More than 200 elephants have died amid a severe drought and a mass relocation of animals is planned to ease congestion, Zimbabwe’s parks agency says.
Zimbabwe National Parks and Wildlife Management Authority spokesman Tinashe Farawo said at least 200 elephants have died in vast Hwange National Park alone since October and other parks are affected.
Animals including giraffe, buffalo and impala are also dying, he said, and the situation can improve only after rains return.
“Almost every animal is being affected,” he said. “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.”
Many animals are straying from Zimbabwe’s parks into nearby communities in search of food and water. The parks agency has said 33 people have died from conflict with animals this year alone.
The agency said it plans 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, Farawo said.