At least 100 elephants have died in Zimbabwe’s biggest national park as water holes have dried up, an international animal welfare group said Monday.
The International Fund for Animal Welfare said that an “extended dry season has reduced once abundant water holes to muddy puddles” in Hwange National Park.
“At least 100 elephants are already reported dead due to lack of water,” IFAW said in a statement.
Hwange covers more than 14,600 square kilometres and is home to about 45,000 elephants.
“Despite having 104 solar-powered boreholes, park authorities say it isn’t enough and no match for extreme temperatures drying up existing waterholes, forcing wildlife to walk long distances searching for food and water,” IFAW said.
In September, Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority reported “many animals” moving from the national park to neighbouring Botswana in search of water and food.
The “anticipated” animal deaths “must be seen as a symptom of deep-seated and complex challenges affecting the region’s natural resources conservation, aggravated by climate change,” IFAW expert Phillip Kuvawoga said.
In 2019, more than 200 elephants died in the southern African country, according to IFAW, who said the “phenomenon is recurring”.
Zimbabwe has around 100,000 elephants, the second largest population in the world and almost double the capacity of its parks, conservationists say.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has classified southern Africa as a region at risk, facing increased probability of extreme heat and reduced rainfall due to global warming.
Source: Africa News