(Bloomberg) --

Botswana said a new pathogen may be responsible for the death of hundreds of elephants in the country with the world’s biggest population of the animals.

Results from samples taken from carcasses in north west Botswana are back from laboratories they were sent to in Zimbabwe and will be matched with results coming from South African laboratories and an announcement made next week, Acting Permanent Secretary in the Environment Ministry, Oduetse Koboto said at a press confernece. So far 281 carcasses have been found, according to the government. A non-profit organization

Initial test results in Botswana elminated known diseases that would cause mass deaths and this may signal “novel diseases,” the government said in a statement, according to state-owned television.

There are about 135,000 elephants in Botswana.

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