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Wednesday, July 24, 2024

Fires ravage Hwange National Park

Story by Mhlomuli Ncube

FIRE outbreaks suspected to have been caused by lightning strikes have consumed large forests and grasslands at Hwange National Park.

The fires, which were recorded this Thursday at different locations within the national park, reduced grasslands and forests to ashes.

The Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority (Zimparks) confirmed the incidents, with lightning strikes being suspected to have caused the fires.

“I can confirm that we are investigating the cause of the fires which we suspect to have resulted from lightning,” said Zimparks Spokesperson, Mr Tinashe Farawo.

Last week in the Hwange National Park Main camp area, a hailstorm was experienced as rains swept across the country. Lightning occasionally damages infrastructure and causes loss of lives. For the undisturbed natural ecosystem in the jungle, when such incidents occur, concern is for the flora and fauna.

Meanwhile, the fire incidents come at a time of the season when there is also concern over depleting water and foliage.

“We tend to have serious water problems around this time of the year and worse when we have had poor rainfall. We have a challenge since most of our boreholes are solar powered,” said Zimparks Director General, Dr Fulton Mangwanya.

Hwange National Park houses the largest herd of elephants in the country, estimated at between 20 000 and 50 000, besides other animal species.

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