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African environmental leaders spearhead discussions on protecting bio-diversity

Story by Theophilus Chuma

Environmental experts have raised alarm over the impact of climate change on wildlife after 160 elephants died at Hwange National Park last year.

Dried-up drinking panes characterise the aftermath of extreme temperatures triggered by the ever-changing climatic conditions.

The African Wildlife Foundation (AWF) says climate change is a crisis unfolding.

The AWF chief executive officer, Mr Kaddu Sebunya said, “Climate change is a real threat to the survival of wildlife and even now, we are witnessing a very huge threat both on the natural habitat and their livelihoods. Shortage of water is now the biggest challenge, and this spells a disaster for wildlife.

“When you look at the impact this has had on the elephant population across Africa you will see that this is a very serious issue where we need to direct attention. As more areas dry up, the water stress pushes various species to the brink, and many will not be able to contain such kind of pressure.”

54 directors from across the continent have converged for the Africa Protected Areas Directors (APAD) meeting in Victoria Falls, to formulate critical strategies for protecting wildlife.

Pivotal to these discussions is integrating wildlife conservation as a nature-based solution to tackling climate change.

“The anticipated deaths of elephants and other species, such as we are seeing in Zimbabwe right now, must be seen as a symptom of deep-seated and complex challenges affecting the region’s natural resources conservation, aggravated by climate change,” said International Fund for Animal Welfare director, Ms Alleta Nyahuye.

Government notes the need for a multi-sectoral approach to mitigate the effects of persistent dry weather and prolonged droughts that are posing a huge threat to wildlife.

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