Most of the animals killed were large bulls carrying heavy tusks, Elephants Without Borders said.
The grim discovery was made over several weeks during an aerial survey by Elephants Without Borders and Botswana’s Department of Wildlife and National Parks.
“We started flying the survey on July 10, and we have counted 90 elephant carcasses since the survey commenced,” Mike Chase, the charity director, told AFP.
“Each day we are counting dead elephants,” he added.
The animals were shot with heavy calibre rifles at watering spots near a popular wildlife sanctuary in the Okavango Delta.
“The scale of elephant poaching is by far the largest I have seen or read about in Africa to date,” Chase said.
The poaching coincided with the disarming earlier this year of Botswana’s rangers, according to Chase.
The country has the largest elephant population in Africa at over 135,000.
The number of African elephants has fallen by around 111,000 to 415,000 in the past decade, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).
The killing continues at a dizzying pace of about 30,000 elephants a year to meet demand for ivory in Asia, where tusks sell for around $1,000 (864 euros) a kilo (2.2 pounds).
Chase said elephants in Zambia and Angola, north of Botswana, “have been poached to the verge of local extinction, and poachers have now turned to Botswana”.
Botswana Tourism Minister Tshekedi Khama confirmed to AFP that dozens of elephants had been poached, but gave no further details.
The government was not immediately available to comment on rangers being apparently disarmed earlier this year.
Botswana previously had a zero-tolerance approach to poaching, with a “shoot-to-kill” policy against poachers.
Poachers have also targeted rhino, said Chase, after six white rhino carcasses were found in recent months. DM
In other news...
July 18 marks Nelson Mandela day. All over the country, South African citizens devote 67 minutes to charitable causes in memory of Madiba. It's a great initiative and one of those few occasions in South Africa where we come together as a nation in pursuit of a common cause. An annual 67 minutes isn't going to cut it though.
In the words of Madiba: "A critical, independent and investigative free press is the lifeblood of any democracy."
Every day Daily Maverick investigates and exposes the deep rot of state capture and corruption but we need your help. Without our readers' support we simply won't survive. We created Maverick Insider as a membership platform where our readers can become part of our community while ensuring that we can keep doing the investigations that we do and, crucially, that our articles remain free to everyone that reads them. Sign up to Maverick Insider this Mandela Month and make that meaningful contribution last longer than 67 minutes.For whatever amount you choose, you can support Daily Maverick and it only takes a minute.
"What magic are you who dies and still lives on?" ~ Lebo Mashile