A herd of African elephants move to a waterhole. File picture Ian Landsberg/African News Agency (ANA)

Johannesburg — A conservation group says elephant poaching has increased in Botswana, which has long been viewed as a rare refuge for elephants in Africa.

Mike Chase, director of Elephants Without Borders, says poachers are turning to Botswana after killing large numbers of elephants in nearby Zambia and Angola.

Chase said Monday that his Botswana-based group and local wildlife officials have conducted half of a national elephant census and have counted nearly 90 "fresh and recent" carcasses of poached elephants.

A similar census in 2014 found just nine carcasses, according to data provided by Chase.

Botswana has an estimated 130 000 elephants, the most of any country in Africa.

AP