Zimbabwe – The devastating impact of the ongoing severe drought in Zimbabwe has claimed the lives of at least 112 elephants in Hwange, Matabeleland North, Zimbabwe’s largest natural reserve, between September and November 2023.
Zimbabwe National Parks and Wildlife Authority (ZimParks) spokesperson, Tinashe Farawo, confirmed the alarming numbers, attributing them to hunger and thirst caused by the prevailing intense El-Nino induced drought.
Drought most brutal between September and November
Farawo explained that the challenging water supply situation, exacerbated by the drought, affected the Hwange game reserve, particularly from September to November 2023, when water sources were drying up due to the peak of the heatwave.
The reserve heavily relies on groundwater sourced from over 100 solar-powered boreholes, as the region, classified as Region 5, experiences little to no rainfall during the period.
The ongoing brutal drought in Zimbabwe has killed over 100 elephants
The ongoing brutal drought in Zimbabwe has killed over 100 elephants. Picture by Africa News
“With no natural rivers in Hwange, the reliance on boreholes becomes critical. We are also trying to go green,” Farawo said.
Zimbabwe’s large elephant population, the second largest in the world unmanageable during drought
Zimbabwe, boasting the second-largest elephant herd globally with over 84 000, faces the difficulty of sustainably managing only about 56 000 of them. The drought’s impact has been most severe on the vulnerable populations, including the old, young, and sick animals.