Drought in Zimbabwe caused the death of more than 200 elephants, TVNZ reports. A mass relocation of animals, including giraffe, buffalo and impala, is planned to ease congestion, according to the National Parks and Wildlife Management Authority (NPWMA).
Zimbabwean authorities have announced the plans on how to avoid further death of elephants amid non-stop drought. The NPWMA spokesman Tinashe Farawo confirmed at least 200 elephants have died in vast Hwange National Park alone since October and other parks are reporting loss of animals due to critical dehydration.
The worsening situation could be improved only after rainfall returns, the experts said. Meanwhile, the animals including giraffe, buffalo and impala are also dying. There is no animal is being not affected by anomal drought.
«Of course, elephants are easily noticed during patrols or game drives, but some bird species are seriously affected because they can only breed in certain tree heights and those trees are being knocked down by elephants,» Farawo said.
Zimbabwe parks are suffering from drought, trying to relocate the animals
One of the negative side effects of the drought is many animals are straying from parks into nearby communities in search of food and water. As a result, 33 local people have died from conflict with animals this year alone, the most dangerous is elephant who destroys everything on his way due to the unquenchable thirst.
The parks authorities announced to move 600 elephants, two prides of lions and other animals from the Save Valley Conservancy in the southeast to less congested parks. A pack of wild dogs, 50 buffalo, 40 giraffe and 2,000 impalas also will be relocated.
Taking into account the current drought and quantity of animals, they «have exceeded their ecological carrying capacity,» rangers said.
«If the populations go unchecked, the animals will threaten the very ecosystem they depend on for survival,» the NPWMA spokesman explained.
Zimbabwe wants to export its elephants and to sell its ivory stockpile
Zimbabwe has an estimated 85,000 elephants, second only to neighbouring Botswana with more than 130,000.
Zimbabwe says it is struggling to cope with booming numbers of wild elephants and wants to be allowed to sell its ivory stockpile and export live elephants to raise money for conservation and ease congestion in the drought-affected parks.
From 2016 to 2019, the African state has exported 101 elephants, mainly to China and the United Arab Emirates, raising more than $3 million for conservation efforts, according to the parks agency.