Nearly 90 elephants killed in Botswana in 'largest scale of poaching deaths in Africa'

The elephant population has been cut by 30 per cent between 2007 and 2014. Credit: AP

Poachers have killed nearly 90 elephants near a famous wildlife sanctuary in Botswana, Africa.

Elephants Without Borders have said the scale of deaths is the largest seen in Africa.

The 87 carcasses were spotted by the conservation group while conducting an aerial survey.

Botswana boasts the world's largest elephant population in the world.

The spike comes as the region's anti-poaching unit underwent budget cuts in May.

Dr Mike Chase from Elephants Without Borders, told the BBC: "I'm shocked, I'm completely astounded. The scale of elephant poaching is by far the largest I've seen or read about anywhere in Africa to date."

He added: "When I compare this to figures and data from the Great Elephant Census, which I conducted in 2015, we are recording double the number of fresh poached elephants than anywhere else in Africa."

The census shows the elephant population has been cut by 30 per cent, 144,000 elephants, between 2007 and 2014.

Scientists believe poaching is causing a rate of decline at eight per cent every year.

Prior to President Mokgweetsi Masisi taking office in Botswana, a shoot-to-kill policy against poachers was in operation.