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Wednesday, July 24, 2024

Dry spell claims 160 elephants

Dry spell claims 160 elephants

Story by John Nhandara

THE Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority (Zimparks) has attributed the death of 160 elephants at Hwange National Park to dehydration and starvation between August and December last year.

Zimparks spokesperson Tinashe Farawo says the onset of the rainfall season came as a relief as the dry spell witnessed late last year could have affected more elephants.

He said, “Last year due to drought and starvation between August and December we lost 160 elephants. Most of them were old, young and sick and they could not walk long distances in search of water so they succumbed. We now have relief after the onset of the rainy season temperatures were going as high as 45 degrees in Hwange which was unbearable for the animals there were other species affected such as buffaloes. We found most of them stuck in the mud.”

Meanwhile, preliminary investigations into the death of six elephants in the Gwayi- Shangani area, are pointing to poisoning.

“Last week in the area around Lupane, officers on patrol found 6 dead elephants. We took samples to ascertain the cause of the death. Preliminary indications are showing that they might have been poisoned but we are yet to confirm this through lab tests,” he added.

The country is estimated to have an elephant population of about 100 000 elephants against a carrying capacity of around 45 000, with Hwange National Park being home to half of the population.

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