Cyanobacteria Identified as Cause of Elephant Mass Mortality Event

The largest contiguous population of elephants in Africa lives in the Kavango-Zambezi Trans Frontier Conservation Area (KAZA TFCA) which encompasses parts of Botswana Zimbabwe, Zambia, Angola and Namibia. Within KAZA, nearly 90% of the elephant population is concentrated in Botswana (58%) and Zimbabwe (29%). In June of 2020, over 300 elephants were found dead in Botswana under mysterious circumstances. Less than two months later—in a span of only 27 days—34 more elephant deaths were reported in neighboring Zimbabwe. The news of these mass mortality events was both notable and concerning given the importance of the KAZA elephant metapopulation to species conservation.

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Of Elephant Research and Wildlife Crime – Molecular Tools that Matter

Here at Promega we receive some interesting requests…

Take the case of Virginia Riddle Pearson, elephant scientist. Three years ago we received an email from Pearson requesting a donation of GoTaq G2 Taq polymerase to take with her to Africa for her field work on elephant herpesvirus. Working out of her portable field lab (a tent) in South Africa and Botswana, she needed a polymerase she could count on to perform reliably after being transported for several days (on her lap) at room temperature. Through the joint effort of her regional sales representative in New Jersey/Pennsylvania (Pearson’s lab was based out of Princeton University at the time) and our Genomics product marketing team, she received the G2 Taq she needed to take to Africa. There she was able to conduct her experiments, leading to productive results and the opportunity to continue pursuing her work. Continue reading “Of Elephant Research and Wildlife Crime – Molecular Tools that Matter”