After a prolonged drought at least 200 elephants have starved to death in the tourist Hwange National Park, the largest in Zimbabwe and border with Botswana, official sources confirmed to EFE on Monday.
"We have lost enough elephants because of hunger, there is no food. We are desperately waiting for the rains to come," said Tinashe Farawo, spokesman for the National Parks and Wildlife Management Authority of Zimbabwe (Zimparks).
"Only in Hwange are we talking about 200 (dead elephants)"Farawo continued; updating a deadly figure that did not exceed 55 pachyderms last month.
More elephants have also died due to this drought in the Mana Pools National Park – in the north of the country and declared World Heritage by UNESCO – although Farawo could not confirm the total number, which in October already reached twenty, as reported to EFE conservation groups.
Wildlife lovers have been transporting thousands of bales of hay to Mana Pools to alleviate food shortages; which has also claimed the lives of zebras and buffalo.
Much of southern Africa is experiencing the worst drought of the past two decades, which in Zimbabwe has in turn ruined staple food crops such as corn, leaving at least seven million people – approximately half of the country's population – dependent on food aid.
These effects are increasingly palpable among the growing population of Hwange pachyderms, which this year increased from 23,000 copies to 43,000, according to the latest report by the independent conservation group Bhejane Trust, which preserves water pumps in some areas of the park.
According to Bhejane Trust, packs of "migrant elephants" they have sought refuge in the last year in Zimbabwe from neighboring Botswana; the country with the largest population of these animals in Africa.
In addition to this, the authorities confirm that at least 9,000 cattle have starved to death in the provinces of North and South Matabeleland, in western Zimbabwe.