, in the municipality of Dimataling, nine houses were submerged in floodwaters in Barangay Saloagan. Six houses were swept away and a landslide was also reported. No one died in the incidents.

In the municipality of Lapuyan, Crising also caused landslide and flooding.

Cloud Lightning

Lightning kills 5, more rains likely in Telangana, India

A cyclonic circulation, which originated along the western coast of India, and is now travelling in the northeast direction, caused the rains that lashed parts of Hyderabad and rest of the state on Friday. (DC file photo)

A cyclonic circulation, which originated along the western coast of India, and is now travelling in the northeast direction, caused the rains that lashed parts of Hyderabad and rest of the state on Friday. (DC file photo)
At least five people are feared killed as thunderstorms accompanied with lightning lashed the state on Friday. While one person was reported dead at Chigurumamidi mandal in Karimnagar, two others were reported dead in Huzurabad mandal, and two in Munipallli mandal in Sangareddy district. The three victims from Karimnagar were reportedly taking shelter under a tree, when the lightning struck. The other two died while they were working in the farm.

A cyclonic circulation, which originated along the western coast of India, and is now travelling in the northeast direction, caused the rains that lashed parts of Hyderabad and rest of the state on Friday.

Cloud Lightning

Cyclone Tauktae: Heavy rain batters Kerala, India - red alert issued in nine districts

Houses are flooded due to the incessant rains
© Albin Mathew, EPS
Houses are flooded due to the incessant rains at Chellanam in Kochi.
With the Tauktae cyclone expected to intensify into a severe cyclonic storm, the India Meteorological Department has issued a red alert in nine districts in Kerala on Saturday. Heavy rain has been lashing Ernakulam, Idukki, Thrissur, Palakkad, Malappuram, Kozhikode, Wayanad, Kannur and Kasaragod districts from Friday evening.

The districts may receive more than 20 cm rainfall in 24 hours. Meanwhile, the sea continue to be very rough and huge tidal waves are battering the coastal hamlets displacing hundreds of families. The stormy weather is expected to continue till Sunday evening.

The water level is rising in rivers and the Central Water Commission has issued a flood alert on the banks of Manimala and Achankovil rivers.

Ice Cube

Surprise heavy hail storm hits Shkodra, Albania

Albania hail
© YouTube/ Top Channel Albania (screen capture)
Although we are not in the winter season, Shkodra in northern Albania woke up on Friday in a surprise hailstorm that left about half a meter of ice on the roads and caused severe damages to crops.

The heavy hail of around 50 minutes covered the entire city and part of the surrounding administrative units. The hail caused problems for a few minutes with the traffic in the city while the damages were greater to the farmers in surrounding villages.

In Kuç of the Guri i Zi administrative unit, the storm destroyed considerable cultures of fruit and vegetables. Hail is a typical spring phenomenon in Albania, which occurs after the immediate drop of high temperatures.

According to Meteoalb, there is possibility of hail storms tonight overnight, and tomorrow morning in the northwest but also in the southern part of the country.