‘Bacterial infections unlikely to affect elephants this year’

By ZBC Reporter

THE Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority (Zimparks) is confident the bacteria which killed 25 elephants last year at Hwange National Park will not recur due to adequate water and forage this year.

When the elephant deaths occurred last year, the task to ascertain the cause was left to local veterinary doctors from the Victoria Falls Wildlife Trust (VFWT).

Samples were also sent to some laboratories in the United Kingdom for further research.

Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority (Zimparks) Spokesperson Tinashe Farawo says feedback from the laboratories indicates that the bacterial infections resulted from the shortage of food during the dry season.

After the death of the elephants, we got worried as the same situation occurred in Botswana. The samples were taken to Victoria Falls which is one of the best labs in the region. There was suspicion that there was a bacterial infection. The same samples were taken to a lab in the UK and when the results came back they confirmed a bacteria infection mainly happening during the dry months of the year because there won’t be much food for the animals that end up eating anything which in some cases might be infected,explained Farawo.

The search for food and water has also been cited as a major cause for Human- Wildlife conflict which has become one of the biggest conservation challenges in Zimbabwe.

In neighbouring Botswana, at least 400 elephants died in the eastern Okavango, Seronga and Delta areas due to the bacterial infections.