Not less than 55 elephants have died of hunger and thirst in Zimbabwe’s largest natural reserve; the Hwange National Park, the country’s wildlife authorities say.
Tinashe Farawo, Zimbabwe National Parks and Wildlife Authority spokesperson, confirmed the deaths to State broadcaster, the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation on Monday.
Farawo noted that the situation at the game reverse was dire, saying funds are needed to sink more boreholes.
“We can confirm that a total of 55 elephants have died at the national park over the past two months due to starvation. The situation at most of our parks is dire due to the climate change-induced drought,” he said.
The game reserve depends on groundwater pumped from several boreholes.
Another wildlife management official, Samson Chibaya, said the available boreholes were not enough to meet the water demand.
“While we have made efforts to try and convert some of the water pumping stations from diesel to solar-powered pumps, we have seen that some of the water pans are drying up. We are calling for more resources for the installation of diesel pumps to complement the solar pumps,” he stated.
Zimbabwe has the second biggest herd of elephants in the world after Botswana, with more than 84,000.
However, the country can only manage about 56,000 of them.